Its’ 1-1-11. You don’t get dates like that too often, so we should try to enjoy it. (Thank god, now we’re firmly into the Teens, and don’t have to worry about whether they were called the Aughts or the Naughts or the Doodlywhackers any more.) Oddly, it feels more like a new decade than last year did. Maybe the Great Recession made 2009 bleed into 2010 without much relief. I keep thinking in terms of the last decade rather than the last year.
I am pretty well happy to kick the dust of the last decade from our collective heels in terms of the world at large–quite a lot of global suck going on there, which need not be reiterated here. But for me it was an incredibly mixed bag–the decade I spent mostly unhappy and not quite aware of it, vs the decade I became a full-time artist and crawled out of poverty.* The decade I got a divorce and had a nervous breakdown and got an agent and did an Eisner-nominated webcomic and moved seven times and wrote seven kid’s books (No, you haven’t missed any–there are currently three Dragonbreath in the queue) and got contracts for two more. The decade I started blogging. The decade I first lived on my own and paid off my student loans and rediscovered gardening and bought my own car that was completely and only mine and nobody else’s. A decade in which I went from painting crouched on the floor of a rat-hole apartment to remodeling the Stoffice. The decade that my body no longer functioned quite so effortlessly and gracefully and I developed trick ankles, a bad back, acid reflux and a cantankerous bladder.
The decade I met this cute bald guy in a black hat at a party, a stroke of good fortune that still astounds me daily.**
Thousands of cups of tea drunk, hundreds of meals of cheap Chinese takeout consumed, an unknown number of paintings painted, tens of thousands of miles driven, several redwoods worth of Kleenex, twenty or thirty conventions worked, thousands of dollars in vet bills, innumerable e-mails.
As decades go, mine has been moderately insane. I am glad I had it, I would not change most of it–there’s a few fiddly bits I might like to alter for cosmetic purposes, mind you–but if the pace becomes less headlong and I do not have to move quite so often and the book deals continue to be made and my body does not develop exciting new maladies for awhile, I think I’d be okay with that.
But the year started well. I woke up this morning, rolled out of bed, run a comb through my hair and put on clothes, and as I was yanking on socks, Kevin came into the room and said “How do you DO that?!”
I was fairly certain that he had mastered the art of sock donning, lo these many years, so I said “Do what?”
“Look ravishing and put together without doing anything much.”
I wrapped my arms around him and said “Oh honey…I love you more than life itself, and I will never, ever, ever leave you. But we have got to get you some new contacts…”
*At least for now. The world is uncertain, and I don’t delude myself that it owes me a living.
**I always thought that whole “I’m amazed every day!” thing was sentimental crap, and you’d totally get used to it after a few months. Now I don’t. I think sometimes long-term not-good relationships, however unpleasant, are ultimately emotionally useful because you learn not to take good ones for granted later.