I try to spend as much time being smug, arrogant and self-congratulatory as I do being self-loathing, self-deprecating and self-effacing. Balance is key: the most important lesson learned from Mr. Miyagi.
This post was inspired by that of another blogger, whose stuff I read here all the time. This person picked their ten favorite posts for the year and published the links to give everyone another chance to read them. Their own posts, I should add.
My initial thought was that this was narcissistic and self-serving.
My next thought? Hey, maybe I should do the same thing!
I consider myself to be a fairly prolific blogger. I published 183 posts on WordPress in 2020. For those of you with a numbers-oriented pathology like mine, that’s an average of one post every other day. That’s not how I write them, however. I tend to write in manic clumps, then spread out the publication dates. I write almost every day, I should add, but not all of it appears on the Internet.
Believe it or not, I began posting here as a way to help me break through a prodigious writer’s block. My personal writing, my fiction, still comes slowly and painfully, but I believe that any kind of writing helps keep the mental gears greased and the words flowing.
I have to write. This is something that I’ve known about myself for at least four decades. It’s a compulsion. A disease. An addiction. Yeah, that’s it exactly—an addiction. I’m aware that I have an addictive personality, and that knowledge has been my guide throughout adulthood. But, the urge to write must be the least-harmful of my addictions, right?
183 posts seems like a lot, I guess. I feel I should add that Sharon and I have been in self-imposed exile in central Arkansas since the end of March 2020; I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. However, I published 171 posts in 2019 while working full-time. So, it’s not that many more.
Most of my posts are reviews, you may have noticed. Television series, movies, comic books, music and video games. Sure, when I’m writing these reviews, I tend to include a lot of personal anecdotes and associations. I am incapable of being a dispassionate, objective, professional reporter. I can’t leave the “I” out of my reviews the way we’re supposed to. I don’t want to, either. My personal memoir is also chronicled in my reviews, in part.
I stand by the philosophy that happiness is looking forward to something. But, that happiness gains depth by looking back as well. As my memory deteriorates (and it has: I see evidence of this every day), writing becomes a therapeutic tool as well.
This 10-List does not include any of my reviews. I’m not sure why, except that, since they represent the majority of my posts, I was looking for different when I compiled this list. I occasionally write things that aren’t reviews, it seems.
Now, without further ado, the list:
From January 17, 2020: 1701 (Concerning date formats around the world) | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — This one was about Star Trek (there are a lot of those: you have been warned), but was also about how the USA’s rugged individualism concerning date formats prevents us from celebrating “Star Trek Day” at the same time as our cousins in the UK.
May 21,2020: Route 666: Let Him Who Hath Understanding . . . (Post #666) | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — A self-congratulatory pat-on-the-back about posting my 666th post. Also, a bit about gematria, the Book of Revelation, a cool photo of a goat, and the possibility that Billie Eilish is the Antichrist.
June 22, 2020: The Parts Readers Skip: Too Much Description | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — Here’s where I’m going to cheat a little, as I’m wont to do. This was actually a multi-part series based on writing advice from the late Elmore Leonard, one of my all-time favorite writers. This was the first part. But, the rest can be found at the parts readers skip | Search Results | firewatersite (wordpress.com) if this post piques your interest.
July 16, 2020: Space Is Big (a brief digression about warp drives and similar fictional constructs) | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — This post originated as a bit of tangential thinking while I was writing about Star Trek, of course. It’s about how big space is (it’s really, really big) and how science-fiction creators contrive ways to bypass this reality. It’s also about how science-fiction fans, who are willing to suspend their disbelief to a great degree, still demand consistency in their fictional “reality.”
July 19, 2020: And Now For Something Completely Different: Firewater Offers Up a Poem | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — I am not a poet. This is a disclaimer. But, I love words and appreciate poetic language. Plus, I’m not against creative plagiarism. This is a poem co-written with the late, great Ross Macdonald.
September 1, 2020: More Facts About Words and Phrases Learned While Looking Up Other Things | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — Speaking of loving words. I am an inveterate collector of words and idioms that I find interesting. Sometimes, I share this interest.
September 22, 2020: We Interrupt Your Regular Program with an Armageddon Rant | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — I admit that I let the pandemic get me down. This is what spewed forth.
November 12, 2020: In Memoriam: a belated remembrance of Stan Lee (1922-2018) | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — Two years after the passing of Stan Lee, I wrote my personal eulogy to the man. Yeah, there’s a bit of memoir in there as well.
November 27, 2020: Firefly: a Master Class of Science-Fiction Worldbuilding | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — I’ve warned you that I’ve been known to cheat. This was a two-part study of the wonderful Joss Whedon series Firefly (not a review). You’ll find Part Two here: Firefly: Cast Personae (how to create character-driven science fiction) | firewatersite (wordpress.com)
November 30, 2020: David Prowse: The Man in the Suit — in memoriam | firewatersite (wordpress.com) — Another eulogy for a pop culture icon, this one a little more timely than Stan Lee’s. At the time I wrote it, they hadn’t announced that he was another victim of the pandemic. I write this only because it’s not mentioned in the post. It doesn’t change the overall tone or substance of the piece. I actually met Mr. Prowse once.
That’s it for my 2021 inaugral 10-List. One final look back before forging ahead.
Happy New Year, Everybody!