|The ruins of Haughmond Abbey in Shropshire|
Not a lot to review, honestly, but the picture's not a reflection of the kind of year I've had. It's just the closest to a Christmas picture that I have. I've just finished putting the children's presents around the tree and now I have to just sneak into their room with their stockings before going to bed myself and hope they don't wake up as I do so.
Each year I think that, as I delicately place a stocking at the foot of a bed, the lights will suddenly come on and I will find myself staring at my wide awake children, trying hastily to think of a reason why it's me and not Santa putting the presents out.
One year they may set up tripwire alarms for that very purpose. My wife wonders why I don't buy them electronic spy-kit sets, but that's just me thinking ahead. Might be a good idea to pass on the My-Little-Waterboarding set too, in case they get a bit too sophisticated with their interrogations...
Anyway, 2013 has had its usual share of ups and downs, though with a few more downs than normal. I started the year with just one novel out, and the lack of sales had me despairing. Starting the X-Troop novels put me back on track and made me focus long term, which was okay until the summer. Then a series of setbacks hit the family and we've been struggling to recover. Our finances took a nosedive, a cardiac scare (and possible misdiagnosis) cast its shadow and other stuff kind of just piled up to make the second half of the year something of a trial. The third X-Troop novel has been delayed as a result, for which I apologise. The majority of it is finished and it's looking like a January/February release now, but the setback has been frustrating.
I've also discovered that I may have Aspergers (a mild form of Autism). It's only a self-diagnosis (for which I'm 99% sure), but it explains a lot about my life. To some extent, I think I've always known. Deep down inside. Like something wasn't right.
Well, actually I thought I was just fucking nuts, which isn't quite the same, but I just hadn't been able to put a word to it. And now that I have, it just feels kinda strange. Not in a bad way, necessarily, just... weird. Like putting in a corrective lens so that everything springs into focus for the first time, and what I thought I was looking at turned out to be something else. So I'm staring a lot at the new sharp outline and wondering if I preferred it blurred.
But life's still good. I'm alive, I have a roof over my head and tomorrow's Christmas day. We've made it through another year and we haven't run out of options yet. Life used to be very shit for me, and more than a little goofy, so I feel lucky to have come this far and that has to be cause for a celebration.
So tomorrow I shall be celebrating, and I hope you can too, whether it's with your own family or by yourself. Eat what you can, drink what you can and know that, as a project, 2013 is pretty much wrapped up. You did your bit and now it's time to take a break before starting the next one.
Merry Christmas, and I wish you a hopeful, resourceful, ass-kicking New Year. Because who knows what's round the next corner?
Salaam, Shalom, have a good one.