Thursday, December 12, 2019

taking stock of the 2010's

Around ten years ago, according to this very blog, I was marveling what a decade can do. How much happens in the span of ten years--mostly good things, but also some sad things.   As 2010 began, I was 35. I close this decade solidly in my mid-40's.  Since it my head, I am perpetually around 26, this fact always takes me aback.  Once in a while I will tell a story and say "A couple years ago" and realize it was in fact, more like seven.   Sometime in my mid-twenties, I blinked and 20 years passed.  But they were a good and prosperous two decades, the last of which was less about way finding and more about developing and flourishing.  So much has changed and yet so much has really not changed at all in the intervening decade.

In terms of library work, I am still in the same job, but also not in the same job at all--some duties having remained, but many added and developed.  I was still in the years of " keep quiet and collect the paycheck" but the last decade, particularly the latter half, have boasted many promising and fun developments with our AofR programming, and exciting new job title and raise coming around the corner, new things with chairing the Programming, Events & Promotion committee, a large amount of library related writing projects, conference participation, and such. All of which make my time there more engaging and interesting than it was a decade ago.

In terms of creative work, I feel like I am much better at writing more regularly.  I was still in a dry period as we came into the decade, and it wasn't until about a year later that I was able to break the ice on new work. I also settled into working equally in text & image--with a larger number of projects incorporating both. The decade has bought over 25 artist books & zine projects (more if you count little randoms I make for zine nights and Crypto Society that aren't available online and only through the zine exchange in small numbers.)

When it comes to writing, I've published 4 full-length (the shared properties of water and stars, girl show, major characters in minor films, and salvage), 3 of which were written in this time frame, with another two due out in the coming year (little apocalypse and sex & violence). Another 3 new longer collections compiled and in various stages of finalization (feed, dark country, and animal, vegetable. monster). Another about half done (automagic). Around 60 journal publications and a handful of anthologies. And so much great attention to my work in terms of reviews and interviews, so many reading invitations to series and events.  Including the Field Museum, which was the absolute end-cap to an excellent decade. I feel much happier in my writing skin nowadays and more focused in my work and what it's actually trying to do as whole.

As an artist, I picked up a hell of a lot more skills and techniques, many developed through actually having to teach them in the library--printmaking, ink painting, bookwrecking.  I love monotypes and hope to do another round of them over the break. I also have so much planned  I've barely scratched the surface on (including my virgin Cri-cut machine that is now securely back in my possession.)    I want to do more with the tactile pleasure of books, more box projects & such.

In terms of the press, we've grown so much in the decade, from just a handful of releases per year, to over 50 on the schedule (and sometimes even more.) Along the way, I have gotten to work with so many amazing authors and artists and get to know so many of our readers.  The publishing arm was smaller and the art/craft larger, but we've done a complete reversal, though I still like to make things on occasion for the shop (look for more as I settle into my home studio after the new year and get the dgp orders under control.) More prints, more paper goods, new flasks, totebags, tattoos, etc.  I am working through the submissions and acceptances for next year and they are the usual delight, so keep an eye out for those.

Personally, the losses outnumber the gains.  My mother.  My aunt. Three older cats (though they have been replaced by six (!) new ones somehow) Probably around four relationships (at least two that needed desperately to be done)  The studio space I really should have moved out of  much earlier. At least 3 phones, a few laptops/tablets, a half dozen printers,  A 20+ year old apartment key that snapped off in my hand a couple weeks back. Around 70 lbs. A couple umbrellas.  At least one really toxic "friend".  The gains however, are pretty great--the first healthy relationship in a longtime.  A renewed sense of what is really important and more importantly, what is not.  A better relationship with eating and my body.  Better ability to shop and find what I like in terms of clothes and just about everything.  An appreciation of Taylor Swift (begrudging), Lana del Rey (less begruding), and Marin Morris (not at all begrudging). An ongoing appreciation for guacamole (see that earlier link above) and a newer love of tequila  (and other soon-to-be-not-so- illicit substances I didn't really try til the past 5 years.) Overall, all good additions.

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