2018 Firsts and Notables

For me, 2018 was the year of:

— Great success in raising grants. Hired my first research scientist, on top of two postdocs and a small army of grad students.

— Eldest starting college! I’m so proud of him! He’s so independent and doing so well! He is double-majoring plus working a few hours a week so he’s very busy but kicking butt!

— Eldest starting college. It messed me up more than I thought it would, especially considering that I still have two kids at home and am thus far from an empty-nester. Eldest leaving for college precipitated some serious internal struggles for me.

— Middle Boy entering middle school. Also, puberty. He already has the largest foot in the family. His appetite and the family’s monthly food budget went way up. MB is doing great in middle school, but unfortunately not breaking a sweat. He has a strong personality and is the most social one among my three generally quite social kids. He has a large, tight-knit, and very diverse group of friends. I go to a lot of basketball and flag-football games and I’ve met a number of nice parents though his social network.

— MB and me attending our first pro basketball game! We enjoyed it. It was very expensive, though.

— MB and me (plus MB’s two pals and mom) attending everyone’s first monster truck rally! Great fun, great people watching, and not too expensive.

— Reconnecting with my sister after a very long time. It was great to talk with her.

— Reconnecting with a grad school friend after a very long time. Saw her twice since November.

— Meeting some really cool people on literary Twitter. Some of them restored my faith in humanity. There are many kind, funny, smart people out there.

— Joining a local science-fiction discussion group. Met some really cool people there. Got reminded that fascinating people come in all ages, genders, shapes,  and sizes.

— Fiction writing. Published 19 short stories or long flashes, 9 drabbles, and 1 creative nonfiction essay. I was also long- or shortlisted listed in several competitions.

— Realizing I naturally lean toward genre fiction, especially science fiction, horror, and surrealism. I am actually decent at writing genre — who knew? I even sold (for actual money) some stories to semipro or token-paying markets; my name has on occasion appeared alongside household-name authors. Cracking pro-paying markets is hard, but I’m getting closer (some recent shortlists and high-tier rejections from highly selective pro markets).

— Getting nominated for the Pushcart Prize. The surrealist dystopian tale simmered inside my mind for weeks. I wrote and edited it, start to finish, within about 8 hours of the anthology deadline; it ended up being the headliner, has a blurb on the cover, and got a Pushcart nod.

— Walking 5 km outside as often as I can, which is nearly every day. Fresh air is amazing, plus it’s an hour just to myself. Highly recommended.

How was your 2018? What were your firsts or your notables this year? 


  1. Congrats on all the grants and on your kid leaving for college! My first in 2018 was leaving academia for an industry job after what feels like an eternity (6 years of PhD plus 4.5 years of postdoc). I’d been on the market each year for all 4 years of my postdoc, and after sending out literally thousands of applications over the years, I had 10 interviews, and only 1 TT offer (which I ended up declining because the department there seemed quite toxic, based both on what I saw during the interviews and what friends told me). The academic market in my field totally sucks (even though I’m in a STEM field). Oh well. Here’s hoping that 2019 brings me some joy and that the new industry job will be good. Love your blog, btw! Would love to hear your thoughts at some point on the academic job market and/or leaving academia.

  2. That’s an amazing year! Sounds like the family is doing well and your grants AND 19 short stories & being nominated for a Pushcart Prize? Awesome!

  3. Thanks, undine! When I wrote this post, I was also shocked — as in, wow, look at all this stuff, it was a great year! But in truth I felt like I was slacking off and being low-energy through much of it. Maybe not. Or maybe I’m just reaping what I sowed in the past. Either way, it looks awesome on paper (or screen) but somehow didn’t feel awesome. Perhaps that’s how it always is –while you’re in the midst of everything, day-to-day grind, nothing seems glamorous.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Happy ’19 and congrats on all the succes! I’m excited I held all my new year resolutions for the first time in 2018: Didn’t touch reddit for a year and posted more on the blogs I follow.

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