Greatest Hits of 2014. Or: Stuff I Did This Year and Am Proud Of

*Insert exclamatory lament about the year being over here* But no, REALLY.

Last year I made a list of 14 goals that I wanted to complete in 2014. As is the case with most lists of this calibre, I did not complete all 14 items. There are no (major) regrets here because even though I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do, I was still able to do some pretty cool/different/important stuff. With that said, here’s a list of stuff I did do in 2014.

1. I ran a 5K. Twice, actually! The first one was in July and it was the YA Runs a 5K which was hosted by Melody and Susan, and although I participated ~virtually~, this actually marks the first time I’d attempted to run a 5K while actually calculating the distance. A few months later in September, I participated in the Terry Fox Run and ran an official 5K. Seriously, three years ago, I never would’ve thought that *I* would be someone capable of running a half marathon or even down the block (believe me, I had tried and FAILED). So this was definitely an accomplishment 😀

2. I attended BEA in NYC. JUNIOR YEAR, yo (lol). Yes, for the third time I met up with my beloved bevy and attended Book Expo America. I just realized I never really wrote a post on this blog about it, but Jen put together a recap at the bevy blog here and here which document merely fractions of our fun, memorable. Every year, the bevy becomes more important in my life, and IDK what my life would be without this yearly trip. (I guess we’ll find out in 2016 since it’s moving out of NYC O_O)

3. I won NaNoWriMo! YEAAAAAAH, I wrote a novel! Sorta. I wrote 50K of Verona Horse Mermaid 2, and it’s basically super rough draft and it’s true, half of that may get cut out when I go revise it, but whatever! This year, NaNo taught me that I can wake up super early and devote daily sessions to writing–something I’d never been able to get a grip on before.

4. I got a raise. Okay, it wasn’t any giant astronomical raise, but its my first raise since I started working with this company, and it was a big deal to me. If you’ve ever had the pleasure (…) of being on the listening end of one of my angry work tweets, then you’ll know that I… well, my job is kind of ridiculous in the grand scheme of my life. I mean, catheter technician… LMAO. Despite that, a job is a job, and I do put forth mounds of effort and dedication even though it’s not exactly my (or anyone’s) dream job. So to get a raise–to be recognized for that effort… It was a good feeling.

5. I attended TIFF. Despite the always stressful ticket selection process, I adoooore the Toronto International Film Festival for many reasons. This year I got to see a bunch of really cool, non-typical films: Tokyo Fiancée (a quirky, cute Belgian film about a French-speaking girl who wants to be Japanese), Madam Bovary (an adapation of the classic novel which featured this guy who looked EXACTLY like Tom Hardy but was NOT Tom Hardy), The Imitation Game (my opinions on Benedict Cumberbatch aside, this film was amaaazing. So well done. Oscars, plz), Une Nouvelle Amie (omg, I can’t even get into this but it was French and involved a cross-dresser and it was funny, but strange, but entertaining), and The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (an informative and preciously wonderful documentary on Studio Ghibli and Hiyao Miyazaki). With the exception of Madame Bovary, I adored all of these films and I’m super glad I got to see them because they likely won’t be released here in Canada/North America. Another reason why I enjoy TIFF so much is because it’s the one time a year I get to hang out and catch up with my best friend who although lives just a couple of blocks away, I hardly ever get to see. Just us, and nobody else. Well, except the celebrities. SPEAKING OF, I SAW ANSEL ELGORT IN THE FLESH. What what! Also Max Irons. And Benedict Cumberbatch for a second time…

6. I saw The Lion King, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch on stage. To see a musical I’ve never seen before is always a goal on my annual unofficial list of goals. This year, I got to see two and they were extremely different from each other. The first was the Disney classic: The Lion King. PEOPLE, I CRIED SO MUCH. Like as soon as the first note was sung, I BAWLED. As the “animals” appeared on stage, specifically those giraffes, I was Alice-in-Wonderland-style drowning in a room of my tears. I don’t know. It was just so well done. The second was super cool because I had studied Hedwig in university (my Lit prof was into …nontraditional literature) so I’d seen the movie and knew some of the songs. Then later that summer I’d attempted to watch a stage version, but my friends and I got lost and missed the show. Years later, I was finally able to catch a show and it was AMAZING. It’s one of those shows that you really need to watch to understand because you need to be IN the audience, and when you are, it’s just an unforgettable experience. The cast (only 2 cast members + the band) were great–so great that I went to see the show a second time.

7. I finally watched the last episode of Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack on Titan). So this is a Big Deal because I never finish tv shows save for Battlestar Galactica and LOST (and let’s not discuss those endings, yeah?). For whatever reason, I just don’t like watching the last episodes or I’ll just stop watching a show. SNK isn’t over yet, but for more than a year I avoided watching the final episode until a couple of weeks ago and omggggggggggg. In related news, I think the reason I don’t like finishing shows is because of the inevitable withdrawal after it’s over. Because I’m feeling a COLOSSAL void right now. (Haha, colossal. Get it? GET IT?)

8. My short story was published! YAAAAS! My short story “This Job is Only Temporary” was published in Inaccurate Realities‘ time travel volume in January. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but one I’m grateful for. It’s beyond cool that I have an ~officially published~ story out in the world that people beyond my friends and CPs can read. It was also definitely encouraging.

9. THREATS OF SKY AND SEA was published! Now, this obviously isn’t something that *I* did, but it is something that happened this year that I would consider important in my life because I would kinda consider myself like a godmother to Jen’s baby (i.e. her debut novel which you can find more info on hereeee). To quote fellow bevy member KT, Jen is one of “mah people,” as well as one of my CPs, so it isn’t any surprise that I continue to be proud of her for this accomplishment, and cannot wait for 2015 because hellooooo I need the sequel in its entity!

10. STARWARSSTARWARSSTARWARSSS. Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn’t come out for another year, 2014 marks the year of the official moment when I realized “Holy crap, it really IS returning into my life.” Yes, Star Wars never left my life, but all of the anticipation and waiting on the prequel films to come out had. I thought I was done with that stuff. But nope–it’s back, and this year we got the cast, a title, and a teaser trailer. HELP ME OBI-WAN KENOBI, HOW AM I GONNA DEAL IN 2015?

I”m sure I could come up with 4 other items for a solid 14, but I DO WHAT I WANT. With that said, Idek what’s going to happen in 2015 (except for me watching Star Wars VII~~~), but I really feel like this year was a prequel in itself. Does that make sense? Probably not. I’ll explain more tomorrow.

BYE 2014.

ETA: Dang, this isn’t a greatest hit or something I’m proud of, but I NEED to document the fact that 2014 is the year it was ~revealed that Hello Kitty isn’t actually a cat and WHAT EVEN. I am still like perplexed and shocked and tbh, this really did change me and make me question my identity. (Am I really a human? Am *I* really a cat?)

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Lost The Battle. Or: What I Did in November Instead.

It’s just like John Lennon sang: I’M A LOSER.

But really, am I? No, she said, answering her own question. Although I may not have hit that 50K mark within these thirty days of November, I was able to do a whole bunch of other stuff. Since I love lists, here is one of my mini, albeit significant achievements:

1. Doctor Who marathons. This started back in September, but basically with the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who on November 23rd, SPACE channel aired marathons and specials every weekend. That’s basically what I did on Sundays, the day I usually reserve for write-a-thons. I would always have my laptop with me, but my eyes were glued to the television screen instead. It was cool because my mom and I were able to ~bond over these marathons and I got to rewatch some of my favourite episodes and relive some nightmares, too (ANGELS. DOLLS. UGH…)

2. Sailor Moon marathons. This was also a thing that I did in November. This might also be a thing I am still doing in December.

3. I wrote a short story. Okay, so here’s probably the biggest item on this list. In November, I spent a good week brainstorming, writing, and revising a short story to submit to Inaccurate Realities. That totally paid off because said short story was selected for the upcoming issue in January. Yay! More details about that and the other stories featured in the issue can be found here. I’m sooooo so excited. While it is beyond awesome that my story is going to be in print, I’m also just really ~in like~ with the story I wrote. I remember finishing it and telling myself that even if it wasn’t chosen for publication, it didn’t matter because I was just glad I wrote it. Now I’m also glad (and nervous) that I’ll get to share this story …with the world.

4. Catching Fire! I saw Catching Fire and it was AMAZING. I mean, there are some casting choices that I’m still side-eyeing, but I was so impressed by the film. Jennifer Lawrence… I didn’t think she could amaze me further, but dang. I also saw Thor 2 early in the month and that film was also super exciting and entertaining. In addition, trailers for Divergent and Vampire Academy. YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

5. The Fiery Heart. One of my most anticipated novels of the year was released in November. Much of the month was spent freaking out over the book’s arrival, freaking out over Amazon not delivering the Kindle version to me (AGAIN), and finally reading the book and freaking out about that. Of course, the book was A+++. Another great book I read in November was Susan Dennard’s “Something Strange and Deadly.” Such a refreshingly enjoyable read with an amazing protagonist and cool setting.

6. Agents of SHIELD and Reign a.k.a. the two shows I’ve become addicted to this fall season. It’s been a whiiiile since I’ve had a “regular” show that I’d watch each week, so to have two of them is a Big Deal. Funnily enough, these two shows get so much flack for being “boring” or “inaccurate” or “pointless,” but WHATEVER. They’re fun.

7. Disney’s Aladdin: The Musical. Toronto is super lucky to get the pre-Broadway run of Disney’s Aladdin musical, and my sisters and I saw a performance just a few days ago. It was MAGICAL. I swear, I couldn’t breathe from some of the Genie’s scenes, especially “Friend Like Me” because I was shaking with laughter. Overall, it was an enjoyable production and I will definitely be picking up the OBCR next year. And Jafar voice actor IRL…playing Jafar. I’ll never get over this fact.

8. 25K of The Neverland Cure. Right. So firstly, I did come up with an actual title for my Neverland Remix story and it’s THE NEVERLAND CURE (although I still like THE NEVERLAND REMEDY. I’m undecided). Secondly, while I didn’t hit the 50K mark, I did make it halfway which I think is a pretty dang good feat considering I spent a total of three days writing. Yes. It’s time for a confession: I only dedicated three days to writing this particular story. No wonder I failed at 50K, right? I don’t even really know if I can label myself as a participant in NaNoWriMo this year because I didn’t slave over my word count every day. I think that’s a blessing in disguise, though. A different year, a different experience.

Some of my non-Nano writing occurred because of inevitable procrastination. Fortunately, I procrastinated by writing the short story mentioned in #3. That definitely makes this one of those bright side/silver lining situations. I am sure there is also a lesson in here somewhere about just going with your instincts. I knew that I should’ve been working on TNC/TNR, but a voice kept urging me to work on the short story instead. I listened to that voice and fortunately, it paid off. 😀

I’m still in deep like with this work in progress and I will probably continue to add to its word count every now and then. Although I wasn’t able to actually write the story, I did make several notes on my phone throughout the month. SO NEVERLAND, I WILL BE BACK.

And so, the moral of the story: I did not win NaNoWriMo this year, but what I did instead was pretty worthwhile. You win some, you lose some. Except, sometimes you also win when you lose. Or something like that.

Hi, December! 😐