I endured deep losses in Autumn. Might have been weeping into carpet. So that mood doesn't cover everything I made a list of things I achieved this year.
In January, my black comedy Norn Irish novella 'Spide: The Lost Tribes', arrived in paperback. David Davies and I wrote and performed, 'Gnome Alone', a play for the First Fortnight festival in Dundalk. I continued promoting 'Mixed Jam', the open mic events in Belfast run by Inspire Wellbeing. In the Spring we ran sets in Falls Road Library and Farset Labs. Then there was landing on the bill of Imagine: the Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics. The event, by Eileen Walsh of Together in Pieces Initiative called for me as expert judge on the 'The Big Naked Conspiracy Night' quiz. We'd a brilliant build up too, creating an insanely inventive string of promos which you can revisit here. Between all that I found energy to tutor in GCSE History, and edit 'The Universal Journey', a giant one-off magazine on Atheism and the Roman Empire.
Over Summer I was invited on The Defenders Podcast to talk Jessica Jones. I'd a great spot on Derry's Drive 105FM talking writing, literary graphic novels and reading poetry and prose. Studio NI uploaded their Culture Night 2018 poetry slam videos. I'd three pieces in that, and it's one of my strongest spoken word performances. I wrote a few of my favourite poems ('Ode To Bumcrack' still the joy); finished the novella, 'Thor's Day in Juno'. It has a great Neil Gaiman-Douglas Adams vibe and I hope it reaches the large audience it deserves. I created art for Zagreb's Caffe Domenico and was hosted at the 10th OSCARfest International Cartoon Exhibition on the Croatian island of Cres. One of the highlights was teaming with ComicBookGuys NI to bring over 'Lost Light' creative dev, James Roberts. Never meet your heroes? Bushit. James was great company, powerful without being overwhelming, and knows the answer to everything Transformers.
Dreaded Autumn then: apparently, frell that. Talking about the afterlife in fiction on NIMLAS Studios podcast, Nutty Bites. Hosts Nuchtchas and Tek are always a joy to collaborate with and we made for a stellar show. The theme was decided to promote 'Thor's Day in Juno', before I withdrew it in favour of finding a larger publisher. That said, the hosts reviewed it enthusiastically and we talked about many, many exciting concepts. I took part in Culture Night Belfast's open mic again, took up work as an academic transcriber, stood on a picket line and created 'The Underdog', a bad bad comic as per the Bulwer-Lytton. Tried 24 hour comics not once but twice, and twice failed. (16 noble pages and 4 lazy ones.) November was the worst, but it was also the month I served as Northern Irish Liaison for NaNoWrimo. I'm immensely proud at helping arrange sixteen events, meeting an array of kind, warm and helpful people, and getting 38k into my novel, 'Banked', due in 2022. It was a genuinely touching experience which I said I'd not repeat but I'm so, so tempted. The year was rounded off by breaking a creative block on flash-fic with ten new pieces, (never more an exciting time to subscribe on Patreon), and reading ten books in a month. (Check my Goodreads profile or the sidebar on andy-luke.com for reviews of those)
Despite all the wider world monsters, what a year. Pretty conclusive I didn't waste my time. We all suffer so much, these days and years coming, but what an absolutely fabulous year! There's no reason why those monsters should win. Resilience and committment over-come anything. We're stronger than we think.
Next time, I want to write you a post that isn't about me at all, and sooner than later.