Because the year is coming to a close, I thought I’d pry into the personal lives of our Editors and Contributors to ask what went on in their lives apart from writing. 2014 seemed to be a fairly dramatic year for pretty much everyone I know. Many of my friends tight rope-walked between good and awful events; at times it felt like the world around all of us was imploding. As a community, our point of contact with each other and the Entropy readership is our writing. So I asked, what else has been going on with you? Tell me yours in the comments.
Here’s what I got…
This year I worked at an oil refinery, doing welding, rigging, and taking apart equipment like heat exchangers, gasoline towers (some went way up in the sky like Jack and the Bean Stalk) and those million gallon gasoline tanks that you see on the side of the highway that look like big white birthday cakes. M-F morning, I drove my car out of Manhattan where I live and into New Jersey, where the refinery is. After work I commuted back to the city and I went out bouncing around the city with my wife as much as possible. We had fun, danced like idiots and drank at bars too much. Good, tough, rewarding year, had fun, but now I have a cold, I’m on Nyquil.
This has been one of the strangest years in my life.
Began the year with a lot of negative money, due to a scam that wiped me clean. Then the indiegogo made for me was successfully funded, and I was able to recover from that big loss. Helped start a company and then quit after serious issues with the founder. Had to kick out one of my roommates, who is also one of my oldest friends. And then, amidst all the strangeness, I also got engaged to a beautiful woman who’s too good for me.
So it’s been very strange, but it’s ending quite well.
Dennis James Sweeney
God. I feel like I’m in high school saying this, but it was a year of failed romance. “Failed”: I mean we go through what we have to go through, and we learn, and it’s never all bad. Maybe you know the experience of finally allowing yourself to believe in something, and then not being able to make that thing the thing you thought it was, no matter how hard you try. It was a humbling year. But feeling humbled in that way, and in a few other ways that I’m probably completely fabricating, is a step toward a radical, insane openness. I really want that. And I think it’s coming soon.
I’ve spent most of the year depressed. I suffered from depression in high school, but haven’t been taking antidepressants for at least a decade. However, since roughly 2 years ago, I’ve gotten increasingly fatigued/unmotivated/apathetic and figure it could be the depression kicking back in. No inspiration for writing, no energy to do anything productive and no desire to do anything fun. I also gained a TON of weight this past two years (not literally a ton, but like 60 lbs). After spending most of the year struggling with a health insurance service that actually didn’t offer any coverage in my area, despite their claims when I signed up, I switched to Kaiser and am finally seeing to my health needs (I’ve got a few other chronic health issues that probably contribute to the depression). So I’m on track to, hopefully, a better 2015. *high fives all around*
This year was the second most transformative year of my life; in the foreground I was working on a novel about loneliness and a book-length poem about mysticism and in the background, my life started over again. I converted to Judaism. I rearranged my life to go back to school to take science classes so I can apply to med school. I got my first book published. This year most of my old worries fell away, a lot of my chronic ailments fell away, so in the foreground while I wrote when and where I could during a very crazy year, in the background I was able to shift the central question of my life away from “how can I possibly heal myself?” to “how can I help heal others?” This year I also fiercely grieved my mother (again) and got spurned, scolded, threatened (with death), harassed, rejected, ignored, dumped on, and treated like a doormat, but I don’t have time for that anymore, except for my mom; I have books to write and a new life to live.
I spent half of 2014 sick. Really sick. For six months, I was so severely anemic, I eventually had to get a transfusion of 3 units of blood. It was terrifying. Thirteen hours in the hospital, joking with the nursing staff, trying not to go insane watching someone else’s DNA slowly flow into my body, and trying to figure out who stole the bacon out of my Styrofoam hospital breakfast tray while I made a quick trip to the restroom. During the time I was sick (and hopefully, this time is in the past <mental gesture of fingernail biting >), my ability to do shit was greatly diminished. I had a hard time walking my dogs even up the street (forget about the 3 mile walks or longer hikes we used to do). Somehow, though, I still went to work, attended family get togethers, traveled, helped conceive of and assemble art installations, published some stuff (not as much as I’d like), and even managed to exercise my 3 large, active dogs (my brother’s swimming pool was my friend). I felt like complete crap, but I soldiered on somehow, stupidly avoiding doctors at all cost until I couldn’t any more. How did my life not completely unravel?