New Year’s

Man, what a year 2017 was.  Talk about a mix of the good and bad (or the wonderful and the dreadful):  while my personal and family life featured a number of highlights, the national political scene swung into something so bad it’s become a parody of itself–which in no way mitigates the harm it’s doing and has done.  In the past, I’ve tried to use social media as a way to keep in touch with friends and family and to share news relevant to my writing life; this year, however, I found myself speaking out more than I ever have about socio-political conditions in the country.  I expect that will continue in 2018.  Oh, and the whole finding-out-I’m-diabetic thing was less than a thrill.

Yet there were good things this past year, and I don’t want to overlook them.  My wife is the joy of my life, as are my sons and grandchildren.  We took a ridiculous fifth dog into our household.  I had the pleasure of being room-Dad for David’s AC/DC rehearsals at The Rock Academy, and then watching him and his fellow cast members dazzle their audiences.  I continued to study Tang Soo Do, and went a good part of the way towards learning the new forms necessary for me to advance to my next rank.  I also taught a good deal at the school’s Saugerties studio, which I found both rewarding and challenging.  As the year came to an end, I was reminded how much I love my friends Laird Barron and Paul Tremblay–seriously, these guys are the best.  I attended my first Necon with Laird and had one of the best conventions I’ve ever had.  The Fisherman won an astonishing two awards, a Bram Stoker Award and a This is Horror award.  House of Windows was re-released in a snazzy new edition by Diversion Press.  I wrote and had accepted for publication a number of stories, and am on the verge on completing my egregiously overdue third collection, Sefira and Other Betrayals.  I finally read Peter Straub’s brilliant The Skylark (not to mention, his astonishing novella, The Process [is a Process of its Own]).  David and I saw a lot of the movies you’d expect (Wonder Woman, Justice League, Spider-man, Star Wars) and went to a number of the Rock Academy’s other shows (including their fabulous punk and metal shows).

As the New Year wheels forward, I’m back writing, because that’s what I do.  I hope the months to come bring you and yours something good.

Here’s a picture of a happy dog, because why not?

Image may contain: dog and indoor



So:  I went to my doctor this past Thursday for my annual physical, and by the end of the exam had learned I have type 2 diabetes.

If I’m being honest, then looking back over the last eight to ten months, this isn’t the biggest surprise.  During that time, I’ve lost about thirty pounds, without any real effort on my part.  (And this after busting my hump at Tang Soo Do for five and a half years.)  I’ve also been tired pretty much all the time, and have felt genuinely physically awful.  I chalked some of this up to sleep apnea, some to allergies, but I’d also done the Web MD thing, and in addition to a host of horrifying cancers and Scottish sporan rot, had read that diabetes was a possible culprit.  Which isn’t to say that my doctor saying, “Yep, it’s diabetes,” wasn’t a shock, but not an unmitigated one, if you see what I mean.

At the moment, it’s still early days.  I’m checking my blood sugar four times a day and injecting fast-acting insulin when the reading’s too high.  I’m also taking a pill designed, in the words of the pharmacist, to tickle my pancreas.  And of course, my diet has changed, radically.  The good news is, my blood sugar has descended, if slowly, from its Olympian heights.  And I feel better than I have in a long, long time, which is more cheering than I can say.  I’m hoping this might mean I’ll be a bit more productive as a writer, too (I’m looking at you, Ellen Datlow).

I can’t help wanting to include a bit of the public service announcement here:  go to your doctor, take care of yourself, that kind of thing.  This past July, I turned 48, which is the age my father was when he had two heart attacks, one that put him in the hospital, and one shortly after he was admitted.  Even before this doctor’s visit, I was looking over my shoulder, wondering what might be headed my way.  Superstitious, but what are you gonna do?  After his health catastrophe, my dad had ten years to go.  I’m hoping for more.