A Christmas Letter
Holiday greetings from the Deep South. This year, I’m not sending any cards. My declining vision is such that hand-writing notes and addressing envelopes is too difficult. Yeah, I could print labels and mail form letters, but that’s about as personal as those stupid holiday email messages with dancing elves or some such. May as well write a holiday blog post.
Regarding my vision (since I brought it up), I’m legally blind in one eye with 20/60 to 20/80 vision in the other. The retina specialist has given up on my bad (right) eye, but I get injections in the other one every four weeks to keep it from getting any worse. I see well enough to do most of what I need to do, but minimize how much I drive. There are worse things. My health, otherwise, is excellent.
My sweet little chihuahua, Toodles, was diagnosed with diabetes in the spring and needs insulin injections every twelve hours. Adapting has been a challenge for both of us. She hasn’t gone Kujo on me for months, but I still breathe a huge sigh of relief after every injection. Other than drinking a lot of water, she’s the same as she’s ever been.
I’ve spent much of the past year helping a friend through hard times. The road back has been longer and more difficult than anyone expected, but he’s hanging in there. I believe in him, remain optimistic about his future, and will be there for him, come hail, fire, or high water.
As to work, I’m counting the months to retirement. Mentors told me thirty years ago I’d need a Ph.D. to work at a major university. They weren’t wrong. I got lucky. The road I took no longer exists. I wouldn’t even be interviewed for the job now. I’m the last faculty member in my department with a masters degree. My replacement–if I’m replaced–will have a doctorate and a dramatically different job description.
I’ve changed my mind about moving back to Lexington to live out my days. Yes, I have lots of friends and family there, but I hate cold weather and have been away so long I get lost because everything has changed so much. I know my way around Athens (well enough), love what we call winters here, and couldn’t live without camellias, tea olives, and wisteria blossoms. I have friends here too–along with a host of doctors I’d hate to have to replace.
God, I’m old.
Writing novels is still a side gig. Despite a new release in January and the release of second editions in April and July, it’s been a disappointing year. Reviewers, for the most part, love me, but my books don’t appeal to the romance audience my publisher markets to. Readers who’d enjoy my stories don’t know I exist.
Writing, for me, has never been about the money. I write because I must, and nothing is more satisfying than writing a novel. New projects get my juices flowing. Getting to the end is a huge, exhausting, and sometimes brain-numbing challenge that I simply can’t give up. I’ve stopped blogging and barely write in my journal anymore to focus all my writing time on novels. I’m making good progress on novel #5: Cold Revenge, the fourth Philip Potter Story.
All in all, I’ve seen better years. I’ve also seen worse–a lot worse. Into every life a little rain must full. The bad times help you appreciate the good. With any luck the good years outnumber the bad when all is said and done.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…
The Crotchety Old Man (aka Michael Rupured)