The Mind Reels

With only a few days remaining for last-minute surprises, 2008 has been one for the books on so many levels — personally, professionally, globally — the mind truly does reel.

And reels, and reels, and reels… perhaps somehow what I imagine bonefishing might be like?

(h/t to one of my newfound loves of the year, Garden & Gun.)

But I digress. Kind of.

On January 1st of this year, I posted a brief recap of 2007 and a to-do list for 2008, the latter of which I predictably missed the mark on by a mile. Perhaps because 2007 had been a year defined by so much transition, my focus was more internal, and nowhere on that list is there any hint of what 2008 actually had in store, from becoming a new (first-time) homeowner to taking two huge steps forward in my career.

In the midst of it all, this blog went from an intense flurry of passionate political punditry to a, once-again somewhat unfocused and occasional mix of publishing, poetry, politics and pop culture. Plus, I attempted to add a more personal, anonymous blog to the mix to talk about our life as new homeowners which I’ve discontinued and rolled into this site. (“Bloomfield” tag will get you all of them.) I’m okay with that, though, as my primary goal for this blog has always been more selfish than anything else, a place for me to keep the creative juices flowing in the most rudimentary of ways by offering an outlet, when necessary, for whatever’s running through my head, and my intent at the beginning of the year was to consolidate my “platform” anyway.

But I’m rambling again…

5 Random 2008 Highlights

Beyond the new house and town, my wonderful family, the unexpected trip through hyperspace my career took, and of course, President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama…

1) Garden & Gun: My mother’s originally from the Deep South, and as a kid, I spent a few summers in Baton Rouge, LA, during one of which I developed a Southern twang that sneaks out whenever I’ve had a few drinks or get really excited. G&G captures the essence of Southern culture, unabashedly, and does so without engaging in its negative stereotypes or ignoring its difficult past, and by expanding the borders of the South to include the Carribbean, which includes my father’s Puerto Rican side of the family in the mix. It’s one of the best written and most beautifully designed magazines being published right now and I devour every issue from cover to cover as soon as I get my hands on it.

1) Adele, 19: Back in the most dismal depths of 2002, I got through the worst of it thanks to Pink and Nelly Furtado. This past month, Adele has served a similar purpose, though more jet ski than life preserver, and 19 has become one of my all-time favorite albums and hands-down favorite of the year. We first saw her on Saturday Night Live and Salomé got caught up first but I think I’ve now listened to her album twice as many times and still have it on heavy rotation on my MP3 player. I even left her album playing all day on my computer to maximize her influence on my last.fm recommendations. Buy it, set to shuffle/repeat, and enjoy.

1) Chad Pennington: I wasn’t thrilled with Brett Favre coming to the Jets and said so as soon as the deal was official, declaring my ambivalence about a potential playoff run by a revamped Jets team that wasn’t led by Pennington. When he signed with the hated Dolphins, I was conflicted, and watched the game in Week 1 come down to the wire with mixed emotions. As the season wore on and Favre wore down, I kept expecting the over-achieving Dolphins to stumble and make next weekend’s game one of pride, not consequence. That Pennington has a chance to not only cap a historic turnaround and make the playoffs, but to send Favre permanently into retirement, put Mangini on the unemployment line and Tannenbaum on notice, is more than I ever dreamed of. If you had EVER told me that I’d one day be cheering for the Dolphins to beat the Jets with a playoff spot on the line, I’d have told you that you were crazy, but that’s exactly what I’ll be doing this Sunday at 4pm. C! H! A! D! Chad! Chad! Chad!

1) Editor Unleashed: One of things I’d hoped to do with this site at the beginning of the year was to put my experiences to good use as a mentor and offer editorial, marketing and site design services to writers, some things for free, some potentially for pay. That idea, of course, never got off the ground. Editor Unleashed, though, is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind, only much better and immensely more invaluable for aspiring writers, especially those of fiction and non-fiction. (Sorry poets, but Robert Lee Brewer is holding it down pretty solid for y’all at Poetic Asides.)  EU = Maria Schneider, the former editor of Writer’s Digest, whom I had the pleasure of working with for about a year-and-a-half before she struck out on her own and I moved on and became a, um, garden tool. What she’s done with the site in such a short time is nothing short of amazing, and I strongly urge every one of you wannabe and kinda-sorta writers reading this to get over there, check out the site, sign up for the forum and become a member of the community. I guarantee that you’ll be challenged, inspired and motivated.

1) Spindle: Despite the hiccups that left it dormant for the second half of the year, I am incredibly proud of what I did with it and am eternally grateful to all those who contributed their work, feedback and, in some cases, cash, to making it real. It’s not dead, simply on hiatus because life got too crazy for anything not directly related to work or family, but it will be back in 2009 with a vengeance. That’s not a resolution, that’s a promise.

Happy holidays and best wishes for a happy, healthy new year.

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Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, one-time poet, still opinionated. Reading, writing, running, gaming, soccer, beer.

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