I only wrote 75 blog posts in 2013 (well, 76 considering this one is on the last day), partly because parenthood and partly because I was working on so many other things. My second child is due to arrive on March 1, my second book sometime before that (wish I had a date, ahem), and life at work is full of advocacy, budgeting, negotiations, and paperwork. I’m pretending I’m not stuck in the middle of a new novel project, because I can’t really call it new anymore if I’ve been working on it since 2012. I joined a board of directors for a former prisoner transition program that was desperate for funding before it was awarded nearly a million dollars in a settlement with AT&T for price gouging. I continue to field calls from people looking for resources or lawyers or therapists or a shoulder to lean on, and I wish I was a better connector for them. I would love to find some new music, or find music in a new way because Spotify’s recommendations can only take a person so far.
I’m doing my best to fit into Walla Walla and its tiny machinations of power and prestige, but I still dream about relocating all of us to a more metropolitan area where I won’t want to squeeze every person of color I see on the street and where we can meet other people like us who aren’t also urgently trying to find a way to leave. I keep having the sense that I’m in the middle of something, which is better than feeling like I’m at the end, I suppose. Maybe this is what middle age is—the experience of the mud in the middle. When I was 23 and dirt poor and on the edge of eviction, I dreamed that twenty years from now I’ll have it all handled, I’ll own a house and have a well paying job, and instead my future hasn’t met those class aspirations. I do value stuff a bit differently these days, which is either by design or by cause of condition. I get so much time with Emile and I have no regrets about that.
Earlier this year someone I knew committed suicide and I continue to think about her often. If only we all knew the difference we each made in the world, every day. I think she’s haunting several people, actually, which pressures them and uplifts them at once. I try to keep a lookout for the people around me as if it’s some kind of defense (against the dark arts) and even as suicide rates in the United States increase. So once again let me say that if you need to talk to someone, consider talking to me. I’m never more than 6 inches away from the Internet. [ @everettmaroon on Twitter and ev dot maroon at gmail ] On the upside, I’ve seen the WW school superintendent’s office pay attention to the trans youth among their student body, and gotten 90 minutes from my Congresswoman’s office on the subject of social and medical services for HIV-positive veterans. I try to take each boon with gratitude.
In 2014 I hope to help launch a successful needs assessment here in Walla Walla, along with a few other people, to help get some concrete responses about life in town from other LGBT people, push for better HIV prevention funding in areas outside of King County (where Seattle is located), and win a grant to do some research on the founding of the Harvey Milk High School in NYC. Susanne and the family and I will try to get out east to show off our youngest to our friends and relatives. I have a book launch for my debut novel, and there’s a maybe blog starting up this spring from the likes of the Lambda Literary Foundation fellows from last summer that has gotten me excited. I don’t have any short story work on the horizon, and I’m not actively bidding to start a regular column anywhere, but that kind of stuff can change in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I’ll try to get to a conference or two, but I’m probably spending a good chunk of 2014 bouncing a new youngun on my knee. I really love bouncing babies, it seems.
I have found the fights of 2013 to be dispiriting and almost completely useless. Look, maybe Dan Savage is a jerk, Ani DiFranco is a narcissist, and Buck Angel has no perspective. These people may have made headlines in popular culture and become marked as some kind of LGBT leader, but they’re not. They’re just not. One person cannot speak for the multiplicities of communities that comprise LGBT any more than one president could represent Planet Earth to the rest of the universe. There’s a reason that only some people present themselves as spokespeople, and that other people quietly go along doing the work that forges real empowerment for marginalized people. Don’t look toward the loudmouths, go searching for the principled workers.
2014 will be a great year, if only because CeCe McDonald will be released from the St. Cloud Correctional Facility. Let’s remember all of the other trans prisoners across the country, please, and get involved in writing to them and supporting them in what are extremely hostile environments. Next year we’ll see more in the way of same-sex marriage debates, ignorant celebrities saying ignorant things, and ALEC-driven legislation meant to disempower women and LGBT people. I for one will do my best not to be petty but to push back, speak out, and move through these moments. If I can help with a cause, I will put in my energy, and I hope you do the same.
Thank you to everyone who helped me out in 2013, supported my work or my family, congratulated me on my successes, cooed over Emile, volunteered for a cause I love, donated to HIV or LGBT groups, listened to a youth, bought someone a meal, offered condolences, or did their best for the people around them. I know it’s sappy but I still believe, idealist that I am, that love will always see us through. I welcome 2014 with open arms, as I do all of you. Have a wonderful New Year.