2021 is leaving us. Wave to it as it passes! (You’re never going to see it again, so this is your last chance.)
It has been a wild year. I’m still reeling from the past few months. But while there have been many setbacks, hardships, and what-the-heck-is-going-on??? moments, there have also been many beautiful moments.
There have also been many books. Books are beautiful.
A few highlights, in no particular order (because WordPress put them in this order, and do I have the energy to figure out how to change it? NOPE).
Lots of fantasy and sci-fi this year. Only three books here are not fantasy or sci-fi, which is…not the way it has been in the past. I used to read a lot more contemporary, but only one contemporary made the list this year??
I just…really like fantasy and sci-fi, guys.
This was a great year for music. I discovered lots of new jammin’ artists, and got lots of new music from old friends.
New Jammin’ Artists:
Sleeping at Last
I discovered Sleeping at Last back in April and *flips over a table* WHAT IS THIS GLORIOUSNESS?? One of my top favorite artists now. The whole concept of the Atlas project is *chef’s kiss* There are songs for all the senses, all the Enneagram numbers, all the oceans, ALL THE PLANETS. I adore the planet songs. (Also my sisters and I put them in a medley with Interplanet Janet, so there’s that.) A few favorites:
- Earth (May or may not be my top song on Spotify… I really love this song, okay?)
- Eight (“I’ll SHAKE THE GROUND” *flips over another table*)
- Touch (Melancholy apathetic but with an edge of frustration/desperation, and the ENDING like a FLOWER BLOOMING or the SUN RISING–okay, that’s not a great description, but just listen to it)
Super dramatic songs that probably end up in movie trailers? Yes, please. (I mean, he works with Tommee Profitt. Clearly, the songs will be cinematic.)
- Far From Home (The Raven) (Okay, but the second verse when it goes “IF IT GETS TO YOU TOO LATE / JUST KNOW THAT I TRIED” and??!!! *falls over*)
- Brother (“WoAAaHOWoAAaHO How far will you run? / WoAAaHOWoAAaHO You’re not what you’ve become”)
I discovered Josh Garrels during a really stressful time, and THANK the LORD that I did. The number of times that I turned on “Don’t Wait for Me” and just lay down on the floor and b r e a t h e d
- Don’t Wait for Me (Perfect for aforementioned laying on the floor and breathing)
- Jacaranda Tree (For some reason I get such perfect autumn vibes from this song)
- The Resistance (When you’re done lying on the floor and ready to RISE UP. “How do good men become a part of the regime? / They don’t believe in resistance“)
You know when your playlist ends and Spotify starts playing stuff that is supposedly similar? But it’s a random artist you’ve never heard and never wanted to hear, and SOMEONE TURN IT OFF QUICK because yikes? WELL. For once Spotify actually started playing something good? Yeah. It’s good stuff. It’s…folk, I believe?
- Liar (Beautiful and angsty [and 100% Norman from The Promised Neverland])
- Hey, Runner! (This one is a JAM)
- Wander. Wonder. (“Perfect, you’re my poison”)
…This guy is an actual child (which I didn’t know for a while, because he has…an old-sounding voice). Teen angst dramatic jams. Excellent for improv interpretive dance.
- Icarus (Is it in my range? No. But do I sing my heart out to it? ABSOLUTELY.)
- Superkid (“You can’t save them aAaaaAAaaAL”)
New Music from Old Friends:
Scaled and Icy by Twenty One Pilots
The first TOP album to be released since I discovered them. So yes, there was a lot of anticipation and expectation. It took a while to grow on me, but BOY did it grow on me. I’d love to do a full breakdown, but this is turning into a whole post about music, and I need to wrap this section up. A few favorite tracks: “Choker”, “Mulberry Street”, and “No Chances”
Clouds (The Mixtape) by NF
So many jams. So many. But not just jams (this is NF after all). Songs that plumb the depths of humanity and emotion. Favorites: “Lost”, “Drifting”, and “That’s a Joke”
Departures by Jon Foreman
Well, the results are in, and this man is still a genius. Go listen to “Last Words” because there are feelings.
So you know how I disappeared for three months? There were several reasons for this. Most of them I won’t go into because they had to do with Life Things (let’s just say, these past few months have been… a wild ride), but there is one reason I will tell you:
I wrote a book.
“Ah, yes,” you say. “You finally wrote that book you told us you were working on–the one with the airships and all that.”
Actually I wrote… *leaning around my supposedly current WIP to point* …that one.
What’s it about, you ask? Well, if you’ve been around for a while you may have already read the first incarnation of the first chapter. Soldier in a vaguely sci-fi war realizing he’s been fighting on the wrong side? Yep. That’s the one. The few pages written in response to a writing prompt that I had absolutely no intention of expanding into a book. NO INTENTION, I tell you.
But suddenly, almost six months after writing my response to the prompt, I started having IDEAS.
And as we all know from A Bug’s Life, “Ideas are very dangerous things.”
But yeah. It happened.
There is angst. There are green beans. There is Kai, and he is my son.
I also wrote a couple short stories this year.
And I love them both, despite the fact that they need lots of work (aw, look at all the cute little plot holes!).
I got a lot more into fantasy and sci-fi this year with my reading, and–not surprisingly–this was reflected in my writing. I wrote a lowkey sci-fi short story about a Sad Spaceman (mentioned in this post), and a fantasy short story about hunting a magical beast (spoiler…things do not go well).
That’s all for now! I wish you all the best in 2022!
(…That feels so weird. I wrote the date as December 2020 a few weeks ago and didn’t even catch it until…a few days ago? But now it’s about to be 2022?? HALP)
How was 2021 for you? Are you happy to see it go? What was the best book you read (or best handful of books–I’m so cruel as to make you choose just one)? What goals do you have for 2022? Did you discover any new music? Does your “current WIP” get jealous and start plotting your murder when you accidentally draft another book instead? Do tell!