The Year of Hell, or, why there’s nothing from 2019 in my portfolio

You think I’m talking about 2020. I’m not.

In December 2018, a disease my daughter had been fighting for some time exploded. Then got worse. My family spent 2019, and the first months of 2020, trying to keep a child alive. Nothing else really mattered.

I think of 2019 as the year during which I didn’t write anything. But. Apparently. I wrote a little. Here are the posts of The Year of Hell–with some good bits in it it, too–from the Nothing By The Book blog.


Anger as Fuel: Latin History For Morons, Microaggression Defined, Calgary Artist Eman Elkadri’s Social Justice Art #raceissues (January 12, 2019)

Privilege, burnt quesadillas, and betrayal (January 27, 2019)


Because laughing is good, even when it’s hysterical (March 30, 2019)

Kick like a girl (April 28, 2019)

We “celebrate” mothers but we neither value nor support them: if you’re not gonna walk the talk, take your hallmark holiday and shove it (May 12, 2019)

Halfway to 90: on flying, smashing the patriarchy, and other dreams (May 21, 2019)


This is a happy moment (June 9, 2019)

The kids are all right, but you’re old and out of touch: a love letter to libraries inspired by Susan Orlean et al. (July 11, 2019)

Her story, my story, our story (June 22, 2019)

“You are amazing”—you are partly right (June 25, 2019)

Finding Water, grateful for Julia Cameron, kinda whiny anyway (August 3, 2019)

Confessions of an unreformable plant killer (August 16, 2019)


Two in high school, one at home equals… I don’t know, I’m really bad at math (September 9, 2019)

If you want to save the world, fund libraries, use libraries, love libraries (September 14, 2019)

Manufactured Memories, for Suzie (September 21, 2019)

Heaven Hangover, or, thoroughly non-journalistic reflections on the Investigative Journalism Intensive, Banff Centre 2019 (Octoner 7, 2019)

So, yeah, I met Julia Cameron (in the flesh!): The power of story, dialectics and the creation of god (October 15, 2019)

Deep Texting Conversation with My Teenager (October 23, 2019)

But you don’t understand–I really am feeling stupid, or Arguing with the therapist and non-problem solving strategies (October 27, 2019)

Jane does Disney like this: no mouse, no rides, a hell of a lot of angst (November 7, 2019)

Work, heroin, and a heroine named Clementine (November 13, 2019)

“I’m crushing your head!” (December 2, 2019)

I believe I can fly (December 5, 2019)

All the good things in the year from hell, or, conscious loving (December 17, 2019)

Some words of wisdom from the House of Snot & Vomit (December 28, 2019)


She danced, who is she? (January 3, 2020)

Suffering, loving, living… home (January 5, 2020)

Happy birthday (the war’s not over) (January 9, 2020)

Game face on (January 10, 2020)