I couldn’t believe it when I looked back and realized that I’ve been doing a Year In Review blog post since 2004! You can look back at that year, as well as 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010! You know, if you want to geek out about me, or something.
2011 has been the most tumultuous year for me to date both personally and professionally. Mostly good, but a lot not-so-good. Here’s the recap:
TERESA’S 2011 YEAR IN REVIEW:
** Whedonistas was released, thus changing my writing life forever. My first published work in a book available in bookstores, it led to me doing a string of readings, both personal and as part of a larger group of Whedonistas. It also allowed me to meet some pretty amazing (and well-known) women in sci-fi/fantasy. I was thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful project with such talented people.
** Did my first Whedonistas convention panel at Gallifrey One (February)! After having raised money to make the trip online (thank you to all of my generous supporters!), I flew out to L.A. in February for Gally. On the panel were moderators (and Whedonistas editors) Lynne Thomas and Deb Stanish; artist Katy Shuttleworth; contributors Nancy Holder, Jenn Reese, Racheline Maltese, Kelly Hale; and Jane Espenson, who has an exclusive interview in the book. After the panel, which went really well, we had a signing, during which I had someone come up to me excited to read my essay because, based on what I’d talked about during the panel, she thought that my piece would speak to her experience. I was floored by that. Later, the Whedonistas and I all went out to dinner, and I not only had the opportunity to sit next to and get to know one of my professional role models, but I got to know fellow female writers and lovers of genre with whom I have a lot in common and with whom I’ve since been becoming friends.
** While I was in L.A. for Gally, I also organized a reading on my own at a cute coffeehouse in Venice called The Talking Stick. It went well overall, though I definitely learned some dos and don’ts for future readings. While the crowd I started with wasn’t particularly large, by the end, so many had walked in and stayed that I was reading to a full house. My short story didn’t go over too well, but my Whedonistas piece went over a lot better. That, and I had some wonderful friends out to support. Namely, Heather, Alex, Amy, Julianna, and Josh, as well as Mike from ChinaShop who came out to interview me and photograph/cover the reading! That was so sweet. It was a great night.
** Back in New York, I also organized a Whedonistas reading at The Way Station in Brooklyn (March). Again, nerve-wracking, because I’d organized the event myself, but it went swimmingly and we sold several copies of the book. I was joined onstage once again by Racheline Maltese as well as Priscilla Spencer.
** I began to focus more on feminism in relation to my pop culture criticism, and wrote two articles for Tor.com – Moffat’s Women: Amy and Her Skirt, and a two part review of the film Sucker Punch – that taught me that the internet is a double-edged sword, full of intelligent people and less-intelligent trolls.
** My second Whedonistas convention panel was at Geek Girl Con (October)! That was a bit more nerve-wracking in that I had organized and would be moderating that panel myself. It turned out rather well, however. We “played” to a packed, enthusiastic room, and as I was walking to another panel afterwards, I had several strangers stop me to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Jane Espenson and Nancy Holder joined me again, along with Mariah Huehner, who is awesome. Earlier that morning, we had a signing and we SOLD OUT all of our copies of the book! Next year, the bookseller won’t under order! I was amused by how many people assumed that I worked for the bookseller at whose table we were. I had to keep telling people, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with ringing this up. I’m actually in this book.” One day, people won’t make that mistake. Also, if you’re ever going to bring Jane a baked good, do not bring her cupcakes. Cupcakes are wasted on Jane Espenson. Bring her pie instead. Wonder at how she manages to lead a normal life with such a warped view of cake.
** While 2011 had a lot of positive things happen for my writing career, there was also some negative. I got rejected from an anthology, a sci-fi fiction website, two TV writing fellowships, and the Emerging Writers Fellowship at the Center for Fiction in New York. I also was told by the blog editor at a major entertainment blog that he was interested in my work, only to have him reject all the pitches I sent him. Just goes to show, you can’t expect success without a certain level of failure! What you need to do is keep trying!
** I left Newsarama after a little over a year of writing comics reviews for them. It wasn’t anything bad or scandalous, and I actually really enjoyed my editor and the Best Shots review team. However, I made the decision to not do anymore unpaid writing work that wasn’t my own, and so my decision to quit was in support of that. But thank you, David, for being an amazing editor, and thanks to the Best Shots team for being a lot of fun on email chains!
** After a while of figuring out what I wanted to do with Tumblr, I finally figured it out and created The Gender Blender. As I post stuff there, what I’m working on in relation to my novel becomes clearer.
** Discovered the website, Cowbird, and was accepted to join this small storytelling community. Immediately became obsessed!
** My Geeks and Kink article at ChinaShop Magazine not only popped about the internet both in kink circles and blogs like the Boston Magazine blog, but it also won me a contributor contest, netting me a cash bonus and a new Flip Cam!
** Had the pleasure of interviewing: Jane Espenson (several times), Cheeks, Rachael Yamagata, Kevin Smith (to post in 2012), Simon Pegg, Ian “Enable” Wyatt, Jeryl Prescott, Jessica Mills, Candis Phlegm and Lyndsey Doolan, Eric Laden (never posted), Whitney Sorrow, Tony Trov and Johnny Zito, Cecil Castillucci (to post in 2012), and Sasha Roiz (again!).
** Was a guest on two podcasts! A roundtable discussion of Doctor Who S6.1 on 2 Minute Time Lord, and an interview along with Pendard re: Geeks and Kink on Polyamory Weekly. Apparently I’m an expert on geeks and kinky sex or something. There are worse things at which to excel…
** Sadly, no men of note. It was a slow one for dating. There was this one time where I thought I was being flirted with at a wedding, but that turned out to not be the case. Then there was this other time where I thought I had game at a geek singles event. But that was just men thinking I make a really good friend. *sighs* That’s how the cookie crumbles.
** 5 year anniversary of my mother’s passing.
** I turned 32 with little fanfare, but spent a fun night with Joanna and her brother, Carlos, at a really gorgeous spot in Queens on the East River that I’d never been to before. Had my first Four Loko. Also, managed to get a free slurpee at 7-Eleven.
** After Gally in February, I made the decision to make moves toward moving toward Los Angeles! At first, I was going to move to Plano, TX and save up money while living with my friend, Angela. However, another friend, Maritza, offered to let me live rent-free with her and her husband in Santa Monica in exchange for babysitting, so a plan was created for me to move out to Los Angeles toward the end of the year!
** Everything after that decision felt like prep for that. Everything I did became “my last ____ in New York.” I stopped babysitting for Caleb and Toby (whom I loved), and after my lease was up at my apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, I spent a month at Maria’s while catsitting, a couple of weeks at Robin’s, then my last few days in New York at Liz and Alex’s. Hurricane Irene didn’t stop my goodbye festivities, and after planning parties for myself, I was surprised by another party thrown by my friends that had been planned since June. I cried. A LOT. I visited my mother’s grave one last time, saw my dad one last time (for now), and said goodbye to my family. Leaving New York was the biggest, most life-altering thing I’ve ever done.
** On August 31st, 2011, I left New York on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again. I had been given letters written by some of my closest friends that I was instructed to read on the plane. After Robin and Joanna escorted me to the airport and waited until I got all the way through security before leaving, I got on the plane and started reading my letters. As the plane pulled off the runway, and I saw the skyline of my hometown fade into the distance behind us, I cried. And the letters I read were beautiful.
** Once I got to L.A. I was immediately greeted by lots of social people, and also lots of financial difficulty. I started out at Maritza’s, but that fell through for various reasons, and I had to move out. I lived for a little over a month with my friend Theresa and her husband Alan, until that fell through for various reasons. Now, I’m living where I should’ve lived in the first place, with my friend Heather and her boyfriend, Alexis. I have my own room, have been contributing to food, and will begin contributing to rent this month. I’ll be here until I save up enough for a car and a security and first month on my own place. It’ll be a while, but this lease isn’t up for two years, so…I’m a Valley Girl now. My first few weeks of living here were filled with parties, events, coffee meetings, and getting-to-know-yous…
** And then the doldrums set in. L.A. winter (which consists of rain, clouds, and temps in the 50s) was a mite depressing. So was the fact that I’m broke and stopped being able to afford being as social as I wanted to be. There was a period of a couple of weeks when I was actually rawther depressed. I’m much better now.
** The Occupy Movement has become a big part of my life, and when I first heard about it going down at Occupy Wall Street, I really regretted not being in NYC to be a part of it. But then, I got involved with Occupy L.A. My friend Mike and I camped out at Occupy L.A. on the fourth night (and got interviewed by KTLA the next morning). While I haven’t been able to get there since then (no money for bus fare, no car), I’ve been spreading links and writing my face off about it. When I traveled to Seattle and San Fransisco this year, I visited their Occupations and took pictures. I will post them eventually. If you’re not outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.
** Speaking of travel, I went to Seattle for Geek Girl Con. Money was tight, so I ended up only being able to get TO Seattle. Had to wait on a paycheck to get back. It came later than expected, so I was stuck in Seattle for an extra week, which was fine. In addition to Geek Girl Con, I had an amazing time staying with my friend, Heidi, then with a new friend, also named Teresa, and her partners, Scott and Larry, all of whom were super sweet to me. Geeked out at the Battlestar Galactica Exhibit and the Avatar Exhibit at the EMP Museum. Sat on the bank of Lake Washington. Visited the first Starbucks. Had lunch with some new friends, Jennifer and Anita. Had dinner with a new friend, Kristen. Had breakfast with a new friend, Christina. So all my meals were covered, and I got to hang with some wonderful people in the process. Taking the train to Seattle rather than a plane made the trip that much more memorable. If you can take Amtrak anywhere, especially up the West Coast, do it! It’s beautiful.
** Traveled to San Fransisco the weekend following Seattle through the generosity of friends. Stayed with Anita and her boyfriend at their place on Valencia – it was so sweet of them to let me stay there barely knowing me. Met up with Cathy, Matt, Angela, and Heather and we walked ALL OVER. (that city is seriously ALL uphill) Fisherman’s Wharf, seals, Chinatown, Lombard Street, the Comic and Cartoon Art Museum, and it all culminated in seeing Kevin Spacey play Richard III at the Curran Theater. He was great, even if the production was a bit uneven. But the second half was MUCH better than the first. Would love to visit SF for a longer period of time.
** Went with my new friend, Judi (Deb’s sister!), to see Riverdance at The Pantages Theater, and saw Merle for the first time in years. Also saw Padraic, Niamh, Maeve, and some of the other Riverdance cast and crew I’d gotten to know in my years working for the show. So surreal! But it was good to see everyone!
** Spent Thanksgiving with my new friend Emily at the place she shares with her boyfriend, Phillip, as well as some of his family. It was a really nice night (with great food!), and I was so touched that she invited me. Emily’s a good’un.
** Celebrated Christmas with Heather, Alexis, and their family and friends at his mom, Julie’s, place. REALLY great food, and I had a Malta for the first time in years! Met some great new people (and possibly a new personal trainer!), and was touched that Julie and Heather thought of me with gifts knowing that I couldn’t afford to give gifts this year (and even after they’d each agreed that no one was doing presents this year!). Also got some unexpected Christmas gifts from Robin and Heather E, as well as a ton of Christmas cards from everywhere. Skyped with my family. It wasn’t nearly as sad or bad as I was expecting. I felt a lot of love. I’m a lucky person.
** Roscoe’s. Chicken. And. Waffles.
A sampling of the new friends I’ve made this year: Maritza, Bob, Emily, Amy, Anita, Jennifer S, Theresa W, Alan, Teresa G, Scott, Larry, Judi, Jared, Jenni, Jenni P, Julianna, Josh, Vicky, Shanna, Jessica M, Stephanie, Dina, Sarah, Elena, Chastity, Dino, Elliot, and several more peeps. I’ve been so warmly welcomed in L.A. it’s not even funny.
** My BFF, Robin, got married to the love of her life, Matt – and I was her maid of honor! It was SUCH a great wedding. Everyone looked amazing, I danced so hard I hurt the next day, and everyone had a wonderful time.
** My friends Robyn and Jerry also got married in the Virgin Islands. I was originally supposed to officiate the wedding (I even became a minister in the Universal Life Church!), but my finances wouldn’t allow me to make the trip, and I had to back out, which bummed me out severely.
** Katie got pregnant again! Her first son, Nate, was a long-awaited gift. Now, this woman’s like a friggin’ rabbit! But seriously, I’m so happy for her and Aaron.
** New York State passed marriage equality! I put this in my “friend-related awesome” section in honor of all my friends in New York who can now get married! Now, for the rest of the country…
GEEKY/POP CULTURE HAPPENINGS OF IMPORTANCE
** I launched Beginning of Line in January 2011! In December, we’ve just posted our 18th story, which was our “Caprica Season 2″ finale. I’m so proud of all of my writers and artists – talented people, all! I’m looking forward to planning Season 3 and continuing to create stories set in the Caprica universe in 2012!
** Geek Girl Con was a huge success, and the best convention to which I’ve ever been. Hands down. It was so well run, I met so many amazing people and gained so many opportunities because of it. I can’t wait for Geek Girl Con 2012. I’ll be there with bells on!
** In television, 2011 introduced me to two of my favorite new shows, Once Upon a Time and Grimm. Torchwood: Miracle Day was really enjoyable (though I still have 2 eps to watch!), and the webseries, Husbands, was an adorable look at gay marriage. Doctor Who, Season 6 was really cool, if a bit confusing. Fringe had its best season ever. The Walking Dead? Not so much. And I caught up with two brilliant AMC shows: Mad Men and Breaking Bad. I cannot WAIT for new episodes of those two in 2012!
** In film, the end of the Harry Potter franchise totally satisfied me. I was one of the only people in the world who really liked Sucker Punch, apparently. Loved Super, Paul, and Friends With Benefits. And BRIDESMAIDS! Thank you, Kristen Wiig.
** Thankfully saw the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway once they worked out the kinks. It’s still not a perfect show, but it’s fun, and MUCH better than what it was before, from what I hear.
** Sadly, we lost Doctor Who‘s Elisabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney. RIP.
** In addition to Gally and Geek Girl Con, I attended Long Beach Comic Con and Comikaze Expo, both of which weren’t terribly thrilling.
** Went to the Husbands premiere at Meltdown Comics.
** In addition to Riverdance, I went to see a production of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at the Crown Theatre in NoHo. L.A. DOES have a theater scene!
** I was named one of the Top 11 Geek Girls of 2011 according to the Chicago Tribune Red Eye’s “Geek to Me” blog! Thanks to Elliot Serrano for thinking me worthy of inclusion in such wonderful company! WOO HOO!
Got to meet: Jessica Mills, Candis Phlegm, Lyndsey Doolan, Jane Espenson, Cheeks, Sean Hemeon, Alessandra Torresani, Magda Apanowicz, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Amy Berg, Felicia Day, Vincent Caso, Amy Okuda, Bonnie Burton, Michelle Boyd and the rest of Team Unicorn (except Clare!), Adrianne Curry, Sean Becker, and Juliet Landau. STILL have not met Sasha Roiz despite interviewing him twice, a jillion tweets and emails, and crossed communiques to get coffee when I was visiting L.A. earlier in the year. Well, Sasha – you have until the end of the world in December to make it up to me. Ball’s in your court.
2011 was a huge year for me, and there are amazing things in the works for this new year. 2012 is going to PWN! And I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you!