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[personal profile] sharplittleteeth
A mixed year for me.


It started off well - We went to MONA FOMA, I finished writing my novel, Continuum was a blast. But around the mid-year everything seemed to get bogged down. I had problems sleeping. Projects stalled at work. And I stopped writing. The second half of the year felt like wading against mud.

By the time the Christmas break rolled around, I was exhausted.


HOLIDAYS
Hobart for Mona Foma in January. Warrnambool for our birthdays in September.

I was meant to take long service leave this year, but I just couldn't organise the time.


MUSIC
Generally, I preferred live music to recorded music this year. I loved seeing David Byrne and St. Vincent at MONA FOMA, for example, but their album didn't really grab me.

NIN released their first album in five years. I listened to it once.

The album that really grabbed me, that I listened to repeatedly and obsessively, was Lorde's Pure Heroine. Moody and uplifting, polished and raw.

We saw lots of live music though: Peter Murphy, MONA FOMA, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Zoe Keating, The Bad Shepherds, The Handsome Family, Amanda Palmer.


BOOKS
My reading had fallen off the last few years, so I made an effort in 2013 to read more. I managed to finish 22 books, which is a reasonable number, I felt.

Standout books I read: Michael Swanick's abrasive The Iron Dragon's Daughter, Margo Lanagan's dark, watery Sea Hearts, and John Green's teens-with-cancer heartbreaker The Fault in Our Stars.

I read a lot of John Green this year. Like Lorde, he's intelligent enough to appeal to my adult sensibilites, but with enough teen angst to feel like escapism.

We lost Iain Banks this year. That stung, even though I'd stopped reading his books several years ago.

I was given Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane for Christmas. If I don't enjoy it, I think I might be done with Gaiman too.

It's sad. Like Banks, Gaiman was hugely important to my friends and me when we were young. Losing interest in an author feels like losing a part of myself. But maybe that part is already lost. We'll see. Ocean might blow me away.

Speaking of hugely important bits of my past...


DOCTOR WHO
It was the 50th anniversary year.

I grew up obsessed with Doctor Who. Tom Baker was very much my Doctor. I made a cardboard K9 in primary school for show and tell. But I drifted away during the Peter Davison era. And I was always hesitant to go back: rewatching Blake's Seven in my 20s taught me that the show I loved as a child was not the same as the show that actually aired on tv.

The new series only reinforced that decision. After modern effects and complex character writing, I doubted I would find the old series even watchable, let alone satisfying.

A podcast changed my mind.

Splendid Chaps was a podcast series hosted by my friends Ben McKenzie and John Richards to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Importantly, it was recorded in front of a live audience. Being part of the audience, listening to people talk about the history of the show, finally encouraged me to go back and watch the old series.

And as I suspected, my enjoyment was mixed. I didn’t mind the cheap sets and dodgy special effects so much. What annoyed me were the wooden characters and the leaden pace.

But what watching those old episodes did give me was a sense of connection: to other fans, and to the history of the show.


FESTIVALS
The Emerging Writers Festival had a new director this year, I was only there as an audience member, and my writing had kind of stalled. So while I enjoyed EWF, I felt somewhat removed from it all.

The Melbourne Writers Festival was enjoyable too, even if all the writers I really wanted to see were on during the Schools Programme. I did go to a masterclass with Scott Westerfeld, though. And heard Tavi Gevinson talk. 2013 was the year of Teenage Girls Who Have Achieved More Than I Ever Will, apparently.

The festival I enjoyed the most was Continuum, mostly because I volunteered for five different panels. I also won a free membership for this year’s con.


HEALTH
Not a great year.

I’m still managing the back pain from 2012. Regular exercise keeps it under control, but I can’t use the desks at the State Library without it flaring up.

I had a blood test early in the year that showed my cholesterol and fasting glucose levels were too high. The solution is to lose weight. Which I tried to do, but only managed to drop about three kilos.

I had a lot of problems with sleeping this year. My snoring came back, despite the nasal surgery I had in 2012. My sleep was frequently interrupted and unrefreshing, leading to problems with energy levels and concentration during the day.

I did a home sleep study in October, which said I had mild sleep apnea.

I saw a sleep physician in December, who told me my snoring problems were caused by my narrow jaw - my tongue is too big to rest inside it, so it slides back obstructing my airway while I sleep. The solution is a dental device like a mouthguard that pulls my jaw forward while I sleep. I’ll try it, but it does cost about $1,800.


OVERALL
2013 felt like pushing shit uphill. It was a huge amount of effort for very little progress. I spent a lot of it stressed, and by the end of the year I was exhausted.

I feel a bit like I'm whinging here. There are people who had much worse years than I did, and it's important to maintain perspective.

But I'm hoping thngs go better in 2014.


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July 2014

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