Happy New Year 2018! I don’t know about you but I’m ready to ring in a brand new year. This last year was a killer—not just for me but for so many people who are living in crises, fear, homelessness, and hopelessness, which is the worst of all. Our country has shaken many of us to the core: I have never experienced the hatred of Americans against Americans. The cracks have revealed ugly crevices of hatred and fear that I certainly never wanted to believe were there.
I have never lived in a more divisive country. I have been ashamed to be an American, which is something because I was born in a country that has few freedoms and I’ve always appreciated that my mother, a U.S. citizen from birth, whisked us away from Egypt when I was but two years old. She wanted me to live a life in a free and open society. I will always be grateful to her for that.
I think of my mother now because she died one year ago tomorrow on January 1, 2017. Not a great way to welcome a new year; it was a rocky start. Other losses occurred but none as profound as that. I could mention all of those but I’d rather talk about hope for the future, as it does exist for all of us, as Americans and as individuals.
I grew stronger in 2017. I have more resolve and tools to ward off the debilitating depressive episodes that darken my life like an omnipresent rainy day. I’ll fight to fight those demons before they take hold, as they did this fall. Unfortunately, that left me emotionally paralyzed to a point where I wasn’t writing. That has now changed. I’m working on two projects as I fight my way into 2018.
I accomplished a dream. I wrote my first novel (though not my first book), The Purified, which is far from perfect but I am proud of it. It’s a good story and I know my next book will be better as will the one that follows it. I have had to delay the follow-up novel, The Deceived, due to the depression I had in the fall of 2017. But life goes on: You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and continue fighting, right?
The greatest gift is learning. I hope we can all take a few pages out of 2017 and remember what our real American values are. I hope many will join me in making our country a more palatable place in fighting for the middle class and poor in real ways.
Here’s to a Blue Tsunami in 2018.