Most notable was flying back to the States this past spring. Not only did I get to go home and see family and friends, but the trip also coincided with my first book, a short story collection called A Robe of Feathers and Other Stories, being published by Counterpoint Press LLC.
I also had my first ever book signing at the Bookworm in Omaha. That event went better than I ever could have imagined. People showed up, lots of people--old friends and teachers, favorite doctors and distant relatives. Even kind strangers. The staff were amazing and the books sold out. I don't recall a word of what I said or how I answered questions. I might have just sat there and drooled the whole time. I don't know. All I remember is the incredible high that lasted until almost the end of September.
The third whopper of a dream was flying to New York City and meeting my fabulous agent, Ethan Ellenberg. I can honestly say I was more nervous meeting him than reading and answering questions in front of a hundred or so people. It was a whole we're-not-in-Kansas-anymore moment and I am still carrying with me the inspiration I garnered from him.
Look J, the back of my mom's head and is that Elvis?
After all of that it was a bit of a downer when J and I returned to Japan only to be quarantined for 10-days because they feared we had H1N1. Although the people who called us daily asking how we felt and explaining that if we had to cough we should cover our mouths were nice enough.
From June it was pretty much a lazy slide into Christmas.
Oh, there was a highlight in November when I went to Osaka to do a reading at a Four Stories event. Again, the people were awesome. The vibe was surreal. Three of my best Shizuoka friends went to support me and I just can't tell them how much that meant to me. I also met an online buddy who was so way cool that it felt like hooking up with a long-time friend.
Still as wonderful as 2009 was, I'm looking forward to next year. I've gotten rid of some baggage, rearranged my priorities, and am really hoping to be a creative, productive force of nature. Okay, maybe force of nature is a little ambitious. Fingers crossed for another book published.
I wanted to thank all the Kappa no He readers, subscribers and followers. I hope each and everyone of you have a New Year filled with health and wealth and happiness.
2010 is the Year of the Tiger. Here is a New Year's postcard I painted. I was going to send these out this year, but I couldn't successfully reproduce the tiger. It warped into some horse-rat looking creature.
Tomorrow I'll post the card I did end up sending out.
Good bye, 2009. I'll miss you.