The “Best of 2012” List

I think I’m about a week behind most of the blogosphere on this one, but better late than never. Here’s my “Best of 2012” list:

Best Books 

  • The Toynbee Convector by Ray Bradbury – This is easily one of the best Bradbury collections I’ve ever read. His stories were so brave. In this collection he writes less of the sci-fi/fantasy that he’s known for, and focuses more on relational issues. Divorce, commitment, infidelity, faithfulness, coming-of-age, and hope for the future are all themes found within.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – This was my one big, classic fiction book for the year. It’s also the first piece of Russian literature I’ve read. It’s a mammoth work that can’t really be summed up in a few sentences, and certainly not by someone who knows so little about Russian lit (like me). I will say that I found Tolstoy’s ability to articulate the the complex, layered feelings between characters remarkable. Have you ever loved and hated someone at the same time? Do you find it hard to write feelings that complex into your characters? I do. Tolstoy does it marvelously.

Best Writing-related Moments

  • The 2012 Breathe Conference. It was a lot of work and a lot of joy. It was a great weekend of Christian writers getting together, learning about the craft, and giving praise to God for it. We’re already planning the 2013 conference. Will you be there?
  • Finishing a short story for the “Write Michigan” contest. Public voting begins next week. I’ll let you know when you can read my story and (hopefully) vote for me!
  • Having my first article published on
  • Planning for “Jot: The GR Writers Mini-Conference” with my writers group, The Weaklings. More on this in the coming weeks!

Best of the non-writing or reading stuff

  • I experienced countless moments of joy with my wife and son in 2012. I love being a “family man.” I’m honored to get to share life with them.
  • I survived a difficult time of transition at work while Zondervan merges with Thomas Nelson. And I don’t just say “survived” because they kept me on the payroll, but because throughout all of the changes (which are difficult to manage) my team at work has seemed to grow stronger. I work with some amazing people.
  • Teaching drum lessons. I have one elementary-aged student right now who continually challenges me to teach the drum set more effectively. It’s an absolute blast!

Bands I listened to in 2012

I could list many. But this group includes the bands I think I spent the most hours listening to:

  • Coldplay
  • Mumford and Sons
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • The Foo Fighters
  • Mates of State
  • Stavesacre
  • and a lot of classic rock.

Looking ahead to 2013

What does this year hold in store? Here are a few things that I’m planning on:

  • Reading “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens
  • Publishing more non-fiction articles
  • Writing (and hopefully publishing) more short stories
  • Chipping away at “the goblin project”
  • The 2013 Breathe Conference
  • Listening to more of: The Lumineers, Eddie Vedder, and The Living End
  • Taking up drum lessons with another student

I hope 2013 is as sweet to you as 2012 was to me. Write strong!



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