What a difference a year makes.

2017 was a rough year for a lot of people. When I think of the Orange Shadow that fell across our neighbours to the south (and the rest of the world, to a certain degree), I know I don’t have as much to complain about as others. But then, life isn’t a competition; we don’t tally up the good and bad things on some sort of celestial score sheet (thank god). The things that happened to me last year may pale in significance to those that took place — and continue to unfold — in the world at large, but that made them no less difficult.

It was around this time one year ago that I found out I was being laid off from my job. The news hit me particularly hard since I’d had a full-time job since I graduated high school, and I’d never been fired or laid off before in my life. Since I had a few months’ notice, I had a chance to prepare — insomuch as someone can for such a thing — but it still knocked me for one helluva loop.

On top of that, I found our later in the year that NBC had ended up passing on the pilot script for the TV show based on my short story, “The House on Ashley Avenue.” This was upsetting if not surprising. I knew from the beginning that it was extremely unlikely that the project would actually go much farther beyond that step. To have “Ashley” go into development was a pretty big coup, and although it’s a shame the show didn’t end up happening, I know that I still got a helluva lot farther along in the process than most writers get.

Not too long afterΒ that, my literary agent and I parted ways. There’s no need to go into the particulars, except to say that he’s a fine agent, just not the right one for me. This happens all the time and I didn’t take it too much to heart. But… on top of the news about the job and the TV show, it was a lot to take. Not to mention the year was only about half over at this point. I was a little worried about what 2017 had in store for me next.

I’m glad to say that the Fates more or less left me alone for the rest of the year. I’ve spent the last six months licking my wounds and getting back into fighting shape (both mentally and physically). Instead of rushing right out and getting another soul-sucking office job, my wife Kathryn suggested I take some time for myself. We’re fortunate enough to be in a position to allow that for a time, and as Kathryn pointed out, I would never simply quit my job to write full time. That decision has been taken out of my hands, she reasoned, so I might as well give it a shot.

I received a very helpful and extremely much-needed boost in that direction in the form of a new literary agent. She picked me and dusted me off and helped me get back on my feet. My first novel,Β The Underwood, is currently out on submission with a number of publishers, and I’m looking forward to hearing back from them soon in 2018. No guarantees that it’ll sell anywhere, but then if you want guarantees or sure things, then the creative arts are not for you. I took more than a few hits this past year, and I didn’t stick with it because I thought I’d get rich. I did it because I love it. Because I can’t imagine doing anything else. That might make me a fool, but I’m a happy fool, and I’m happiest when I’m writing.

This was a hard review to write. I’d much rather tell you the story of Felix Renn and his nightmarish encounter with a town called Sycamore. That story is coming soon, I promise, but I had to write this one first. It was hard to write it, not because it means reliving those things that happened, but because I tend to be a private person, especially online, and the things that happened to me in 2017 were, for the most part, intensely private. But they had to be said. I try to keep full transparency in these year-end reviews, and I do believe there’s something therapeutic in talking about our thoughts and feelings. Don’t worry, though. I’ll be back to cat videos and dinner experiments in no time. Also, Felix is waiting for me. I’ve been promising him a novel for a long time now. That’s a promise I made to a lot of other people, too, and while 2017 knocked me down and kicked me a few times, I remain still a man who keeps his promises.

See you on the flip-flop.

2 Comments for The 2017 Year-End Review

  1. Sandra Richardson
    January 3, 2018 @ 9:33 pm
  2. Keep positive Ian!

  3. Dad
    January 3, 2018 @ 11:49 pm
  4. I understand, from the man himself, that Felix is a very big fan fan of “Styxx and Stone”, just putting it out there, so, you know, you’ll know that at least two of us have your back, you know!! πŸ˜„πŸ·πŸ·πŸ“‘πŸ“•πŸ“™πŸ“πŸ’» and, you have Kathryn…πŸ˜„β€οΈβ€οΈπŸˆπŸˆπŸ·πŸ·….
    …..be the ball!

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