This year has felt like paddling upstream. That sense of struggling against a current that is so intense that you can’t see the progress being made until you find a safe beach to pull off on. So here I am, finally beached after 365 days that felt like one continual mid-river flailfest. Happy to see that I have gained some headway.
2014 and 15 saw me falling in with some pretty amazing writer types and continuing to hang out with the splendid folks who have been encouraging me all along. People who feed my ambition and see more in me than I particularly see in myself. With their enthusiasm and direction 2015 had me writing up a storm and sending that storm into the broader publishing world. Without a specific plan I tried everything this year. Writing about adaptive diving, trying out a few personal essays, book reviews, and one deeply specific listicle.
For your reading pleasure, here are links to my year in writing:
These are the two personal essays that I am the most proud of having published. Both examine growing up with a disability. The first, Field Trip involves a pack of wolves. The second, Creation Myth features deeply incompetent angels.
This is a review I wrote of Tess Sharpe’s first YA novel Far From You for the folks at Disability in KidLit. I am excited to have the opportunity to continue working with them as they grow their catalog of book reviews that focus on how realistically writers are portraying characters with disabilities. Sites like this are why I love the internet.
Though the writing is more dry than the rest of my work, I have had a blast in my role as guest author for diving with disabilities at About.com. Here I have been able to help organize all of the scattered information that I was looking for when I first decided that taking up scuba seemed like a great idea for a disabled person. I started with the basics of what adaptive diving is and who it’s for then moved on to how adaptive dive instructors are trained and what kind of specialized equipment might be used to help facilitate successful diving. I then got to look at the differences between certification organizations with the hope that would be divers could use these articles to make informed decisions about what will best meet their individual needs. There is The International Association for Handicapped Divers, The Handicapped Scuba Association (who I certified with) Scuba Schools International Classified Divers, and Dive Pirates a worldwide network of dive professionals helping to facilitate dive opportunities for folks with a variety of disabilities through active fundraising and a model focused on community building. This work has allowed me to continue to engage with the scuba world and meet other adaptive divers who share my very serious loves of water, introducing newcomers to the sport, and goofing off.
The last few months of 2015 were almost entirely consumed with the horrific banalities of healthcare. A twenty three year old hip replacement finally gave out sometime in the middle of a summer solstice dance party atop a French Alp. This was a failure I knew to expect that took place in a rather fantastic manor. The inevitability of the repair surgery, the rather stylish setting that the prosthetic chose to fail in, and the army of encouraging friends both old and new, helped me get through the frightening reality of planning for a major surgery with an uncertain outcome. During a particularly bleak and snarky moment of planning my ridiculously wonderful friend Kristen Hanley Cardozo sat with me to write this elaborate list of nonesense activities for convalescing. The Toast agreed to publish it almost immediately. A fact that, no matter how far my writing career takes me, I’m certain will always be one of my favorite career stories.
The surgery went better than any other I’ve ever experienced and I’m back to better than I was before any French dance parties occurred. Looking ahead I plan to fill 2016 with as much friendship, writing, and travel as any dirtbag fun hog could hope for. More than that, I plan to be more organized in my approach to writing and life so that in time I can begin passing some of the good fortune and knowledge I’ve gained along to those I meet on my way just as my mentors and friends have done for me. For now, onward! To wherever the hell it is that 2016 will take us!