Is it me or has 2009 started off on the wrong foot?
I know we're bound to feel a little down after the holidays, what with all of their magic, the time with family, the spirit of generosity in the air — so it's only natural to miss that when it's gone for another year.
But in the two short weeks since 2009 began, here are some of the things that have happened that have completely bummed me out:
Donald Westlake died. Donald freakin' Westlake. The man who inspired me to be a writer. Okay, technically he died in 2008 (New Year's Eve), but I didn't find out about it until '09. And boy do I regret never getting the chance to meet him — which seemed an impossibility a few years ago, but not so much these last couple, now that I'm in "the business." He will be missed.
My wife's uncle died. He was coughing on New Year's Day and a few days later he was in the hospital, then we got the call that he had passed. Quite sudden and very sad. A man who loved to fish and always seemed to be happy.
A friend's relative was arrested for a major crime, which, of course, has had a negative and heartbreaking impact on the entire family.
Another friend's son was arrested. One of a parent's many fears, so it certainly sent chills through me. Not that I'd ever expect my kids to be arrested, but I'm sure my friend didn't either.
And the worst of all is that my wife had a medical scare. The kind every woman fears.
So 2009 hasn't been shaping up too well at all and I've been feeling a bit depressed.
But because I'm a guy who tries to look on the bright side (I can hear Brett laughing as I write this), I'm trying to concentrate on the good things that have happened or are about to happen:
My wife got news today that the scare was baseless, merely a glitch that reexamination cleared up. So it truly was simply a scare. Not the kind you'd ever want to go through, but fortunately all is well.
Brett Battles and I did an appearance last Friday at the Huntington Beach Library, and if laughter and books sales is an indication of people having a good time, then we must've kicked ass.
I've got two — count 'em, two — books coming out this year after a long, long wait. WHISPER IN THE DARK drops the first week of February and KILL HER AGAIN will be released the first week of July.
I've been approached about participating in a new project that I can't talk about at the moment, but looks like it could be a lot of fun if it all works out.
And did I mention my wife's medical scare was baseless? That alone makes 2009 a great year.
And as I look around at my small part of the world and my place in it, I have to say that I am truly blessed. I'm healthy, there are people who love me, and despite these bad economic times, I'm not doing too bad. So far, at least.
So, honestly, I've got nothing to complain about. There are folks out there who would look at my life and envy me for what I have, so I should probably shut my mouth right now.
But you have to admit, 2009 has been off to a shaky start for many of those around me. Hopefully that's changing.
How's yours shaping up so far?