It’s finally official–Twenty Ten is dead. It was a year of finality, some happy, some sad.
It was the year that Thanksgiving was marred by an insane neighbor attempting to fight me for dragging (imaginary) furniture across the floor.
It was the year my wife and I left that tiny Brooklyn apartment that we had settled into, three, four years ago when we first arrived in the Big, Bad City. I will miss that apartment. I will.
It was the year we moved into a much larger apartment for less money across the street from a cemetery.
Most importantly and tragically, though, Twenty Ten was the year my wife became ill, for ten of the twelve months (as she is still sick). The year doctors shrugged and wished us well. The year hospitals sent insane bills for small conveniences. The year I watch a woman fight for her sanity and sanctity of well-being in the face of the entire medical community and those around her giving-up on (or failing) her. (As a side note, the end of the year yielded no change, as she remains undiagnosed.)
The year I was finally contacted (after two years of relentless hounding) by Alex Steele, the Dean of Faculty at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop, and asked to join their ranks as a fiction professor. The year I taught New York City students how to write fiction and called upon my friends and peers and former mentors for advice.
The year some of my best short fiction found homes in magazines, like Sou’wester, without having to exploit a relationship to make publishing easier. No grandfathering. Doing the work. Fighting through the slush pile.
The year that my wife and I began work on our Southern Gothic supernatural Young Adult series and the year that our vigilant agent, Douglas Stewart, sold it to the amazing indie folks at Sourcebooks Teen Fire.
The year that I made friends with the Middle Eastern corner store owner named Jihad and with the intense Asian lady who delivers my dry cleaning, but always tells me how funny I am.
The year my cats started to lose weight.
The year I watched friendships fracture and people disappear, especially during the heart of my wife’s medical fight.
But then the year my parents and sister emerged as damn near Homer-ian heroes, researching, educating, assisting, and navigating the dark waters by my side.
The year new friends joined the fight. The year I found friendship in unlikely places, from unlikely people.
The year peers became confidants and confidants became family.
And, finally, the year I lost my St. Francis de Sales necklace during the move from my first NYC apartment (the one with the psycho neighbor) to the new apartment across from the cemetery.
Now, today, it’s Twenty Eleven.
I have a two book deal.
I have heroes for parents.
I have the greatest wife and am geared up to finish this medical fight.
I have the greatest friends.
And just today I found my St. Francis de Sales necklace–the patron saint of confessors, journalists, writers, and educators. Twenty Eleven has been born.