4 Years of Lola By the Bay/ 2017 Year in Review

I don’t know about anyone else, but this year came and went uneasily fast. Now it wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for everything that has happened throughout the past eleven months, and it also doesn’t help that I just generally feel exhausted and not myself at this time of year. But with the fact that not only is the year about to close out, but also that two days ago marked four years since the establishment of this blog, it’s only right that I close the year out with my annual year in review.

Forgive me for starting this post on a slightly dark tone, for the political climate most certainly has been a definite contributor to that. I’m seeing a pattern of darkness throughout the past few years. 2015 was crappy on a personal level, 2016 was crappy on a global level, and now this year was also crappy on a global level, but in a different way. At this point, it’s fair to say that the last year I fully, genuinely enjoyed was 2014; the year of my debut novel’s release and my last year as an undergrad.

With such negative events persisting throughout the year, it felt wrong not to acknowledge them from time to time in my own blogs posts. All that, and more, will be revealed as I go in depth on it all now:

With promotion for An Absolute Mind happening throughout the year, along with the publication of my short story “46” and my stage writing credits, it only seemed right to finally create a Commentary category where I would speak about the making of them all. Each of these posts allowed me the opportunity to go in depth on how each of these projects were conceived, the different influences I may have drawn for them, and just what went into making these stories take shape as they do in their final forms.

Another new category was created just earlier this month: What Did I Miss? Due to all the writing, appearances, and projects I do online outside of my blog, I figured that I make it easier to know about for those who don’t follow me on social media. While the links I’ve provided have been in short supply during this first month of doing these posts, that probably has to do with starting this category so close to the end of the year. But going forward, they should begin to amount more.

With headlines crazier than ever before, posts in the From the News category continued on; such as in the form of discussing the power of legacies in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting and the importance of sharing one’s story as part of the #metoo movement.

However, with the news leaving me constantly exhausted and down in the dumps, I couldn’t bring myself to touch on every single headlines-shaking event. That’s why the growth of the Recommended Analyzing category continued on, as I provided posts that encouraged readers to check out the New York Times feature about Barack Obama and his love of books and stories, how inspiration can be found between two different universes, the power of an LGBT-friendly short film, and an episode of the Bruce Lee Podcast that explores the misfit that he was.

Due to promoting An Absolute Mind throughout the year, writing for the stage, and getting started on the writing process for my third novel, I’ve touched upon successes I’ve experienced, as well as obstacles I have faced. I got to do readings for the first time in my career at different points throughout the year, I’ve been fortunate enough to give copies of my novel to two of my favorite authors, and I got to experience seeing people’s reactions to my stage writing. Meanwhile, challenges I have faced through it all have included remembering to write for myself (even in the midst of a voice telling me otherwise), the struggle of writing several stories at once, finding inspiration both in likely and the most unlikely places, and how sometimes, reconstructing a story for the sake of your mentality can be the best thing you can do for yourself.

As I’ve done the past few years, I have continued to explore storytelling in its various forms and ways; such as how it can be used for escapism, the way it’s used in personal essays, how it comes about during book readings, and of course, how it is done when writing scripts.

As briefly indicated from the one month of What Did I Miss? posts I’ve done so far (as well as made clear by the additions to the Writings Elsewhere and Press/Features/Mentions pages), I’ve been doing a lot outside of this personal cyber hub of mine. Apart from my ongoing contributions for both YOMYOMF and Multiracial Media, I’ve guest contributed an essay for the most recent issue of Hapa Mag, I’ve guest produced episodes for two different podcasts, I’ve been interviewed several times (one of which was for NBC Bay Area’s “Asian Pacific American with Robert Handa”), and I took part in a conversation on Twitter with other Asian authors for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

I’ve definitely pushed myself as a writer – and as a storyteller in general – this past year, and I hope to take it even further this coming year. More work shall be put into my third novel in the coming year, more scripts are in the works, and I’m aiming to do more creative collaborations outside of the theatre world if possible. The midterm elections aren’t until November, so I don’t see the political climate easing up anytime soon. In addition to life’s pressures that are coming my way, the fact that I have these creative pursuits before me shall make for the ultimate escape.

Every year at the end of these blogs posts, I turn the table to you; my followers whose population has amassed 200 in total this year. Every year I open the floor, and yet I’m met with silence. But still, I do so by once again posing the following questions to you: What do you want to see more or less of on this blog? I brought back the analyses of TV shows and films this year, as I analyzed three different films, but is something like that something I should continue? Is there any topical subject matter I should touch on that I haven’t written about yet? I’ve been keeping this blog going for four years already, and all I want is for it to continue to evolve.

Amidst the darkness of this year, 2017 was one of my more productive years as a writer. Let’s see how I can top that by this time next year.

An Absolute Mind is now available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & NobleCreateSpace, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. If you read it, please leave a review, for they’re greatly appreciated and help me grow as a writer. Also, be sure to check out its Goodreads page, and feel free to leave any questions you have about the book.

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5 thoughts on “4 Years of Lola By the Bay/ 2017 Year in Review

  1. Great post and congrats on all your achievements (in particular handing over your book to your favourite authors!) Im the same on the year thing, although everyone last year was saying ‘ thank God this year is over’ due to all the deaths, I felt this year was the toughest and loneliest for me personally (difficult to be lonely with four kids!) and probably the first year I became aware of my mental health not being as solid as I thought it was. I enjoyed everything on your blog, and given that we traverse different genres, that’s no mean feat! Keep trucking, I think you’re brill!

  2. Thank you for your support! It’s always wonderful hearing from you, and I look forward to seeing what you create in the coming year. Everyone is in a struggle of some magnitude, particularly nowadays. Alas, we still find reasons to keep on living.

    • My only thing is going to be that I create something! I’ve spent the last two years trying to do a little of everything and not knuckling down! Plus I want by the end of 2018 to be able to say I’ve gotten back to the things I used to enjoy doing both reading wise and in terms of getting out to see cool places, trying new things and getting active again, also rose friends and family I haven’t seen in so long! And thank you,you honestly do inspire!

    • Thanks Stephen! You’re probably the first of the geeks who has ever responded to one of my blog posts, so I really appreciate your kind words. We miss you here in the Bay and I look forward to hearing more about your time in South America in the new year.

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