What is that quote about the universe laughing when you make plans? Well, let's just say that this post is coming out about ten days later than I'd like. That comes down to a number of reasons, but the big one was the worst, most raging sinus infection I've had in years. It obliterated me. I was actually rather impressed. Still, I soldier on. At the same time as my infection, I've taken on a new position (more on that below), so my other projects are moving a bit slower at present. I look forward to that changing soon. Add in a family emergency all in the last two weeks, and you get a recipe for late posting. So, without further ado...
2017: The Year in Review
Another year come and gone. Remarkable, isn't it? I remember this time last year when we were all wishing 2016 good riddance. There was a distinct unity to our discontent. Celebrity deaths took too many beloveds. The presidential election threw just about everyone. People were just...unhappy with life. When the wheel turned, more than a few lifted a middle finger to '16, myself included.
This year, it's a little different. Some people were ready to give 2017 the old boot. While I had my own concerns regarding this year (not the least of which being that sinus infection I mentioned above), I found that it was decidedly better than 2016. So I nod more fond farewells at this turn of the year than sour ones.
...And there were definite farewells. Did you know the Death card of the tarot doesn't actually mean "death"? It actually means change, that concept that when we shuffle off the mortal coil, we are actually just making a change of venue, of scenery (actually that's a very loose definition, but you get the idea). And this was such a year of change: upheavals to be sure, but what those sharp lurches created were moments of true inspiration, motivation, and focus. All things being equal, I view it like that card. Letting go of certain things so that other things could flourish.
Here are the highlights:
Q1: Packing and recalibrating - this was perhaps the roughest time. Repercussions from 2016 still vibrated throughout my life like aftershocks from an earthquake. I was shaken to my core, making it difficult to work on anything other than prepping for my move...well, moves.
Yes, I moved twice in a three month period. It was stressful like moving always is, particularly as I was moving states and dealing with tough interactions between myself and others. As one of those upheavals I mentioned above, there are times when certain relationships no longer service the parties involved, and it is time to bid farewell, fondly, whenever possible, but definitively nonetheless. In the end, there was a lot of hard work and hard lessons, but don't think I didn't find some fun to be had in there along the way. You can check out the exploits of my move to Iowa as well as my final farewell revelries in Austin, in an ongoing series over at RansomedRoads.com
Moving back to Iowa, where my mother's side of the family is from, was a daunting prospect, giving off "you can't go home again" vibes. When you've been a gypsy your whole life, this takes on a whole new level of weird. Still, I've been so grateful to have more time with my family this year. It's been a more than adequate trade. Besides, how could you not love this view:
My health and energy have gone through a few ups and downs, as they often do. While my summer was relatively benign, I was beset on both ends of the year with some nasty bugs. Still, I managed to find more focus, drive and energy than I've seen in quite some time. It's amazing what a little upheaval can do.
Which brings me to some of the more major accomplishments of this year. Check it out!
For years now, I have been "meaning to" start blogs for two of my greatest passions: one for travel, one for movies. This year, I made them both happen:
As a writer, photographer, and lifelong traveler, a travel blog is a no-brainer for someone like me. After all, I've been chronicling my travels since I was a child. So, no one is more surprised than myself that it took so long for me to get this one up and running. I can only say that for something so precious as wanderlust, I knew that the voice had to be just right, the feel and tone...just so. I sat on it for years, despite all impatience to get started, and only finally hit upon the idea for the name and style in the last couple years. Once I was able to take time to develop it, I couldn't be happier. Ransomed Roads is the culmination of a lifetime of experiences, philosophy, and lifestyle. You can check it out here:
Of course, don't forget to follow on social media:
The Lost Title Cards
And if launching a travel blog took a bafflingly long time, imagine how much more bizarre it was for me - an avid, nay, rabid movie watcher - not to have started my own movie blog sooner. Believe me, I'd been tempted in the past. Still, I had done movie reviews before, and I didn't want to fall into the category of so many movie review bloggers, hacking and slashing their way through movies in what feels more like a vain attempt at proving how much more clever they are than everyone else. I find that...dull. ...I wanted to share my love of movies, not tear them down, and I want my critiques to be thoughtful, introspective, sometimes too-well researched....but mostly I want to convey the love. I want to lose my mind, fan-style, over the latest blockbuster, discuss the cinematography in the latest arthouse piece, and just wax nostalgic on some of my faves of all-time. And you can join me:
Blog Writing Position
As the end of the year came, I find myself suddenly with a new opportunity! I have joined a small business marketing company and will be doing some content writing for them, specifically blogs. This came as perfect timing, and will be a great addition to my projects, as well as a nice source of income.
Arts & Crafts:
2017 brought something totally new: I painted a piece of artwork and entered it in a show. In August, a local group of artists pulled together a Tim Burton Tribute Show at local art hot spot Hot Shops. This was a perfect inspiration for my first public piece. I've painted a few things for myself and friends, but nothing so large a scale or intent on polish as this. As I had never done this before, I was quite pleased with the results, and will be creating prints for sale. Here's a glimpse:
The Arcadian Gypsy Boutique. In addition, I entered us in a craft-sellers event, and it went well.
Boy, the ol' Tricky Fish took a hit in the last couple of years whilst I was in school. I simply couldn't make the time to do some of the projects I'd been hoping for. Still, I managed to get things up and running again, thanks in no small part to my journeys this year...literally thousands of photos were taken during my move and subsequent travels. You can see a few up on Social Media with more to come in the new year:
And, oh, were there travels! My wanderlust was high this year, as the two previous years of school had kept me pretty much tethered to Austin. I even missed a Burn. This year more than made up for it, with my farewell tour of Austin, the move via road trip up to Iowa, a return to the Playa for this year's Burning Man (including meeting some local Burners and joining their community here in Iowa/Nebraska!), and local travels around the state of Iowa with my mom, and family. I'm not even going to post any pics here. Just check it all out on Ransomed Roads. ...and follow, follow, follow, because there will be regular postings in the next few months.
All in all, not a bad year. A tough year, sure, but so much gained: insight, connection, energy and purpose. On top of that, I actually launched or completed several projects. So what awaits in the new year? What sort of trouble can my way-too-big-for-my-everything-eyes get me into in 2018?
Plots & Schemes for 2018:
One of my first priorities will be re-vamping SystemAndromeda.com. When I first created the site with my brother JayaPrime, it was meant to showcase my talents, and begin the tentative prospect of introducing philosophy to action: praxis. As a result, it began very "me" focused. As I've refined my goals and how my projects and skills can assist and encourage others, I have taken a turn in focus. And soon, my web copy will reflect that. Don't worry. There will be much fanfare upon it's completion.
Ah, marketing. This will be taking a front seat position. I've tried out some different things this last year, and am settling into a new routine (You can expect to see more of me here, e.g., once I'm fully on the mend. Seriously, this sinus infection has been the worst.) Some additional things in the offing:
- Patreon and crowdfunding: I have a number of projects that are waiting for crowdfunding and patron contributions. Some of these are related to some causes I'm passionate about. So you can expect to see the addition of a few campaigns and the like in the new year.
- Email newsletters: If you prefer getting news of my updates and how to find my projects, products, and services, sent directly to your inbox, fear not. I will be getting mailing lists together, so you don't have to miss anything happening in the galaxy. Stay tuned for that.
I will be writing-focus heavy this year, what with blogs, content writing, and social media. I'm really looking forward to this, since writing was my first real talent, and is still my first love. This year will really tell me how far I'm able and willing to go in this field.
Tricky Fish Photography will be getting more attention as I launch a new website for it, hopefully in the first quarter. Likewise, I'll be posting my artwork - photos, prints of my painting - in the coming months on Zazzle, RedBubble, Society 6.
For Arcadian Gypsy, I've found so much inspiration for new products, that there should be no shortage of new items in the store this year, and I've been commissioned by a couple people to do some leather goods! Exciting! The Darndest Things will have some new stuff, too, so look forward to some exciting designs on the horizons! I'm also looking forward to getting into more craft shows, either my store only, or joining with other talented crafters.
I've been getting a little bit better at trying not to bite off more than I can chew in terms of my energy (okay, a very tiny, minuscule amount). The freelance life can be a sedentary business, so health will take a major focus, as I will be engaging in yoga with my best friend Heather Tomasello (check her out, she is the one that got me into the art scene here in the Omaha metro area!), and working out more. I hope to go back to the martial arts dojo I once frequented, and begin retraining. Balance.
The Big, Fat Tiny House Project:
The big project in my life slated for 2018 will be the planning and hopeful breaking ground on the build for my tiny house on wheels (THOW). It's something I've been craving for my lifestyle for a while now, and it really is one of those "do or do not" things. So, wish me luck, and look for many calls for, as well as sharing of, resources and info over on RansomedRoads.com!
And since that's quite enough to be getting on with, I will simply note that there are so many more things I'd like to do this year, such as the following:
- Finish writing the first draft of a novel that's been in the works for 20 years! Maybe I can slate it for November's NaNoWriMo.
- Create my first "activism" blog.
- Get into voice-over work.
- Go back to school to complete ASL Interpreter certification.
....But really, I'm only human.
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