So it was Christmas Day and my dad had dug out some old home movies. He’d hooked a chunky VCR to the TV with three colour-coded cables that would baffle anyone under twenty. The family, full from dinner and a little boozy, watched and laughed at our younger selves.
We saw clips of my mum and dad’s wedding. We saw me and my sisters riding our bikes. We saw my fourth birthday party with the bouncy castle and the homemade Beetlejuice birthday cake.
I sipped from my beer and looked away from the TV, caught sight of the others, smiling wistfully at what was once us, only twenty-five years previous. It didn’t seem so long ago in that moment. It seemed like maybe we weren’t real, maybe we were our younger selves, imagining this moment.
Would younger-us be happy with older-us?
I think so. Mostly. We’ve lost some friends and family along the way. We’ve fought and made up. We’ve split and moved apart. Some of us have had kids of our own, continuing the cycle. The usual ups and downs of any family unit.
But man does it make you take stock of it all.
Twenty-five years is nothing. One is even less.
What happened to my plans to live in America? To have a rock-solid set of abs? To climb Kilimanjaro? To make a million pounds so I could buy all the Mutant Ninja Turtle and Star Wars action figures?
These things we want to do, these goals, are like water in our cupped hands. We do our best to hold onto them but they slip through our fingers no matter how hard we try to hold on.
And I’ll be honest, there’s a part of me that finds that almost too difficult to take. It’s the reason I cry at the end of Click (yes… the Adam Sandler film). The thought of losing it all without appreciating it fully, making the most of it, hits a nerve.
So here I am… once again at the tail-end of the year, processing in public, trying to hold onto time by writing stuff down, hoping that by doing so, somehow, it’ll slow down, give me chance to take it all in. I don't want to spill a single drop of it.
See here for the previous end of year reviews:
The 2017 To-Done List:
- Kickstarted a comic book. El Marvo #1 - a post-apocalyptic story about an out-of-time luchador wrestler.
- I published 3x Novels with my co-writer, Dan Willcocks — They Rot, They Remain, and Lazarus.
- I ran my first 10k... and then did it again... five more times. Something I didn't even think was possible a year ago.
- Our podcast network hit a million downloads.
- I wrote 39 stories (mostly short stories, some scripts, a couple of novels).
- I got a short story accepted for a publication. Should be out next year.
- We got a dog! Her name is Alaska and she is made of snow.
- I lost some weight. I only know this because this is the first year my family mentioned it. Well, they mention my weight every year but normally it’s a ‘have you tried dieting?’ or ‘I hear Crossfit works wonders’ sorta deal.
- We put out 129 new podcast episodes. See The Story Studio, Horror Hangout, and The Other Stories.
- I screened Keith and did a Q&A and didn’t have to get wasted to handle the nerves.
- We did more comic cons
- I launched my personal Patreon page.
- I finished my #PROJECT365 -- a story idea a day for a year.
- I finished two NaNoWriMos, sorta. Camp NaNo in February and NaNoBoozeMo in November.
- 2017 was the year I wanted to ‘build like a motherfucker’.
- 2017 was the year I did more of what worked — collaboration being the key.
- 2017 was the year I really learned to reach, and by this I mean scheduling a 10k run, being completely terrified of not actually being able to do it, but then doing it anyway. Sometimes, you’re only limiting yourself.
- 2017 was the year I learned to love walking the dog and peace and quiet in general. Fuck the noise. Go outside for a bit. Breathe.
- 2017 was the year I lost most of my money. Not a good thing but it’s a thing that happened. Maybe next year I can get some of that back.
- 2017 was the year I fell in love with Stephen King books, this Bon Iver performance, learned to love running, found the Bookstagram community.
Themes to live by in 2018:
Experiment with stuff that might not go anywhere. I felt weirdly regimented in 2017. I want to make some music, take more photos, draw some more, try to cook, maybe do a coding class.
I know myself well enough now to know that if I’m not working on a big project, I’m not too nice to be around. #KEITH.
Maybe it’s a little close to the last theme, but writing is my favourite thing to do. I’m sure I'll be dreaming up short stories in my final days before death.
Further. Faster. In the sun, rain, snow. Do more.
A good piece of art is more refreshing to me than anything in the world. I plan to watch more great cinema, read more great books, and listen to a ton of podcasts and music.
Less Social Media.
Maybe even cut it out completely?
Things To Do in 2018:
- Publish They Ruin.
- Make Keith.
- Edit The 3.0 and send out for submissions.
- El Marvo #2.
- Lots of short stories.
- Run a half marathon.
- Do NaNoWriMo again.
- Turn 30.
- Have that hernia operation (long time coming).
Stuff I Enjoyed:
Sharon Van Etten & Dirty Projectors & Tom Waits & Bon Iver & Radiohead & Jamie Lenman & Pantera & Metallica.
Twin Peaks & Fargo S2 & Castlevania & The Good Place & Inside No 9.
Let The Right One In & Stand By Me & John Carpenter & David Cronenberg & Brawl in Cell Block 99.
Uzumaki & Hellboy & Postal
Want my top books? Go here --> top reads of the year. However here are some stand out authors who rocked my year:
Stephen King & Joe R. Lansdale & Clive Barker & Nick Cutter & Neil Gaiman & Scott Smith & Jeremy Robert Johnson.
Killer P.O.V & Shock Waves & Pure Cinema Podcast & Joe Rogan Experience & Nightmare Magazine
And that’s that. The home movies are finished. They ended in glitchy lines of white noise and left me and my family finishing our booze, wiping our eyes, and looking at each other with a rekindled love.
None of us said anything for a while until my mum spoke up: “Tea anyone?"
"Yes please," I said but actually meaning "I love you."