You’ve been one hell of a year, you know that right? From start to finish you’ve brought on with full force an emotional roller coaster that hasn’t stopped. Am I saying that you were bad? That you somehow kicked my ass, spit on me, and threw me in the gutter to rot?
I went into you, 2011, not sure what to expect. You started off a bit unsure, placing me in a very short lived relationship with someone who basically used me as a Friday night date buddy and played me like a fiddle for everything my wallet had. But after a few shitty past relationships, I had learned my lesson and moved on. Enough said? You’re right.
I’m not here to bitch at you, 2011. Quite the opposite. I’m here to thank you. For everything–and I mean everything.
I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am, buddy, that you’ve finally decided to bless me with the best year of my life. You must understand, the last few years I’ve been doubting myself, wondering who I am, who I’m meant to be with, just what the ever-loving fuck am I supposed to be? Don’t get me wrong, your older brother 2010 wasn’t a bad guy to be buds with, but it was you, 2011, who helped bring me out of my funk and showed me that there are better things out there to strive for.
First off, after 4 years of writing I can finally say with a proud smile that I am a published writer. It’s the best feeling in the world to finally say that. I’ve spent most of my life being a musician, but my achievements as a writer have far exceeded that. My shelf (in the picture above) shows the anthologies that my stories are placed in. Yes, I know, there should be two more anthos sitting up there, but we all know why they aren’t there. I’ve moved past that, and trust me I’m better off because of it. I also found myself as a guest author at this year’s Horrorfind Weekend in Gettysburg, PA, where I got to read one of my favorite stories “By The Throat” to a small crowd who really seemed to enjoy it. It’s rush to read to people, to get their reaction to your words, especially if you’re reading with specific voices, getting louder or softer, yelling and moving around if need be. It’s something I’ve come to really enjoy and hopefully will be able to do more of.
Second, I have the best friends a guy could ever ask for. They took in an outsider and made me feel like one of the group–an equal (even though my PA friends constantly give me shit for being a Midwesterner). And I’m extremely proud of each one 0f their own personal achievements. My “PIC” Brent Abell went on to sell numerous stories this years. My very good friends Michele Mixell and Nikki Graybeal sold their first couple of stories. Matt Blazi and Dave Thomas wrote screenplays this year, as well, and Susan Scofield had several sucessful art showings. Ron Dickie and Mandy DeGeit drank a lot, so that accounts for something right? My big bro Bob Ford finally had his wonderful novella “Samson and Denial” published, and big sis Kelli Owen took Thunderstorm Books by, well, storm with her stellar debut novel “Six Days” as well as the following two novellas “Waiting Out Winter” and “The Neighborhood,” and as I’ve been told many more to come from both. Every one of these people have impacted my life in some way, whether it was just a phone call, a laugh, a point in the right direction, an unwanted picture of a naked ass on my camera when I wasn’t looking, or a shoulder to cry on when things went momentarily sour. I’m so gratefull to have each one of these people in my life. They’ve helped change me into a better, happier person, and I hope they know that I would do anything for them, no matter what.
Which brings me to Katie. For the last four months I’ve been in the best relationship I’ve ever had, with the best girl I’ve ever met. For the longest time, I really didn’t think I’d ever find someone, but my weekend at Horrorfind proved me wrong. I never thought I’d ever be in a long distance relationship–God know’s there have been enough stupid movies made on the subject, most completely over-the-top and unbelieveable–but this…this works. And in a few short months we won’t have to spend hours on end talking on the phone or Skyping. She’s taking the plunge and moving out here to start her new life with me, which makes me even happier than I could have ever imagined. She’s truly one of a kind. She makes me constantly laugh, smile, knows just the right things to pull me out of a bad mood. Occationally, I’ll read to her selections from Jeff Strand’s story collection “Gleefully Macabre Tales”, or a poem or two for a good laugh. She knows how to pull me out of my comfort zone and gets me to just let go… And believe it or not, we share the same birthday!
Back in November, we went on a trip out to Philadelphia. I never got around to putting the photos on Facebook, 2011, but I’ll put them here for your enjoyment.
The Philly Zoo
Yes, this monkey has some huge boobs!
I even got a great looking author’s photo out of the trip:
Unfortunately I forgot to charge my camera, so it died not long after this was taken.
Thank you, 2011, for being the best year ever. I know you’ve been hard on people, some of them being very close friends of mine, but I truely believe that your brother 2012 will be another great year, and will be bring the happiness to those who need it, as you did for me.
If not, tell him I know where he sleeps. ;)
Rest in peace, 2011. Rest in peace…
Your bud, Wes.