The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

by J.D. Rhoades

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to retake History 11 in summer school.”

-Graffitti on the wall of a Chapel Hll, NC library rest room.


 In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of gates, doorways, beginnings and endings. He’s most often depicted as having two faces, one facing forward, the other looking back. His most obvious influence on our culture is in the name of the upcoming month, after the New Year begins at midnight Friday.

Some people recommned that we spend  New Years Eve and Day as a time for reflection on the year just past and resolutions for the year ahead. But let’s face it, those particular days are often pretty hectic, and the ony real resolution a lot of us can make on January 1st is “Well, I’m certainly never going to drink THAT again.” So I generally use the other days in the dead zone between Christmas and New Year’s for that purpose.

Looking back at the year gone by…well, it’s been a hell of a year for us here at Murderati,  in both the good and bad senses for that word. Some of us lost loved ones, some of us had career setbacks. Some of us saw things that looked like they were going to be awesome turn out to be…not so much. But some of us had things happen to us that WERE pretty awesome.

For instance, I saw a book I’d really put a lot of myself into, the book I’d been thinking about doing for a long time and finally got up the nerve to write, get passed on by just about everyone, always with that infuriating “This is a really good book, but…” response. It shook me, I confess. The recession continued to hammer my business hard, just as I’m sure it did many of you.

On the other hand, I saw my son graduate from high school, get into the college he wanted, and overcome his own serious anxieties and fears to the point where he’s thriving, and (if I may be permitted a little bragging) he nailed a 4.0 average.

And…I wrote another book, which as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, is out on submission. To quote Steve McQueen in the movie Papillon: “I’m still here, you bastards.” 

2010 was, like every year, the best of times and the worst of times.  So ‘Rati, share with us, if you feel so inclined: what  were your best and worst times of  2010?


29 thoughts on “The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

  1. PK the Bookeemonster

    Your accomplishments are terrific, JD! Your work and your son.
    For me, 2010 was infinitely better than my 2009. In my 2010 I had employment the entire year (after 2009 I appreciate that a lot) and I started my crime fiction newsletter, Premeditated. A low period during the year made me start the newsletter so there's an example of good following not-so-good. It's having a slow start with a hiccup at Bcon but I'm hoping 2011 will bring more subscribers and in the meantime I'm enjoying doing it which for any venture is probably more than half the battle.
    I like celebrating the New Year — there's nothing political, national, or religious about it and it affects everyone pretty much across the board (unless you're living in an alternate space/time thing). Happy New Year everyone!

  2. Alafair Burke

    I won't mention the low point but the high points were special moments with my friends and family, the support of my readers when 212 came out, and, to come, our 5th anniversary on New Years.

  3. Barbie

    Best time was going to the US on vacation in October. It'd been two and a half years since I'd been there and I missed it.

    Worst of times was September, and I'll just leave it at that. December kinda sucked, too. Yippie, it's almost over.

  4. Debbie

    2010 is not a year I will bookmark, but because there is a positive in everything, it is the year I discovered an amazing group of authors who give of themselves in honest, humourous, informative and caring ways. Thanks Murderati and may the best of this year carry forward while the rest is left behind.

  5. Allison Brennan

    I'm proud of your son! I have one daughter with social anxiety and I'm so proud of the strides she's made to overcome it.

    I don't like New Years Resolutions. This year has been full of ups and downs for me, too. The agent hunt wasn't as fun or easy as I thought. While that was a low-point (leaving my agent and searching for a new one, and getting rejected a few times in the process) in the end it turned out better than I thought.

  6. JD Rhoades

    PK: congrats on a good year! How do I subscribe to the newsletter?

    Alafair: Happy Anniversary! And here's to many more.

    Barbie: stop by anytime. We'll leave the light on for you.

    Debbie: it's been a joy meeting you, too :-).

    Allison: so glad the hunt was successful in the end. I wish you much success in the new Year!

  7. Martyn Lewis

    2010 wasn't too bad for me, I got a new job that enabled me to quit the living hell that was my old one, I discovered some fantastic new authors and had another fantastic time at the Harrogate Crime writing festival

  8. Rae

    Happy new year to everyone, and hope your 2011 rocks….

    High point of 2010 for me was surviving Bouchercon, and getting generally positive feedback about it.

    It wasn't really a low point, but work was tough this year. My firm was bought by another company last December, so I had to spend time navigating the new environment and trying to create new relationships, and figuring out the new politics. All of which was complicated by the fact I had no time for my day job this year (see Bouchercon above 😉

  9. Kim C

    2010 was an uneventful year for me, and though that sounds nice enough, I really don't do 'uneventful' well. Looking back upon the year and feeling as though everything it exactly as it was last year at this time always leaves me feeling as though I'm sleepwalking through life. Generally speaking, I go through this realization process on my birthday, in August, but I seem to be going through it twice this year. I believe a change is in order. Which is precisely why I'll be meditating on New Year's. It's about time I figured out what that change is to be.

  10. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Yo, Duster…it's been a roller-coaster. Mostly good, I'd say. The best is that my wife and I and the kids are closer than we've ever been. We're a tight-knit group and there's a lot of love flowin'. And it doesn't get any better than that.
    Congratulations to you and your son – I've never seen a 4.0 grade point average, except in the movies.

  11. toni mcgee causey

    Yay, Dusty, congrats to your son! And to you, for picking yourself up and writing another awesome book. I know it's going to do well. It's too damned good not to.

    This past year had horrible moments (lost my father-in-law) and amazing moments (landed only-in-your-dreams contracts in the construction biz) and wonderful, peaceful moments (getting to write the book I wanted, the way I wanted, with enthusiasm and cheering from my agent). I think one of the better things I've found this year is balance and a way to ignore the melodrama when it goes on around me.

  12. MJ

    I'm happy to move forward from 2010. Nothing genuinely terrible, but a really rough year at work and two scary car accidents. Enough! Though now that I've passed out of the worst at work I'm tougher (even tougher, I should say) and more focused on "my" work going forward. So ultimately good (and with the car accidents, hm – I got to ride home in the back of a state police car after one, and that was cool – he even put on the light for me to see how fast other motorists would get out of the way!!!).

  13. Sylvia

    JD – agree that 2010, like all years, has ups and downs – some higher and lower for each person. May 2011 bring the unexpected for you in the most surprising and positive way.

    I think I'll use the quote "I'm still here, you bastards" as my 2011 mantra. Love it!

  14. Zoë Sharp

    hi dusty

    congrats on your son's achievements, and on your own. keep the faith!

    this year's had its ups and downs, but i'm trying to develop a kipling-esque attitude to triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.

    health luck and happiness in 2011

  15. JD Rhoades

    Martyn: congrats on the new job! I know how good it feels to get out of a hellish job situation.

    Rae: likewise, glad things seem to be settling down at yours…and I'm really sorry now that I missed B'con.

    Kim: Heh. I guess it's a matter of persepctive. Uneventful might have been a blessing.

  16. JD Rhoades

    Stephen: Roller coaster us right. But I'm glad it was mostly good, and that it drew you closer to your family. A lot of times, too many in fact, it goes the other way.

    Toni: from your lips to God's ear, darlin'.

    MJ: two car accidents!? Yipe! But trust you to find a silver lining in getting to ride in the cop car 🙂

  17. JD Rhoades

    Sylvia: my wife is adamantly against me getting a tattoo, but I'm seriously thinking of getting "I'm still here you bastards" engraved on my chest. Anyone know how to say it in Latin?

    Zoe: thank you, for everything. And may the impostors not fool either of us.

  18. Reine

    Hi JD, Happy New Year.

    Low point: Getting fucked over by former wheelchair provider who took the Medicare and insurance money and never ordered the chair; having to wait to reapply with new provider; AND almost ONE YEAR LATER redo all the doctor and physical therapist evaluations.

    High point:
    Discovering the Murderati community.

  19. Alexandra Sokoloff

    A long time ago, in China, there was a farmer who had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console him – such a terrible loss. The farmer said, "Maybe so, maybe not."

    A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors were excited. Such lovely strong horses! Such good fortune! The farmer said, "Maybe so, maybe not."

    A short time later, the farmer's son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, "Maybe so, maybe not."

    Soon after that, a war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer's son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on his great fortune. The farmer said, "Maybe so, maybe not."

    I appreciate the question, but for now, like the farmer, I'll reserve judgment on 2010, and just wish everyone at Murderati enduring and unambiguous good fortune in 2011. (THANK GOD).

  20. Reine

    JD, best on your son. Wow a 4 point! Never in my life did I get a 4 point, except the term I only did one course.

  21. J.D. Rhoades

    Reine, that wheelchair fiasco really and truly sucks. May the fleas from a thousand camels infest that wheelchair provider's undershorts. Glad it got sorted, and glad you're here.

    Alex, Pari…good point. Who knows what'll come out of all this…and just as no man's biography should be written till he's dead, there's no way to judge the old year till it's well and truly gone.

    And thanks for all the good wishes.

    Happy New Year, y'all.

  22. Laura

    A high point of 2010 was finding this community – my morning tea breaks are infinitely more interesting now.
    A low point was being dumped by my boyfriend of nearly four years.
    But hey, you never know what's going to happen in 2011 🙂
    Happy New Year – and I love the quote and I am all for the tattoo! :p

  23. Sylvia

    JD – in looking at the various translation tools,

    "Hey you bastards, I'm still here."

    in Latin would be:

    Heus tu adulteri I'm etiam hic

  24. KDJames

    Thanks, Alex. I knew there was a reason I don't have a horse. Or live in China.

    JD, both my kids have now successfully graduated from college and I know what a HUGE accomplishment it is just to get through that first freshman semester alive, let alone with a 4.0 GPA. Wow. I am seriously impressed with your son and very happy for you and your wife.

    Like everyone else, I had my share of good and bad in 2010, though much of my suffering was due to the fact that the bad was inflicted on people I care about, present company included. But I've never been one to dwell on the past. Every new day is a blank slate and we can choose to be active or passive in the ways it unfolds, sometimes both in the same day. Whatever works.

    My current goal is to live each day fully focused in the present, getting through it with no regrets. Although I'm seriously considering setting a new goal of starting each new day by throwing open a window and shouting: "Hey, you bastards, I'm still here!"

  25. Reine

    JD, thanks! The Murderati have been really fantastic in their curse making on my behalf! Has completely cheered me up. <3

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