2014 Retrospective

2014 Retrospective

2014 was a year of words. The first of many to come, I hope. I wrote every day of this last year. Every single day, without exception. As I look back on last year, that’s the first thing that I see and I’m enormously proud of that.

That said, I do find the task of retrospect-ing on 2014 a rather daunting task. Quite simply, so much happened last year, I don’t really know where to begin. The beginning, I suppose.

They year started off with a visit from Ryan right after the new year. I remember playing golf with him and Nikolai, and I remember watching Academy Award nominee movies while he was here. “August Osage County” and “12 Years a Slave” to be precise. I remember liking “August” and a meh on “12 Years.” I remember that Liz wasn’t super crazy about either of them.

I remember having dinner at Red Medicine with Nikolai when Ryry was still in town and getting a banh mi.

I also remember hanging with Nikolai on his birthday; we showed up to this restaurant/bar in WeHo and when they wouldn’t let us sit down, we just went down the street and had tacos. Nikolai’s birthday has been the first social event of the year for the past few years. Nice tradition I think.

It was right around that time that I got sick for the first time. Yes, there were multiple times. I was out of commission work-wise for over a week. I remember feeling very frustrated about that.

I remember then getting sick about a week and a half later *again*, and again missing about 10 days or so of work.

I remember the winter Olympics starting, and watching them with the Ho. I also remember going over to Ali’s house to watch the opening ceremony and being sick still, and tired.

I remember researching and outlining for my Icarus pilot foooorrreeeeevvveeeerrrr…and then finally feeling like I just needed to freaking write the damn thing without a full outline. Which I did.

I remember when my mom got word from the insurance company that she’d won her appeal, and when she’d nailed down her surgery date with the doctors. March 10th, 2014.

I remember writing, and rewriting the beginning to my short story “The Searcher” before ditching in for my pilot script.

I remember switching banks to join First Entertainment, and I love it there.

I remember discovering Spotify, and that shit changing my freaking life in every way.

I remember really REALLY struggling to get writing done in those early months. I had “writing days” on which I was getting no writing done…

I remember going to the driving range with Liz for Valentine’s day and showing her how to hit a golf ball. It was her first time at a driving range, and it was super spontaneous.

I remember going to the WGA Foundation event on all the oscar-nominated screenwriters.

I remember struggling with my blog and the plug-ins that post to the social media sites, a struggle that lasted throughout the year, in fact, and never really got solved.

I remember deciding that I needed to write an hour a day…every day. I remember how hard that was to stick to for a very long time…

I remember being so very, very behind with editing work before going up to the Bay for my mom’s surgery, and coming back afterwards even further behind.

I remember the tacos that we ate in my parents’ trailer in Palo Alto the night before her surgery. It was the last solid food that she would eat for four or five months.

I remember the morning of her surgery, the waiting, the thumbs up from the doctor afterwards, and then seeing her in the ICU post-op. She was so swollen and bloodied, it made both me and my dad cry just from shock, seeing her like that.

I remember driving every day to see her in the hospital in the morning, by myself, and then again in the evenings with my dad. Through the campus with its kind of random fields and weirdly sparse trees. Listening to 95.7 the Game talk about the NFL draft.

I remember trying to watch a couple A’s spring training games, without much success.

I remember trying to get work done after my mom came home (and even before), and not being able to focus.

I remember walking around in the cold night with my mom on my arm once she got released from the hospital (she went from iffy to ready to leave in the span of 12 hours there, she wanted to come home), making sure she didn’t lose her footing.

I remember her waking up the very first morning she’d come home and making coffee for my dad, she felt so good and rested. And, I remember she slept that night without snoring…at all.

I remember the syringes we used to give her the medication and to feed her. Figuring out how much of what to give her at any given time, trying to make sure the pain didn’t creep up on her too bad.

I remember her rubber bands breaking, and us kind of freaking out, but the doctors telling us it was fine.

I remember the surgeon following up with her, and saying he was very happy with the result. My mom cried when she said thank you to him.

I remember the daily trips to get groceries and drugs from the pharmacy when my dad came home from work and could watch my mom. I remember that Mott’s Kids apple juice was a hit because it was so much less sweet than regular Mott’s. I remember the food and drug journal that we kept to make sure she was eating enough calories, and taking her meds on time. I remember thinking about how this was all a kind of preview of things to come later in life.

I remember coming home, and Cooper racing across the garage and attacking my face with kisses like he had though I had died and suddenly come back to life.

I remember realizing that I’d been so stressed out about my mom’s surgery, that I’d been clenching my teeth hard enough to make it excruciatingly painful to eat. I thought it was something that happened with my mouthguard at night, but it wasn’t. As soon as I came home and my mom was recovering, the pain went away.

I remember driving up to the Bay, and back from the Bay listening to the audiobook Mindhunter, which was about serial killers.

I remember setting myself a two and a half month schedule of three days on of editing work with two days off, and feeling so nervous I wouldn’t be able to hang with it…and then I did and feeling so freaking accomplished. I caught myself up completely.

I remember when I first discovered that I could put Netflix on in the background while I worked and not get completely distracted…this was a GAMECHANGER. An entirely new incentive to, you know, actually sit down and do work. The first thing I “listened to” was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan…naturally.

I remember the dog we saw in K-Town on our way to see Kihong, and the family in the launder-mat that said it wasn’t theirs, and then when we were about to throw up our hands and just take the dog with us, they said it *was* theirs.

I remember opening week of the Baseball season for the A’s, which started with a rain storm that ruined a couple games.

I remember attending the “First Draft to Feature” symposium that the WGA Foundation did, and coming home feeling more than ever that I just needed to keep writing.

I remember when Rocky, Liz’s family dog and a sweet, sweet boy passed away on the night of the Blood Moon. She was up north for the event, and it was very, very sad. We still miss him.

I remember finally letting go of the idea that my pilot script needed to be perfect the first time around…and setting a pages-per-day kind of goal. It worked. A month later, I had my first draft. FINALLY.

I remember deciding that I needed to listen to Classical music on spotify, figure out what all that rukus was really about. I learned I love the Romantic composers.

I remember when the Ralph’s down the street from us FINALLY opened and walking to get groceries changed my freaking life.

I remember watching Game of Thrones at Abbey’s house.

I remember realizing what the words “enjoy the process” actually mean…which is focusing on the present, making yourself happy RIGHT NOW, and not putting that off. It all started with this Alan Watts lecture, animated by the South Park boys…

I remember square dancing with the Ho. That was so much fun, and it meant so much to her that we *finally* actually did it together.

I remember buying Scott’s single-ply toilet paper by accident, and then us using that shit out of spite for like, two months. IT NEVER ENDED and it was so scratchy…

I remember listening to Iggy Azalea’s fully album on the Ho’s birthday, heading out to Malibu for wine tasting a picnic. We got drunk, sobered up in the sun, it was awesome.

I remember rediscovering the phrase “Do Less More Often” and it *finally* making sense to me. It was the key to everything I ever wanted.

I remember finding human poo on the steps of my apartment building…TWICE.

I remember the first dance rehearsal we had with Abbey for our surprise choreographed dance at our wedding. It was AWESOME doing that, meeting basically once a week for three and a half months at Millennium dance studio and pretending like I could dance. It was a blast.

I remember Liz getting into using Blue Apron, and how freaking delicious her cooking is.

I remember the first day that I worked out with Matt to get myself into shape for the wedding, and almost puking my guts out I was so out of shape. It was also 100 degrees that day.

I remember the early summer evening that we walked with the Coops on a whim over to Joe and Madhuri’s house to find them outside playing rummy on their card table.

I remember when I finally found hot dogs, REAL hot dogs at Ralph’s. With the crunchy natural casings.

I remember when I decided to watch Deep Space Nine from season 4 onward while I worked. I remembered how much I really did love that show, and I remember how sad I felt when it finally ended.

June 5th. That was the day that the first draft of my Pilot script was finally finished. Big day.

I remember my monthly challenge to post an Instagram photo every day in June. That was awesome. I should do it again…

I remember getting so many zits in my nose this year for the first time ever in my life. So random! They sucked ass!

I remember going home for the engagement party up in Humboldt, seeing my mom again for the first time since her surgery, square dancing, playing catch with Seth Brian and Cody…and I remember it was a lot of driving, too 😛 I remember walking in the Humboldt Bay Nature Sanctuary with my aunt Susan, her family, and my cousin Jeremy.

I remember Cooper barking every time we hooted and hollered when we were square dancing.

I remember subscribing to Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

I remember seeing Ira Glass in Royce Hall at UCLA with Liz, and both of us being totally blown away with how good that show was, and then going on a whim to Pit Fire Pizza for food afterwards. I remember she was so skeptical about that choice and how far away it was, but afterwards, we both agreed it was a genius idea.

I remember having jury duty, and starting my novel on my brother Russell’s birthday.

I remember struggling with writing 3 pages a day at first on the novel.

I remember 4th of July with Dayna and Matty, and feeling good about all the working out that I’d done, that it was working.

I remember that I forgot Russell’s birthday, and feeling very, very guilty about that…

I remember going to the WGA Foundation symposium on TV writing…

I remember going down to the OC with the Ho to get her ring appraised, and pick out my ring. Then, going down several weeks later to pick it up, only to have it be the wrong size and need to drive down again a couple weeks after that.

July 23rd, the day that I got the idea for my next pilot script.

I remember my mom getting her iPad and FaceTiming with her.

I remember Comicon, with near-disaster in that our hotel reservation had never been confirmed, the industry party where we met new friends and stood 12 inches away from Lil Jon, and all the writing panels that we went to.

I remember the Ho starting her Youtube channel and really starting to do it in earnest around that time.

I remember helping my mom, well Liz really helping her, find a dress for the wedding, and getting a make-over hairdo from Felicia.

I remember Liz shooting her Lifetime movie right before we left for our wedding.

I remember when Robin Williams died.

I remember starting Voyager in mid August as the new show to play in the background while I worked.

I remember getting my suit tailored and how freaking dope that shit looked. I was so excited.

I remember my bachelor party, which the boys had completely planned out for me and I had no idea what we were doing. I will *always* remember that weekend with Scott, Seth, Joe, Ryan and Nikolai. One of the best weekends of my life. Makes me tear up just thinking about it. Phil came by for the A’s game, they’d rented a part suite, then it was a strip club that night where my brother disappeared for like two hours up stairs for a private session, we played golf the next day, and the house they rented was amazing. It was an amazing weekend.

I remember all the vet visits with the Coops to get his paperwork in order for the trip to Hawaii.

I remember the 4-game series at the end of August that killed the A’s once and for all. The “special season” was sadly over…and we limped to the finish line.

I remember video blogging along with the written blog for every day in September. That was really fun, and perfect since it was our wedding month…I should do it again…

I remember flying out to Hawaii, Coops being a champ on the plane. We gave him greenies to chew on during take-off and landing. I remember how hot it was when we landed, and how nice our rental car was. I remember the sunsets, the welcome BBQ, the wedding, my family and all my friends being there, drinks at Andaz the first night everyone was in town, all the morning walks with the Coops, golf with Ryan…it was freaking magical. Being married to the woman I love was the best part, hands-down. I love you bear!

I remember coming home from the wedding and not being able to work again for two weeks. I just couldn’t put it together.

I remember adopting Coco after seeing another dog a few days before, and how she pooped, pee’d, and threw up in the span of about 10 mintues…but we could tell that she was the dog for us anyway.

I remember still struggling in October, and finally finding my groove again about mid-way through, which kicked off another two and a half month stretch of 3-days-on-2-days-off.

I remember the A’s losing the wild card game in wild fashion, ending a very frustrating season.

I remember the first time that Coco and Coops played in the workout room.

I remember finding my groove again with writing, and adjusting the font size so that 3 pages a day for 100 days would actually get me to the word count that I needed.

I remember continuing to struggle with getting my editing work done, and reseting my schedule over and over again, until finally towards the end, I just needed to work as many editing days as I possibly could to close out the year.

I remember hitting 365 on my blog in the middle of struggling with work, and being behind on my writing…but I also remember that propelling my into November which ended up being perhaps the single most productive month of my entire life.

I remember the Excel lessons saving my ass over and over again, going by so quickly that I was able to make up ground on my work.

I remember Liz’s parents coming for Thanksgiving, and I remember playing Cards Against Humanity with Kristen and Arg and Derrick and Gary.

I remember finishing Voyager, and deciding to watch the first 3 seasons of DS9 for the rest of the year, which I still haven’t finished.

I remember in the last few days before leaving for Christmas, getting near-to or over 50 minutes of editing done in a single day three times.

I remember finishing my novel on December 22nd.

I remember Christmas morning with Liz’s family, and us all taking a walk together before we left to go up north.

I remember Christmas as my parents’ on the 25th going till 1am, and going the next day to the shelter to look at dogs with them. They should finally get their dog this coming Wednesday.

I remember seeing Ryan’s house, and spending the night the day before New Years, and I remember how nice my bed felt on New Years Eve once we got home.

And there was so much more that happened! Reading through all those posts, I’m continually struck at how work-obsessed I really am. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that 90% of the entries were mostly about editing and writing…but the fact that SO MUCH of that was indeed actually about *writing* was a huge, huge win.

I also did so many more things than just work last year, more than ever before in my life, really. Hawaii, Comicon, Bachelor party, live theater, adopting a new dog, golfing…it was an amazing, amazing year.

Perhaps it’s that the holidays are so closely behind me, but I’m also struck at how important my family is to me. How grateful I am to have a mom who’s reclaiming her health, my brothers, my in-laws, my pups, and my beautiful amazing wife. I am my happiest when they are around, that’s for sure.

It was also a major year of self-discovery. I re-discovered how much I love writing prose fiction, and I also discovered that I *can*, in fact, do less more often and get so much more done that way than any other way I’ve ever tried to attack my creativity. I also found in that, the joy of creating my happiness in the present, the right now, and truly enjoy the process of my work…which is really enjoying my life, as it happens. The peace and happiness that can bring is incredible, and something I wish to continue to try and find in my life.

It is my sincere hope that these lessons I’ve learned and achievements I’ve reached this year can elevate me to the next level, which is to start working with some professionals, so I can learn from them in addition to plugging away, each and every day, a little bit at a time, gathering that storm of creativity. I have so much more to share, and the daily output is the key to all of that.

This entry is far less emotional this year. Writing this journal every day has normalized that, I suppose. This exercise of retreading the past to prepare for the future has done what it needed to do, however. I feel ready to move on. To make new goals, and reach new heights. To live in the here and now in order to accomplish it, and to put myself out there. That’s the major goal this new year, I suppose. To take my work, and put it out into the world. Yet another scary hurdle to overcome. And it will be all on these pages, like all of 2014 was.

Guys, I wrote a freaking BOOK in 2014. And a pilot script. And got MARRIED. That’s still hard to wrap my head around because I perpetually feel unfinished, but I *did* those things. It’s incredible to think about, and something that was a tenuous nerve-wracking uncertainty when the year started.

2014…it was undeniable good. Great. The greatest, actually. I don’t even know why I wanted to call it anything else.