Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 in Review

Normally this blog post would start with a comment along the lines of "Can you believe the year's over already?" But 2016 has been a year unlike any other. I'm not superstitious; I'm well aware that the start and end of a calendar year is arbitrary, that the world does not switch off and on again when Big Ben strikes twelve. But the year has come to feel cursed, a sentient and malignant being that is out to destroy all that is good and bright. It began with the death of David Bowie, of course, followed mere days later by Alan Rickman and joined by radio and TV personality Sir Terry Wogan before the month was out. Harper Lee, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Victoria Wood, Anton Yelchin, Leonard Cohen were all victims of this terrible year (and I am quite sure that I've missed more.) In the last week alone, we lost George Michael, Liz Smith (from The Royle Family), Richard Adams (author of Watership Down) and - when I thought no more celebrity deaths could upset me - Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, and one day later, her mother, Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds.

It was the year when the British public who wanted to name an exploration ship "Boaty McBoatface" were entrusted with the country's future in the EU, armed with only the promises of politicians and the propaganda of the press. It was the year when terrifying clowns were on the loose, a fad that stopped as soon as their leader was elected to the White House. (I hold each and every person who voted for that man personally responsible for the consequences of having such a reckless, ignorant, arrogant and hateful president, a man with as few redeeming features as humanly possible. There can be no plea of ignorance, everything he said and did was in the public eye.) Months may pass quickly, but the year has been very long indeed.

And yet, on a personal note, it's not been bad. I kept a "good days" journal, filled an entire notebook and started another, to remember my experiences throughout 2016. I've been on days out and trips away, book signings, bookshop crawls, the Harry Potter studios and the Isle of Wight music festival; I've finished a novel - not just a first draft, but have got it to a point where I can start sending it to publishers - and entered a writing competition. I've spent lots of time with old and new friends, and I think that over all my mental health has been relatively stable. I started the year by taking part in Ali Edwards' One Little Word, a scrapbooking and journalling project that, although I let it slide in the second half of the year, has had a lasting impact on my life, and challenged my outlook in unexpected ways. Although I won't be doing One Little Word next year, I've given myself a motto for 2017:
Curiously, I've been seeing that motto circulated a lot in the last few days as part of a quotation from Carrie Fisher.
"Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What's important is the action. You don't have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow."
My Books of the Year:

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
The Stand by Stephen King
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My Soundtrack of the Year:

Hamilton - by Lin-Manuel Miranda and the original Broadway Cast.
Best of Bowie - David Bowie
A Night at the Opera and Innuendo - Queen
Selected hits from The Who
Selected songs from The Lounge Kittens.

Films of the Year


Quote of the Year:
"DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH." - from Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. 

Yep. It's been an interesting year, all right. Here's to a better 2017.


  1. Happy new year Katie! With everything going on I think it's really important to remember the good things as much as comiserating over the bad. Here's to a better 2017!

    1. Definitely, I agree. I've spent the last couple of days sorting out my journals and photos from 2016; it's been a very full year. I kind of love new year, because it's a fresh start, a chance to look over my life and evaluate what's important, what to keep and what to change.


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