Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge

I can’t believe it’s Christmas, 2021. So much has happened this year. I can’t believe it’s been more than a year since my last blog post. All right, I can believe the last part. It’s been a hell of a year. I’ve been busy doing all sorts of things. There are certain years in one’s life that are transformative. Almost alchemical. You know as you’re passing through them that they are shaping you, and you’ll be very different when you come out the other side. “Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed….”

What is different? Well, I’m further in my Creative Writing MFA at UBC. I only have one semester of classes left, though my thesis is certainly going to take longer. The classes have been intriguing. A fiction class that has helped crystallize the parts of my writing that need more work, a graphic novel class that has inspired me to try creating a collage comic strip entirely myself instead of relying on someone else to draw it, a teaching creative writing class that has shown me how I can be a better teacher, and a writing for children class that has shown me that the Welsh King Arthur story I want to write would work very well as a YA book.

In addition, I got married to the love of my life, published my anthology on mental health with Cloudscape Comics, and have continued to teach at Langara (and been developing my teaching techniques there). Also the stress of work, school, and the global pandemic have forced me to lose myself in new interests. I’ve gotten very engaged in the various elaborate and creative fashion choices of haute couture (especially the mythology-inspired stuff of Thierry Mugler and Guo Pei), and I’ve finally got involved in social media.

It’s a weird moment to basically sit up and say “Are you telling me that there are people on the Internet interested in talking about 1980s role-playing games, 1990s Marvel trading cards, 1930s horror movies, and general factoids of superhero comics and mythology?” Of course intellectually I knew that to be true, though it took this year to emotionally realize it. I’m actually retweeting people, engaging in twitter discussions, following podcasts (especially the erudite yet hilarious Oh Gosh, Oh Golly, Oh Wow! podcast for the Excalibur comic), that sort of thing. In particular, I’ve gotten engaged in the network of folklore-related hashtags (#MythologyMonday, #FairyTaleTuesday, #WyrdWednesday, #FolkloreThursday, #FaustianFriday, etc.), in which every week on the day of the relevant hashtag, you post factoids relevant to their current theme. It’s bizarre how marvelous it has felt to post folklore factoids and read what others have posted – quick consumption of obscure mythic facts is certainly my biggest addiction. It’s such a soothing experience to be in communication with so many people deeply nostalgic about the same things I am. It seems like a weird thing to fixate on, but considering how important nostalgia and pop culture factoids are in my life — there it is. The world is a frightening and chaotic place.

I am expanding my interests to new areas, perfecting my writing prowess, and moving forward with my life. Right now I’m still overwhelmed with MFA-related stuff, so I’m certainly not relaxed. But it is nice to know that through all this I am becoming a more engaged person. I am building a community of associates, getting more involved in more interests, and of course soon I’ll have a nice MFA degree to be proud of. I am being changed, and it is nice.

Happy holidays!