In my Facebook memories, I saw a meme my mother did in 2011 looking back every ten years as to where her life was. I thought that might be worth doing for me this year, especially given what a big year 1998 was for me.
2018: I’ll be turning 49 in April. My brother-in-law who lived with us died suddenly to start the year, and it’s put a pall on most everything, but we’re managing. My career is doing better than it has in a long time, and (death of Dale notwithstanding) my personal life is also fantastic.
2008: I turned 39. Terri and I were trying to make our relationship work and utterly failing. We even considered getting married, which wound up not happening (thank goodness). I was, however, energized by the presidential election, which was fascinating to watch and had a great end, as we got our first non-white president (and didn’t get Sarah Palin as veep!). I got my brown belt in February, four novels came out that year (Star Trek: Klingon Empire: A Burning House, A Gutted World in Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Echoes & Refractions, CSI: NY: Four Walls, and Supernatural: Bone Key, which I think is the best of the three Supernatural books I wrote), as did the Doctor Who anthology I edited, The Quality of Leadership (still one of my proudest accomplishments). That year ended with a financial crash that resulted in several editors getting laid off in December, effectively ending a fruitful decade-long relationship with Simon & Schuster that has (among other things) kept me away from Star Trek fiction for the past decade — but it was also the year I started doing Farscape comics for BOOM! Studios, a project that would be the highlight of my writing career for the next three years.
1998: I turned 29. I quit my day job to go freelance full-time, with the full support of my then-wife Marina, who was making a six-figure salary, so we had a cushion. Luckily, we didn’t need it, as I made more money freelancing than I did in my editorial job with occasional freelance and everything turned out great. We lived in an amazing apartment on the upper west side, several bits of my writing were published (my first two novels, Gargantua and Spider-Man: Venom’s Wrath, short stories in Did You Say Chicks!? and The Ultimate Hulk, and collaborating with Christopher Golden & Nancy Holder on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Watchers Guide), and my career as a writer seriously kicked into high gear.
1988: I turned 19. I was a sophomore and junior at Fordham University. My relationship with Marina, whom I’d met the previous May, was going swimmingly. I had taken over as arts editor of the paper, which had opened up my eyes to the possibilities of editing as a profession after graduation which would, if nothing else, give me a steady job while I tried to get my writing career going. That was the year my paternal grandfather died. The previous fall, my parents had taken in my best friend John Drew who had had an argument with his parents and gotten kicked out. In the summer of 1988, we were given the opportunity to house sit a place in Queens for the summer months, and we took advantage. It was our first time living on our own, and it was fantastic. A great experience for both of us. I also got promoted from a senior page at the New York Public Library to a Library Technical Assistant II, an actual salaried position.
1978: I turned nine. I attended New Rochelle Academy, a private school that no longer exists. I was in fourth grade, and had one of my grandest moments on a stage, as I, a nine-year-old, played Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, under the able direction of the great Marie Captain (who had cast me as Admiral Corcoran in HMS Pinafore the year before). That meant I actually performed “Model of a Modern Major-General.” It was pretty fantastic. Unfortunately, Marie was let go that summer, and her replacement in the fall was less impressive, though he did continue the tradition of doing Gilbert & Sullivan plays, and we did The Gondoliers. Marie would go on to form the Westchester Children’s Theatre Workshop, in which I continued to participate, performing in The Music Man, Oklahoma!, and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.