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1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?

I was filmmaker in residence at a major museum, I had poems published in pro markets, I started getting personal rejection notes much more often than form ones, I got a master's degree, I completed a novel, and I was the hand that sent closed captions out to people in Canada who watch wrestling re-broadcasts.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Mostly. The real exception is that I did not learn the dance from Bande á Part, so that's back on the list. (I lost track of time.) I also didn't write as much music as I intended to, although I did write some. This year, I'd like to shoot a feature, and I've resumed work on the Digby manuscript, even though it is slow going. (I love the idea of reading a book which is epic alternate history with intrigue and fantasy elements, but good god it takes forever to write. Any given paragraph takes an hour or more of research, and I'm sure people are still going to nitpick me about Americanisms in my alternate universe.)



3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No. Although I keep insisting that Val name her eventual child "Rocketship." (And why not "Romie," asks Ciro.)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not that I remember. I'm not close to that many people, and those I do spend time with are pretty risk averse; it's one of the things I look for in a friend.

5. What countries did you visit?

Once again, the US and the UK. I really mean to get to Canada. I really do. Maybe that's another resolution.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

Sound equipment and a video camera. A dress form would also be great, although I don't know where I'd put it.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

None, really. There were a lot of important moments, but I can't think of a significant date.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Oh, graduating probably.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I was backstabbed by a lot of people - something like two thirds of the people I trusted and depended on. This was concentrated into two incidents in two countries and I'm not sure what I could have done to prevent either, even though I saw that both were possibilities. It was disappointing. Now everyone's nice to me again, and I think I'm supposed to say "oh well, that kind of thing happens," but I have failed to do this, partly because I'm not sure whether forgiveness or continued mistrust is more potentially damaging to me. It's all murky.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

My own immune system tried to eat through my jaw and made a pretty good run of it, but then I had parts of my jaw replaced with ground up corpse bone, and that seems to have fixed things.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A basic light kit. It's small without really being easily portable, but it sure makes filming easier.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Rex finished the first draft of his ten-years-in-the-making novel, Stephanie moved to New York and was in a million plays, Scarlett got the hell out of Dallas, Mom directed a musical, and Pippen the cat decided after many years to stop attacking me, possibly because the joint pain isn't worth it in her old age. Ciro starred in a play, took a lot of good photos, and impressed a lot of art academics that aren't easily impressed.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

It's seemed for the last few months that almost everyone around me has been treating almost everyone else badly. It's been a hard year for people, obviously, but I think the real toll has been psychological.

Oh who am I kidding. Who I'm really mad at is gold speculators. They're creating a huge bubble in the commodities market, and patting themselves on the back about how gold has "true value." NO. You are in a bubble, guys. And in the meantime, they're hoarding an element which has useful functions that go way beyond being a coin. They are demonstrably making the world worse for everyone (and propping up various upsetting regimes).

I'm also mad at everyone in the Senate. Fuck you guys for all your earmarks on this healthcare bill, and fuck you for cocking up access to legal abortions. Fuck anybody who holds America hostage to their own ego.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent and food, but outside of that my big expenses were dental work and the film (which although cheap was still an expense). I also had to replace various bits of my car, which is old.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Still an Obama fan, despite the haters.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Accurate or not, it feels like Yael Naim and Regina Spektor were playing at my apartment at all times. And very few conversations were complete without a reference to "George Washington." None of these things were released in 2009. The best release in 2009 was "Glorious Dawn." However, I like to think "Glorious Dawn" transcends time and space.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Happier, although it was a close one.

ii. thinner or fatter?

Thinner by about two pants sizes.

iii. richer or poorer?

Pretty much the same. Lots of student and medical debt, no savings. I did just graduate, though, so it's not a terribly unusual situation. My money outlook is very good for this year, though.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Despite the fact that I spend a significant amount of time at art museums, I feel that I would like to have spent more time at art museums. I wish I'd done more comedy; I'm happier doing comedy than doing drama, and arguably am more talented at it.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

I realized that the vast majority of what is in The New York Times is an absolute waste of time, which is bad for me because I like to have a newspaper to read. But anyway, I've cut back on my newspaper reading.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We were up in Boston, as were REL and Scarlett. It was a white Christmas. I got a good hat, a good sweater, barracuda teeth, and various media. Most of my gifts to people were homemade and relatively well received. We've been playing a lot of Settlers of Catan with various expansions.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

No. But I stayed in love.

22. How many one night stands?

None.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Community. I thought it was going to be Glee, but it's pissing me off.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I mostly hate the same people, even though most of them did new hateful things. (I'm looking at you, Lieberman.) It's more that I love fewer people than that I hate more.

25. What was the best book you read?

I don't tend to remember what year I read things in. When I'm reading, it's like I'm in an alternate timeline. I can say that I read Watership Down, and that it was extremely good. (And I hadn't realized the same author wrote Traveller, a book I liked very much as a kid; it's the Civil War narrated by Robert E. Lee's favorite horse.) I also enjoyed Outliers; I'm a big Gladwell fan. The primacy effect is kicking in hard, though, since those are both books I read last month.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

It's been nice to be able to listen to the cleaned-up Beatles remasters; several songs that I never saw the point of are interesting now that I can distinguish the separate instrument and vocal lines.

27. What did you want and get?

A pretty ideal day job.

28. What did you want and not get?

My films weren't accepted to any festivals, partly because I couldn't afford to apply to many. Hopefully, that problem will be solved this year. I'm also still in the process of trying to find a literary agent; fiction is a hard sell right now.

29. What was your favorite film this year?

Fantastic Mr. Fox, although I also liked Moon, The Brothers Bloom, and District 9 quite a lot. I suspect I love Good Hair, although I haven't had a chance to see it yet.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 29. For my birthday, I mostly celebrated Val's birthday, because 30 is a bigger deal and because she was getting ready to move to New Mexico. We played a lot of charades (Jane Eyre style) and I wrote this song.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Although the odds are pretty firmly against it, it would be amazing if Zoetrope published my story they've been holding on to for six months. I'm pretty unknown compared to most of the writers they publish, but the story and the audience fit together in a thoroughly satisfying way.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

I had at least five. Right now, the best way to describe it is WWII French Resistance as interpreted by a film costumer from the 1970s.

33. What kept you sane?

A good notebook. I can't process things unless I can write them down, even if I never refer back to the piece of writing. Also helpful were James, Val, and various bean dishes.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Still crushing on Michelle Obama. Have renewed my crush on Carl Sagan, although he has been dead for more than a decade. Stephen Colbert wows me on a regular basis. I'm also generally loving lesbians in the media - the fourfecta of Rachel Maddow, Ellen De Generes, Portia de Rossi, and Jane Lynch. Represent, ladies.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Healthcare.

36. Who did you miss?

Kerry.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

I don't remember whether I met Stephanie this year or last year, but I think it was this year. Also Niloo.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

The big stuff breaks my heart a little right now. I will say that I successfully applied a lesson that I'm always telling people, which is to submit a ridiculous amount of stuff at any given time, and resubmit the second you get a rejection. At any given time, I probably have at least eight pending submissions - usually more like 15. I get two or three rejections a month. This means that any individual rejection doesn't bother me much. It's much harder to wait on one story or one poem.

I also think that you get better at things by doing them a lot, so I think writing a lot of stories is also a good idea. People tend to get annoyed with me for acting like it's easy to write a lot of stories, but it is. Write the ones you don't care about first; you can write those a lot faster than the ones you take seriously. And some of them may turn out to be good, and if they don't, it is good practice and not a waste of time.

Finally, it seems to me that a lot of people second guess themselves when something comes easily to them, and think they need to switch to doing it the hard way. The thing is, you really don't. Don't compare yourself to yourself; the stuff that's easy for you may be hard for someone else. You might find out you're not being lazy so much as playing to your strengths.

39. Quote a song that sums up your year:

"You're smart and you're alive and you can sleep and wake up
and don't choke on your food and don't fall in the shower.
You've survived one more year and we're terribly proud of you."
- me

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