How was your year? Any resolutions for the New Year? If I may: Finish your book! Or start writing the one you’ve been meaning to. Or write another. Get it done.

What was 2011 like for me and where do I want to go in 2012? Still pondering. Here’s my year in review:

Wrote 2 screenplays, housesat for 2 friends, went to JPW in the spring and a Navy-ND game in the fall, plus London, Kenya, long hours of volunteer work, pitched my novel in NYC, put out another on Smashwords. Thought I had ADD but when I went primal and off grains most of the time, didn’t need drugs, just fish oil and better vitamins. Queried agents and publishers, submitted and entered contests, applied for residencies and very little of it came to anything. Still, I believe in this novel and the screenplays and am not giving up. Was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Started dating, started the Steve Jobs bio, starting realizing I need to spend more time reading and dating. But not at the same time. Stopped going to the gym and got a pullup bar. Helped a friend after her knee surgery then up to see my brother after his liver cancer diagnosis. Had met some of the celebrities who passed, but… no one close to me died this year…. Went to the theater, went to concerts, went to church, heard words of wisdom from one of the wisest, smartest men I’ve ever met in a tiny one near Kibera. Heard nuns at dawn singing like angels. Had lunch with women with profound neurological disorders, fed one named Joy, heard a briefing by human rights attorneys, met an economic anthropologist, walked the slums of Dandora and Kibera, sang and danced and rejoiced with Kenyans and the Masai. For the first – and last – time drank cow blood, tried goat intestine soup and ate brains (not at the same meal because that would be gross! heh) Learned a little Swahili and a few words of Maa. Became an honorary Masai, which was a lot more appealing before they put on the full court press of haggling. Loved the majesty of the Masai Mara in sun and rain. Saw the Big 5 plus endless herds of wildebeests, a shy hyena, ostrich, zebra and giraffe strolling red oat plains, lion cubs playing, a lone vulture above scattered fields of white bones. Had a drink at the Hippo Bar on the Mara and the Library Bar in Hollywood. Finally made it to the top of the Empire State Bldg. Watched revolutions and news of bin Laden’s death and Downton Abby and lots of movies and of course ND football; went to gamewatches & drank a Nutty Irishman while the Irish threw away another game and had a Bloody Mary while the 49ers won. Ignored the Chargers. Made new friends, saw the end of one friend’s marriage and the beginning of another’s. Tailgated for the first time & learned I might have a talent for Flip Cup, but not Beer Pong. Attended my first doctoral dissertation defense and celebrated a wonderful young friend getting his PhD. As usual, it was the best year for some I know and the worst for others. It was, on the whole, one of my better, yet bittersweet years. I was blindsided and disappointed and amazed and complimented and ignored and celebrated. I saw more poverty, more suffering, than I have in a long time, but also more joy and hope right in the middle of it all. Laughed more than perhaps any other year. Went to more parties. Me and mine are healthy and happy.

That is a blessed year.

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