Burning newspaper
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Bye 2020. Won’t miss you.

How can a year seem simultaneously interminably long and way too fast? Exhausting and yet also somewhat restorative?

There has just been so much, both personally and worldwide. Sometimes it seemed like a single week lasted two months, and sometimes it seemed like I didn’t have enough time at all.

It was my first full year without my mom. This somewhat led to the discovery that I can track my general state of mind by tracking how much I have been reading – the months that I went over-budget buying books were those I closely associated with her. May: My birthday/Mother’s Day, so close together that they were usually celebrated together. The same with November: Mom’s birthday/Thanksgiving. And December, with the Christmas holidays, which were always a cause for her to go overboard with both decorations and gift giving, usually in the face of my generally constant state of humbug-ism.

Some days it still feels like something essential is missing. Some days I still end up in tears. I have learned that grief is not something that you do and get finished with and move on, but something that comes and goes but is never really absent. But the memories that come to mind now are the good ones, the ones that make me smile.

The elections of course were exhausting (and ongoing) but . . . also a cause to hope. I never thought I would see my state go blue in my lifetime, but it has happened. Granted, all of that support is from metro areas, and I am surrounded by Trumpists everywhere I look where I live, but it still has given me some cause to hope, even as the refusal of Georgia to accept Medicaid expansion funds has caused my ACA based insurance premium to rise to nearly what I was paying for individual insurance before the ACA – and a lack of options in the county my partner lives in has left them virtually uninsured, with the only option available being a company that has no doctors accepting their policies within that county.

It’s time for single-payer coverage. At least I know with a democratic president (even if he is not the one I would have chosen) there is a chance that might happen. Especially if the senate races here give us a democratic majority in the senate.

At least I know that I won’t have to endure a president who constantly dog-whistles to white supremacists or a vice-president who thinks that I, as a bisexual person, have no right to exist.

So, I’m entering 2021 with a slightly more hopeful feeling than I have had for the last four years, though I know that the sentiments that allowed for the election of a president like that are in no way gone and are, in fact, rampant here. I love the South, despite the problems, despite the bigotry and prejudice that colors everything. I believe we can be better. I believe that we can embrace progress while also appreciating our heritage. But I do not think that appreciating one’s heritage should be done blindly, without accepting or acknowledging the bad parts as well as the good. For too long we’ve done that here — refusing to acknowledge the bad in our past, in our ancestry, that colors our present.

Georgia turned blue, and in that there is hope that people can change. A cautious hope, maybe, but hope nonetheless.

That said, as little as I like resolutions, I do have one very specific, if multi-faceted goal: To do the things I want to do, and stop wasting time on things that aren’t that important to me. Specific to this website, I want to:

  • Read More – That books help my mental health has been apparent this year and, yes, I already read more than the average mouse, but not that much more.
  • Write More. Maybe finish one of those half-done novels I have hanging around.
  • Keep up with my blog and, eventually, reboot my Patreon. I’m going to focus the blog very heavily onto book reviews, one a week, and perhaps one of the Patreon perks I give will be access to an extra review each month, maybe even Patron-chosen once I have enough patrons to do that, as well as access to my fiction and first drafts. It’ll take me some time to generate enough content that I feel like it’s worth rebooting, so that won’t be an immediate goal, but one to work towards. I also want to continue to promote diverse books as a part of this goal.

The first book review of the year should come sometime this week, an ARC I received from NetGalley of Thor: Daughter of Asgard by Genevieve McCluer. It’s a lesbian urban-fantasy romance, and I just started reading. It’s due to be published on January 12. The synopsis looks interesting, but this will be the first book I’ve ever read from this author or imprint, so I don’t quite know what to expect.