A roller coaster year that was 2011

Roller CoasterHere we are sitting on the cusp of a new year,  by the time this  blog posts it will be about twelve hours before we hit 2012 and I thought this would be a good time to look back at what has been a roller coaster year for me and my family. If you are interested in reading more I will see you after the jump.

It is hard to define this year for me, was it disaster or was it a good year? Certainly it is ending badly and is setting up the new year as a struggle to remain in our home, to keep my family off the streets and to provide for them. But it didn’t start this way. For the first time in eleven years everything was falling together, my job was steady, paid well and allowed me to provide for my family, while pulling us slowly ahead of our bills.

Then complications, my wife suffered a catastrophic side-effect of her cervical cancer surgery with extreme lymphademia causing massive swelling of her legs. Despite of everything we did, from spending all our savings on treatments nothing could be done and now she lives with a bad disability they infringes on every aspect of her life. This turned out to be huge part of our year finding ways to cope with this, but thankfully I had a good job, with great benefits that allowed me to help.

We had some good times and bad times this year, exploding pools, put a few more dents into the Jeep, a locked knee on my part and a horse that wanted to always ride me into a tree. We had a half painted kitchen and the clearing out and moving of the boys bedroom from the top of the house to the bottom. Got a dog, almost lost a cat, and now have a new hobby of chasing our Marley dog through the Neighborhood every other day.

I came to terms with my faith and a realization that life is beautiful, and God made it so we get out of life what we bring to it. One day I will talk deeper about this, my feelings on the nature of miracles and that prayers are answered more than you think, but not in the way you expect.

I’ve witnessed an awakening in politics in the USA, people finally seeing that the government is not for the people, but for themselves and special interests. Of course its always been there, but never as blatant as it has been now. I don’t know were this is going to lead too, but it heartening to see the people call there politicians out of there BS, almost feels like an active democracy again 😛

I’ve had some success with my stories this year, The Wonder Tales my all ages fantasy adventures have surprised me with their popularity. I worked on Fabula Zero Exposition, a unique graphic novel of comic and narrative writing, while not being that successful it is a book I’ve always wanted to do and I’m proud of it. Then I wrote A Teddy Bear Tale, the story of Tristan the Teddy Bear defending his child against the Monsters under the Bed. A book that feels very special and    I hope something I can tap into to bring more tales of whimsy. As my wife said to me, who’d a thought a big 220 pound guy like you would have such a feeling for a child’s tale. I still say A Teddy Bear Tale is more than a children’s book, its a story about something we all leave behind in our childhood an age of innocence. While watching a character come to life with the confines of quick sketching.

We rode horses, watched Indy cars watch through the streets of Baltimore, sang along to the Robotech theme, I’ve signed books, experienced an Earthquake, drove through floods, rode out an Hurricane and dug us out of the Marathon snow of 2011. I’ve raced down 13 floors of the Baltimore WTC, talked someone down from a heart attack, gave money to strangers, and learned the power that words can have on the soul.

I’ve watched my children grow, watched them race go carts, wondered if my daughter will be the next Danica Patrick, saw glimpses of the man my son my become and swelled with pride. And felt the responsibility of what it really it to be a parent and a father to more than just my children, but to my step son too.

I discovered friends in odd places, noticed things I never saw before, had a total Top Gear moment on Rt20 in PA driving an early 2000 Camaro around one of the greatest twisty roads I’ve ever. I’ve boosted the photo portfolio of a friend, ran into locations straight from my Tether Novels, started the third book and worry still if I can give the ending the justice it deserves. Took 80+ pictures of a lot of people in cosplay holding one of my books at Baltimore Comic Con. Gained a third cat, managed to sleep past 8am just once, by waking at 8.02am on a weekend. Built Lego kits, found a couple of really good indie comic books.

Most of all this has been a year of discovery for me, more than any other and learning the value of the smallest things in life, that do make it beautiful. I am sure I’ve not added everything I’ve done this year, it had been pretty full and been quite a journey. But with every journey there are endings and I fear for mine.

The year ended with a huge crash that saw me lose my job, the one that provided everything this year. Not through performance, not through cut backs, but through a bureaucratic screw up. One that may see me, see my family out on the street and homeless by the end of the first month in the new year. I see uncertainty, I see a little fear and a lot of worry with no idea if this time I can do anything to fix it. I’ve never entered a year with so much unknown in it, 2012 has been promised as a year of many changes, I hope for the positive.

What ever happens I hope you all stay with me, I will keep writing, I will keep striving and know even at the darkest hour, life is beautiful… Never forget that… Thank you to my friends and family that have helped me in this year, we can only go  onwards into new adventures.

Be gentle to the Earth in this new year my friends.

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About Nick

Just an Englishman lost in the USA who happens to write now and again... Anyone got a cup of tea?

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