Musings

Not Really A Review of Not Really A Year

my year was deathly dull, which in 2020 counts as a good year

As I’ve written here many times before, being able to have spent 2020 bored out of my mind was a position of privilege.

Neither I nor any of my close people have become sick/dead or made dangerously poorer by the pandemic’s first full calendar year (many people I know, of course, have become somewhat poorer), and this is, again, something I know I am lucky to be able to say.

The big question, though: what happened to scott manley hadley in 2020? Alas, not much.

The online magazine I did some editing for closed down due to a sexual harassment scandal, which wasn’t fun. I think a couple of the online literary types I was online literary friends with before stopped interacting with me after I chose to condemn the harasser, which is pretty gross tbh. That was Spring!

What else?

Well, yeah, all the COVID stuff.

Losing work, finding work again; having leisure activities cancelled, watching a lot of incredible cinema thanks to my MUBI subscription; not being able to go on the trip to Mexico I’d been frothily planning for years, spending time in some beautiful, driveable parts of rural Ontario; and – of course the new James Bond film was postponed, a tragedy that has no equivalent positive.

I didn’t drunkenly disgrace myself all year, which I suppose is a positive, though doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve maintained a (physically) healthy level of drinking.

I’ve cooked a lot. I’ve started baking pies recently (I will bake another pie tomorrow: savoury, of course, I haven’t been totally broken by this sugar-crazed continent). I baked bread a few times, back in the first lockdown.

Fucking hell this is dull reading.

Obviously, I had my new (second – by my count, tho arguably fourth) book published, the pleasure of regret – please please please buy, and had a third book picked up for publication late next year. These are good things. I know that. But, still, I’d like it if my work was more widely read: that matters more than the potential of earning cash from book sales, which won’t be happening any time soon.

I didn’t do any writing for money this year, at all: no hot takes, no copywriting, no proceeds from any of the other books.

I had much less poetry and prose published than the last couple of years, too: 2020 was not a year that filled me with inspiration and/or drive or energy. Perhaps, though, if I’d spent less time finalising the manuscript of the pleasure of regret and less time editing the manuscript of my next book I submitted earlier in the year, then maybe I’d have written new poems. That isn’t true, though, as I handed in that manuscript fucking months ago and I’ve written basically nothing since. I stopped writing regularly at about the same time as the gyms closed again, which offers pretty powerful evidence regarding the mental benefit of exercise.

I haven’t been updating triumphofthenow.com as much as I like to, though that hasn’t stopped 2020 from being the best ever year for unique views (lol), even if that hasn’t translated into the receipt of weird, free, sizeable donations I used to regularly receive a few years ago.

Anything else? I bought a Nintendo Switch (maybe this has impacted my poetry production?) and I rode on a jet ski for the first time, so I suppose that’s the year’s highlight. Of course, I read many many phenomenal books. That’s a given.

It wasn’t much of a year.

It was the first calendar year since – I think – 2004 that I didn’t cross an international border. I didn’t even visit a different province in Canada. But, again, normalised international travel is something I was privileged to be able to do, and will likely become harder now the racists and disaster capitalists have successfully pariahed my native – and ever-increasingly pandering-to-scum – UK.

What will happen (to me) next year?

I don’t know.

Will it be better than this year? I hope so. But 2020 wasn’t the worst year I’ve ever had, and for me to return to the depths of my deepest worst times, I’d need more cruelty to be deliberately and constantly directed scottmanleyhadleywards. Yes, it all comes down to me.

This isn’t much of a review because this wasn’t much of a year.

I really really really hope I get to do more things, in the future, that I regret.

This year, I only regret things I haven’t done, and not doing regrettable things is much less fun than doing regrettable things.

Christ, I feel like I sound like a bore. I feel like a bore.

What a pointless year. What a pointless post. What a pointless, pointless, pointless thing it is to be alive, all told.

Sorry, this seems maudlin.

I’m fine. I’m on lots of medication. I didn’t make any friends this year. I didn’t spend much time talking to the friends I made before, back when I made friends. Eurgh.

Bye bye bye bye bye 2020.

At least I can guarantee the following for myself in the new year to come: More books and more being sad.

Teehee.

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