Let me explain 2016….
No, there is too much.
Let me sum up…
You know, I don’t even know how to do that. Not even a Princess Bride reference can make that shitstorm any better.
It feels at the end of 2016 that everybody is sitting on some sort of enormous spinning wheel waiting for it slow down so we all know which direction we’re going to go next. Everybody’s stupid dizzy. Somebody started throwing up hot bile all over the place, and it got in everybody’s hair and under our nails, and now everybody’s dropping vom-bombs, and we’re slipping and sliding in it, and it just won’t stop.
So thanks 2016. Even though you’re just a drop of time sandwiched between two arbitrary points, you properly sucked and no amount of showering is going to wash the memory of you away. 2017 won’t be any better of course, because none of the events in motion really care that we’ve changed a number. Buckle up. It’s going to be fugly.
Of course in our own lives we all had a different 2016. Mine was sort of okay, and sort of a mess – plenty of muddling along, but I struggled to find purchase on the things that make me happiest. It was a drifty sort of year of nothing much, which left me vulnerable to the big shifts and swings in the world. In terms of the things this website is usually about though, 2016 looked like this.
I didn’t finish a single piece of new fiction in 2016. I started several, burned a few to the ground, left a few hanging. Something’s been knocked out of alignment with my writing processes in the last couple of years. At the same time 2016 delivered the best year of sales I’ve had in a decade. Two and a half thousand copies of my novels sold internationally, and The Flesh Market has jumped from my least widely read book to become my bestselling one. Thanks to everybody who picked this year to give something of mine a try. If I’ve provided some of you with even a brief respite from the shitstorms all about then I’m very happy indeed.
I ran 482 miles this year, which took me about 87 hours. A couple of injuries seriously disrupted my flow through the year, but there was much that made me happy. My highlights would be completing The Mighty Deerstalker, and failing to complete The Wall (because it was a noble failure, and I still went further than I’ve ever gone before). These were my only two formal races of the year, and I had a brilliant time doing both.
I didn’t blog much this year, a mark of how much I’ve been swallowed up by other stuff. For the record, these were my most read blogs of the year. Every one of them is about running, which is telling in itself.
The Mighty Deerstalker 2016 – A field report from hell, in which one man and his companion Beard get beaten up by Nature. This has had a remarkable 636 reads this year, boosted significantly by the Beard flagging it to the race organisers, who linked to it from the official site. Thanks Beard!
(Advent) Running Away – This year’s call to arms in the run up to the Advent Running challenge. 217 reads, I suspect mostly from other Advent Runners steeling themselves for 25 straight days of running.
The Wall 2016 – The biggest race I’ve ever tried to run, and my first ever Did Not Finish. 137 people read my pain.
Hurting Myself Better – My very confusing relationship with a foam roller that hates me. 81 reads from sadists getting their jollies.
The Clockwork Orange Tour – In which I ran a circuit of Glasgow’s subway, took pictures, and made you look at them. 70 people actually did, which is proof positive that nothing much of interest happened in the world on February 28th.
I gave you my best books of 2016 the other day, and everything else I read will drop in the mad, late hours of tomorrow. Thirty books read, mostly good to great picks, and occasionally exceptionally bad.
There were holidays and they were good. My wife and daughter made me immensely proud at different times and in different ways. My dog made me goofy happy, a lot. I met up with some wonderful people I haven’t seen in years who inspire me in all sorts of ways. Dayjobbery…happened.
And that, my friends, was 2016. All in all, a little aimless. No personal disasters. Could have been worse. Could have been better. It sets a fairly low bar for 2017, which I suppose is nice. Glass half full much?
I hope you’re looking back on a year that, whatever you feel about the big picture stuff, treated you reasonably well. Time to start planning a better year in 2017 though. Let’s get Hogmanay out of the way first – bells and revels and all that – and then meet back here in the hungover hush of January 1st and see what we can cobble together, shall we?
Happy new year!