Ten Things That Made My 2022

Let me be real: 2022 was another tough year in a variety of ways that I won't get into. Lately, I've been trying to focus on the things I'm grateful for, rather than dwelling on the negatives. So, please allow me to highlight some of the fantastic, wonderful, and exciting things that I experienced or discovered over this last year.  

  1. I completed two tiny video games — What Lies Underneath and Bluebeard: An Interactive Tale. Each I constructed with different game making tools, representing different kinds of gameplay and storytelling, and I am proud of the work I did on each of them. 

  2. . . . and all of that hard work paid off, since the games I made earlier in the year helped me snag my first freelance work in the games industry. I am currently working a contract writer for Lost Lake Games on a project I can tell you nothing about.

    And I am also working with Patrick Knisely, a solo dev in charge of One Frog Games. Together, we are working on building the story, world, and scenes, which will be incorporated into the gameplay for a platforming game tentatively titled Monochrome Heights (play the demo). 

  3. I sold my fourth poetry chapbook, titled Necessary Poisons, which will be published by Interstellar Flight Press later this year. I've been working on this collection of strange little poems since 2016, and I'm so grateful and delighted that it has finally found a home. (A cover reveal and release date will be be coming soon.)

  4. I returned to international travel this year, visiting Venice, Italy (for fun (my friend and I celebrated Carnivale) and Düsseldorf, Germany (for work along with fun). I also zipped off to Idaho to visit my niece and nephew a few times and went on several camping trips. It felt good to travel again, to stretch my legs out into the world.

    Venice, Italy

    Düsseldorf, Germany

  5. During the so-called "dead week" at the end of the year, I gifted myself a solo writing retreat. I rented a cottage on a private property surrounded by ancient oak trees and while it stormed outside, I disconnected from social media and other distractions and spent my days taking walks, meditating, reading, and writing poetry. It was several days of calm and connection with myself — and it was absolutely lovely.

    A misty view outside my cabin writing retreat.

  6. Media Consumption: It's been a great year in books, movies and television, and games for me. Links point to my favorites for the year, but if I had to limit it to one of each, it would be:

    Book: Siren Queen by Nghi

    Movie: Everything Everywhere All at Once

    TV: The Sandman

    Game: Hades

  7. Listening: My sister set me up with Spotlify as part of their family plan, which has made it easy to turn on background music while I worked on editing or writing, particularly chillhop, video game soundtracks, and mellow electronica. In particular, I listened to the Journey soundtrack over and over again, as well as music by Lorn, Forrest Swords, and Anvil. 

    While doing activities that required less wordy focus, walking, cleaning, or driving, I switched over to podcasts. My favorites and the ones I stuck to the most consistently were What's Good Games (for games industry news and reviews), Writing Excuses (for writing craft knowledge), Scriptnotes (for screenwriting craft and industry advice), She Plays Games (for interviews with marginalized genders working in games), and PseudoPod (for horror short stories). 

  8. Therapy and journalling were both useful and essential ways in which I worked through the more challenging times of the year. Both helped me process my feelings and address moments of anxiety and frustration — and both I will be continuing into the new year. 

  9. Inspired by my sister and brothers, I started going to the local rock climbing gym. We mostly do bouldering (since I'm not belay certified yet), and we have had a great time climbing the walls together (each at our own levels). I love the way I have to think through each attempt, figuring out the best way to position myself and then persist through the holds. Honestly, I've wanted to do rock climbing since I got a tiny taste of it in high school, and I'm loving it. 

  10. My mom got kittens — and now every time I go to hang out with her, I get to play and cuddle with them. I am delighted by this. I mean, just look at my face: 

These are just a few of the good things that happened, and I'm so grateful for each one. What are some of the things that helped make your 2022? 

Book of the Month

Brom’s Slewfoot is from the start just a pretty book to look at — the cover and illustrations within (done by author) present gorgeous images of the fantastical. The story itself is also richly told. Abitha is a spirited young Englishwoman balking against the constraints of the Puritan society, where she is expected to be a demure wife and do as she is told. When her husband suddenly dies under uncanny circumstances, she is left alone and without his protection. However, something else lurks in the woods, something dangerous and unsettling and beautiful — and it may be the key to either her freedom or her damnation.

Slewfoot explores the constraints and hard-fought freedoms of a woman living in Puritanical America. Abitha fights hard for what is rightly hers as she navigates the rocky waters of her reality. I love her as a characters — and I equally love the strange creatures that lurk in her woods.

More on the books, shows, and games I loved in December 2022 can be found in my monthly Culture Consumption

Good Reads

Maria Popova discusses the writings of Oliver Burkeman and explores the trap of efficiency and how to escape it

Productivity is a trap. Becoming more efficient just makes you more rushed, and trying to clear the decks simply makes them fill up again faster. Nobody in the history of humanity has ever achieved “work-life balance,” whatever that might be, and you certainly won’t get there by copying the “six things successful people do before 7:00 a.m.” The day will never arrive when you finally have everything under control — when the flood of emails has been contained; when your to-do lists have stopped getting longer; when you’re meeting all your obligations at work and in your home life; when nobody’s angry with you for missing a deadline or dropping the ball; and when the fully optimized person you’ve become can turn, at long last, to the things life is really supposed to be about.

Meg Ellison presents a beautiful discussion of the way fiction and non-fiction explore the body

The body is not the problem, and it is not the obstacle to art. It is where all art, good and bad, begins. Honor your meat. Write it with your hands of meat and let your meat heart sing it out, as brave as that braying traitor can be. Let our eyes and ears of meat read it in our faltering, decaying glory, let our meat brains misunderstand and connect and forget for a moment that the lifespan of meat is the wet blink of an expiring eye. Do not forget for a second that this is what we all are."

As a fan of the strange worlds presented by fairy tales and folk lore, I'm drawn to this list of 11 Lesser-Known Fairy Tales, presented by Tasia Bass. 


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