2019 has been a year of many firsts. To that end, it’s been a rather successful year for me. More than that, I feel like it’s been a very busy year; I think I’ve had something to look forward to nearly every month, which is novel but welcome! I didn’t do this type of reflective post for 2018, but I think this year it’s much needed, as so much happened that I definitely need to process it somewhere.
So, in chronological order:
★ In January, I attended the ARL Leadership Institute in Seattle, as part of my fellowship from the Association of Research Libraries. There were various panels about working in libraries, diversity in libraries, professional development, and networking. In all it was a stressful three days but delightful as well; I met a wonderful cohort of fellow librarians, who are still a professional support group to this day, and I got to explore Seattle.
★ At the ARL Institute, I was also rejected by Fulbright, which I was surprisingly fine with. The accomplishment, however, lies in the Fulbright application process itself; in writing my essay statements, I came to understand myself and my interests a lot better. This probably warrants a whole post on its own, but let’s just say I finally embraced my love for all things Gothic and Victorian.
★ In February, I got new bookshelves. And put them together all on my own. This probably doesn’t need to be an accomplishment, but I had been wanting (needing) new bookshelves for years and years, and I finally got the lovely BILLY shelves from Ikea, which is step one in having all-white bedroom furniture.
★ In April, I went to Chicago for the ARL Research Library visit. Again, as part of my fellowship, we visited the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University to speak with their librarians. Each visit was a full day, and I got a chance to explore Chicago for hours on the first day I arrived. Tried deep dish pizza, not a fan.
★ In May, after about eight months of querying, I signed with a literary agent! It felt incredible to be done with such a major hurdle in the publishing process. I still have yet to post the obligatory ~how I got my agent~ post, but hopefully sometime next year I shall.
★ Later in May, I graduated from library school! I wrote a whole post about this so I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say it was wonderful to finally be done with grad school after four years and two Masters degrees.
★ In June, I took my mom up to Vermont! Honestly, getting her out of the house and traveling qualifies as an accomplishment; she loves going places but is always stressing about money we don’t have, so she rarely treats herself. We saw some beautiful new places and had some fun times.
★ Later in June, I attended the ALA Spectrum Institute and ALA Annual in Washington DC. I was an American Libraries Association Spectrum Scholar for 2019, and the scholarship included attendance at ALA Annual. The Spectrum Leadership Institute was much like the ARL Institute, and ALA Annual was a huge, overwhelming conference, but I’m glad I got to experience it.
★ I started a physical scrapbook. This definitely qualifies as an accomplishment; you see, I’ve always had so many bits and bobs lying around covered in dust, and I never knew what to do with them, or how to properly store them. I also had dozens of empty notebooks lying around, useless, and so I thought, hey, here’s an idea! I’ll make an actual scrapbook! So every paper or print that I want to keep, I simply stick in the scrapbook, and I can flip through it whenever I like. This way, I preserve precious memories in a way that doesn’t have them collecting dust.
★ Around this time, I realized I would never be a paper journal kind of person, and I…went back to using Livejournal. I don’t really know why I ever officially “quit” it in the first place? I put up this artificial self-imposed restriction on myself that meant nothing at all, and as I continued to lurk on Livejournal and couldn’t bring myself to delete, I just went back to journaling there. I post far, far less frequently than I used to, but it’s still nice to have a somewhat private space on the internet to just sort of freely journal and rant.
★ I went to California! A road trip along the California coast has always been on my lifelong bucket list, and in July, I made this a reality! I went with three friends; we rented a car and just drove from San Francisco down to Los Angeles, with plenty of stops along the way. It was an absolutely incredible trip, well worth the money, and it met every single one of my expectations (well, LA was kind of a disappointment, but that was bound to happen).
★ On August 17th, I started the keto diet — and I am still on it until this day! Nobody in my life believed I would last a week on keto, and yet it’s been four months! I’ve lost 25 pounds so far, but more importantly, my cholesterol and triglycerides have gone down. Being on keto sucks a lot of the time, and it’s utterly miserable when traveling, but for the most part it’s doable, and I get to eat all the cheese I want, and I do feel healthier all around.
★ I had 4 phone interviews, 2 in-person interviews, and 1 full-length virtual interview, which resulted in a work from home librarian job! I start in February, and I’m just…beyond excited. The whole thing still feels surreal.
★ I made a very good friend at work! I don’t think I’ve made a real friend since…I don’t know. Years? Have I ever made a friend entirely on my own? I honestly don’t think so. I invited her out to coffee and we just hit it off, and it’s been wonderful having a work buddy.
★ I finished a novella! I’ve never written or even conceived of writing a novella before, but this idea came to me and I knew it was far too long for a short story but would never be a novel, so novella was the only thing left! I’d always avoided novellas for some reason, but I’ve been exposed to so many fantasy novellas recently that I’ve realized they’re kind of a staple of the genre, and they’re awesome because not every idea needs to be forcefully stretched out into a novel. It’s a great medium for exploring those halfway sort of ideas that wouldn’t quite fill up 60K words but wouldn’t work as a short story either. And they’re publishable, in fantasy!