I’m writing this as the sun is literally setting on 2016. In a way, we’re some of the last people to say goodbye to 2016 in the United States, aside from Hawaii, that is, as we’re ringing in the new year in a cozy little house just outside of Newport, Oregon, in small community known as Otter Rock. A bit of an impromptu trip, but as we had no plans for New Year’s Eve we thought a couple quiet days enjoying the moody winter weather here on the coast would be a fun change of pace. The shot above was from this morning, when it was bright and clear on the beach, but now the gray skies have moved in, along with a light drizzle. (You can just make out Yaquina Lighthouse on the point.) The fickle weather on the Oregon coast, far from being a drawback, is part of what we love about it.
I have mixed feelings about 2016. On one hand, I think you’d have to be an oblivious idiot not to be concerned about recent trends, both here in my own country and abroad. The rise of nationalist, immigrant-fearing political parties, the never-ending scourge of war, the refugee crisis, cyber espionage, climate change, and just a general turn toward selfishness and fear on a global scale is quite troubling.
On a more personal front, things are going well. In fact, the depressing political season had an unexpected upside. I got so fed up how all the toxic flotsam online was infecting my mind that I made a commitment to become something of an Internet Minimalist, striving to go online only with intention and purpose, and almost never just for something to do. This hasn’t only resulted in a much improved state of mind, but it’s also opened up all kinds of creative energy that I think was bit stymied and dissipated on trivial things. I’d been trying to reduce my online time for a while but this time it really stuck. It’s wonderfully liberating, as long as you accept that you don’t need to be fully wired-in to everything happening in the world every moment of every day. It will still be there waiting for you when you’re ready for it. I highly recommend it. If nothing else, do what I did and follow the advice of a good friend who suggested doing a complete Internet fast for a week to see how it affects your mood. That really made things clear to me.
On the update front, progress on the new Garrison Gage novel goes well, and it should be out early 2017. Hope all is well going into the new year for you and yours.