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December 22, 2018

Here we are, already on the third Christmas blog for michaelaba.com!


At the moment, I’m amazed at how fast this past year in particular flew by. I assume this is to be expected, considering I unexpectedly took another five-and-a-half month detour into the Martha’s Vineyard restaurant world back in early May. And while there was a flurry of website activity preceding my previous Christmas blog entry, I notice there is not nearly as much to report this time around. Could this be due to my current focus being on writing a new collection of stories?


Well, let me skim through the past year’s worth of blogs to see if reasons for an increased speed of time can be found…

And OK - here’s a quick end-of-the-year bit of wisdom I did not possess seconds ago. As it turns out, a brief perusal of twelve monthly blogs is not a bad way to demonstrate how time itself can easily slip away.


In a nutshell, here’s what happened:


Back in January, I was justifiably pleased with how I’d managed to take on so many of my website goals, with many of them having been completed only the previous month. My gut feeling was I was now due for a month of contemplative introspection while pondering what to do next. But this was almost immediately side-tracked, as funerals, snowstorms, and the demands involved with remaining the COOP President got in the way…


Perhaps more introspection happened in February and March, but it seems I was mostly encumbered with the challenge of finally reading “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace. In April, my lack of focus seemed to grow more concerning, but the concept of creating new fiction took a back seat to dealing with an unexpected death of a close friend as well as a sudden goal to reread “Infinite Jest” in its entirety, while most of the plot lines were still fresh in my head. Towards the end of the month, I made the quick and slightly surprising decision to return to Martha’s Vineyard for another season. Although, as far as improvements to michaelaba.com goes, I DID come up with the idea of creating business cards!


In May and June I was back at work, and while I rarely found myself actually handing out those business cards as intended, several nights behind the bar convinced me to take on non-fiction for the first time. A new collection, called “These Stories Are True”, was quickly conceived. July and August saw me now fully immersed with three different jobs, although a five-day break towards the end for a 40th High School Reunion in Burlington, Vermont was the perfect diversion. Monthly emails and blogs were the closest I got to writing this entire time.


In September, with more free time suddenly available, I believe I could feel my focus returning; I actually came up with a new idea for the site - “Request a Story From Michael!” - and responded to the challenge of picking the 10 stories I felt best represented myself as a writer. Of course, that new section has yet to appear on the site and I’m not sure I still agree with those 10 choices…

I returned to NYC in mid-October and found myself more concerned with fixing up a slightly-wrecked studio apartment and watching every show that dealt with the imminent downfall of Donald Trump as well as the upcoming mid-term elections. And in November, I tried my best to remember how to play the piano, with most of my practicing taking place with MSNBC-analysis of that mid-term election blaring off in the background.


Which has quickly led to this month, December of 2018. I’m glad to say I’m actually making progress with “These Stories Are True”, despite an unexpected 6-night separation from my laptop computer due to a faulty monitor. I’ve even put out a brand new goal on the end-of-the-year monthly email I sent out today: I’ve decided I should record audio versions for each of the 17 essays I’m currently hoping to complete.


So this time last year, I was happy with where I was at, yet wondering where the next months might take me. And this year, I already have a solid writing goal for 2019.

OK. I’ll say it right now - if in twelve months time I’m writing a Christmas blog meditating on the completed “These Stories Are True” collection, I’ll consider the year a successful one.


Let’s see what happens!

And HAPPY HOLIDAYS, everyone!

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