Well, the first of a new year is generally a time to look back, but I thought today I might look a little further back than usual. Below is my journal entry for January 1, 2006.
January 1--Sunday: Day 1 of the new year. We slept late and ordered pizza for lunch. Josh and Heidi were here. Then I watched some football and worked on my REH’s mental state article. Made very good progress on that. Played a little chess online here and there.
I’m basically pretty glad 2005 is over. What a steady series of shocks and problems we experienced. First, Lana’s mom died, and she lost an uncle and a friend as well. Then I had my motorcycle wreck and am still not completely recovered from that. Josh wrecked his bike, as well, and hurt himself a bit, but has recovered. Worse, he wrecked his Diamanti and it was totaled. Fortunately he was OK. He got another car at least, which was much cheaper and which he mostly paid for himself, but he seems to like it. We also had problem after problem with my Thunderbird. I put a lot of money into it early in the year, although it ran well at the end of the year. My sister Dolores died of colon cancer and it was a hard death. I'll never forget her last moments. For weeks I saw her face every time I closed my eyes. My own health did not fare all that well, either. My high blood pressure seems well controlled with medicine but my triglycerides went way up, to over 800, and my cholesterol increased some too, ending up over 200. Part of that was due to the blood pressure medicine. I haven’t felt my best in a long time.
And, of course, there came Hurricane Katrina in August. We got lucky in that we didn’t lose anything physically other than Lana's car, but we were forced out of our home for over three months, and even once we got back things have not been the same. We relocated to Austin for two months, which I didn’t find terribly bad, although Lana hated it. I got to work at the University of Texas, which was nice, and I got to spend time in a new environment. But for a couple of months I didn’t really see Josh, except for once when I flew into New Orleans. He stayed in our apartment, and he was unable to get back into school so he lost a semester. He finally did get a job that paid him quite a bit.
At one point, I got a grant and thought I was actually going to end up making some money. That thought died when Xavier fired over half its faculty. Although I was given a contract, Xavier took my grant money to pay it. The fear and depression over all this has been terrible, especially the sadness of seeing so many friends gone and worrying about how they will make it. And I don’t really have any idea what my future will be in the New Orleans area. I don’t know how well I have recovered from having my lifetime career so threatened. And to top things off, Cross Plains, Texas nearly burned down in December wildfires, although the Robert E. Howard House was spared. Still, there may be no one left to take care of things there considering how much fire damage there was in the town.
As for writing, 2005 was a non-fiction year and it was quite successful as far as money is concerned. I made decent money on the Salem Press articles, and on the fantasy articles for the Greenwood Encyclopedia. I also got the grant because of my writing on the Darwin book, which means I have made more money from that book now than from anything I’ve ever actually finished and had published. It may well have also saved my job because they got rid of a lot of people who didn’t get such grants.
In the coming year I hope to get back into fiction, but I don’t know how much time I’ll have considering the big work loads we are going to have at Xavier, what with release time cancelled and half our colleagues gone. I’d like to submit my three Talera novels somewhere, and have plans to work on that soon. I also need to continue work on the Darwin book and get it ready to submit for publication. I’d like to submit the writing Guidebook as well. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to get motivated. So much stuff is up in the air about my life and career and I’m just a little tired. The other thing I’d like to do, though, is get myself a little more healthy, which means getting my triglycerides under control and getting off my prescription medicines, and eating a better diet.
So there you have it. That's what I remembered about 2005 on January 1 of 2006. Tomorrow I'll make another such journal entry. Not sure yet what I'm going to say. But maybe in a few years you'll see that one too.
HAPPY NEW YEARS