Recap 2018

It’s almost over now, 2018. Like most years, it had happy and not so happy days, nobody close died, which is always an excellent thing, and the world didn’t end, once again, though I’m not sure this is good news. Here’s what I did this year.

Cat started school

I don’t know about other parents but I live in the shadow of death, or rather the fear of death for my family. it’s a long story but it means every year that we all survive I call a success. And no, I do not have the tiniest bit of rational reason to live in this fear. Anyway. First grade, yay.

I did a podcast

As in, I was invited to talk about oil in a podcast by a Twitter friend with a trading business. It wasn’t as embarrassing as I suspected it would be though I did get carried away on the topic of OPEC. You can hear my now charming Eastern European accent here. And to think that 20 years ago I passed for a native in England. Oh, well.

I worked less but earned more

That’s because I learned to work faster and not because there was less work to do, which is exactly the way I like my professional life. I wrote more articles but I spent less time on it, so I had more time to blog and write stories. This has not been without consequences, chief among them the now permanent bags under my eyes from six hours of sleep but I can live with that. Who said we have to all be beautiful? I’d rather be happy.

I survived four dumb books

Translation is a side dish on my work menu and this year has not been the best in terms of quality of the books I translated. The problem is I couldn’t say no to the offer before I’d read the whole book and there is usually no time to read the whole book before I decide to take the offer or not. So, this year I saddled myself with a trilogy that was basically on par with the Fifty Shades series in terms of depth and plausibility, and a work I wouldn’t even call a novel but rather a hilarious attempt at fiction writing. I did have the pleasure, however, to translate Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Story, as well, which almost made up for the rubbish. Almost, because it was the only really good book I translated this year. But I survived.

I learned to make rugbrød

There are wonderfoods out there and this is one of them. The tastiest bread ever that also happens to be very healthy. And making it is not a quick or easy affair as is only fitting. But I did it! I did it at the cost of muscle cramps from the stirring of the final dough and a few near-inedible failures that I ate nevertheless. I also got to taste the original, which was, of course, infinitely better than my version, but since I can’t very well import it on a weekly basis, I’m sticking to this poorer version of mine. Oh, I also dropped 2 kgs, which I think has everything to do with the switch from wheat to rye.

I went to Denmark

I flew to Denmark. And I got to see the inside of the cockpit because when you have a seven-year-old in tow and this seven-year-old has written (by her own free will) a heart-warming letter to the pilot saying this is her first time on a plane, every normal pilot would invite the kid to the cockpit after landing. I’m not sure who was happier, I’ve dreamed about this since I was seven myself. So, that’s two dreams in one. Well done, me.

Two of my stories got published

Which makes a total of three since I started writing and submitting in June 2017. I’d call this a good rate of success and most definitely a great motivation booster. I can’t wait to see the anthologies but I will have to: I’m not sure I want to take the chance of having my author copies delivered to Bulgaria. I’d rather have them delivered to a friend in Chicago and then wait for her to come visit with her family and bring them to me. I’m deeply mistrustful of delivery companies ever since I bought a book on Amazon and never got it. That’s Europe’s fringe for you.

I made two new friends

Usually, the older you get, the harder it is to make new friends simply because you already have a few old ones and they’re enough. Also, most people are idiots and finding the few good ones among them is difficult in any case. So, when that happens, it’s one of the nicest surprises: finding a person who shares your (very unpopular) view of the world, gets your jokes and makes jokes you get. It’s second-best to falling in love with The Right One.

I also gave up on a friend

I’m not known for my patience but in some cases I’ve surprised myself with how willing I am to wait for someone I care about to grow up and mature. However, just recently I came to the conclusion it’s not worth the time or the devastating emotions. Some people will never mature. They will never stop manipulating other people for their very personal gain. Sad as this may be, I’m under no obligation to stay and witness/partake in the manipulation games. It’s a huge relief.

I started a new story

I meant it as a series of monster-of-the-week type stories, self-contained and unlinked by a larger narrative, except for the main characters. Apparently, the main character had his own plans, which is the nicer explanation, or I simply cannot stick to a plan, which is not as nice but much closer to the truth. Anyway, the first draft of the Dansk Finanzbar Chronicles* is almost done. All that remains is the showdown. Oh, and it looks like it will just be the first book in a series because when you have six guardians of the universe and each of them has a negator, you can’t get away with just one book about one guardian.

I yelled at an idiot driver

I’m not a big fan of confrontation, verbal or physical. Yet when you think you’re untouchable in your BMW because you’re a BMW driver and the woman with a child by the hand on the pedestrian crossing is just a lowly pedestrian, so she’d better run because you want to make a left and some green pedestrian traffic light is not enough to stop you, I happen to be capable of turning into a yelling monster. Mothers are scary creatures. Not that the idiot cared but he did stop (mid-turn, a foot from me) and waited for us to cross.

I signed a contract for The Lamiastriga

Okay, that’s the biggest news of the year and it happened a week ago. I’m still coming to terms with the fact because it came as a shock. I’d received eight rejections, most from agents, two from publishers. And then the offer came, from a publisher I really had big hopes about because I liked the fact it was based not in London but in Cambridge, my second home in my teens. Coincidence? Of course, but what a delicious one.

Well, that’s about it. I generally consider a year well spent when the good outweighs the bad, even if I stretch the definition of good to include “nothing too horrible”. But this year was definitely good, in the sense of “things that make me genuinely happy happened.” I hope it was good for all of you as well.

*I know it should be Finansbar if it’s supposed to be in Danish. But I dreamed it with a Z.

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