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31 December, 2008

2008 Retrospective

Some year, huh?

From the Obama election win to the all-but-collapse of the world economy (see 2009 for the grand finale) there have been some major world events none of us will forget in a hurry.

On a personal level, this has been an amzing year too. I finally ran down my consultancy business and retired - just in time for my savings to be halved by the America-led economic collapse. (Thanks, guys.) In return, however, I got a full year of living on this mountain, surrounded by beautiful forest and wildlife, with nothing but peace, sunshine, and my wonderful wife to keep me company. I measure my personal wealth in terms of how much leisure I have to pursue the things I enjoy, so 2008 has been a year of immense riches.

I also got a dog. Bertie - or Gobby, as I mostly call him - is a purebred mixed blessing. Handsome, fit and happy, great fun, clownish and playful, he's also a right royal pain in the arse. Mostly, now, he can control his bladder. Mostly, he doesn't steal and eat everything in his reach. But he still likes to jump on guests and chew their faces, and he has picked up new tricks, like jumping in the dam and then drying himself on the carpet, and chasing after cars like a bat out of Hell. Has he improved my life or not? The jury is still out, but 2008 is the year I'll remember as the one in which Bertie was a wild and crazy puppy.

And then there was the writing. If you only know me from this blog and not the other one, you might not even be aware that my new career as a writer of fiction has finally begun to take off. In May I won a place on a 'manuscript development retreat' after submitting my unpublished novel Time and Tyde in a national competition. It didn't lead to publication or anything but it gave me such a huge boost in understanding of the whole writing and publishing business that, in the seven months since then, I have had four short stories accepted for publication (only one is out so far), I was short-listed in one short-story competition, and was the winner in another. I have also written and polished a whole new novel (called TimeSplash!) which I am now looking for an agent to represent. This may not seem like much, but it represents a major breakthrough for me. In the whole of my life until May 2008, I had published only one short story, and had never won a writing competition. If I can keep up the momentum, 2008 will be the year I remember as the turning point in my writing career.

And there were lots of other things too - Wifie built her first website, Daughter passed her driving test, the Large Hadron Collider came online and went off-line again, I finally got a phone line installed (at enormous expense), I got in touch with all my long-lost neices and nephews in the UK, and so on, and so on.

All in all, quite a year.

I hope your 2008 was a full and rewarding one and that 2009 will be even better for everyone (prolonged global recession notwithstanding).

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