A Writer’s Year in Review

Posted On Dec 29 2013 by


2013 was an especially unattractive year. I, personally, have gained back about 20 of the 40 pounds I lost a few years ago. My recent purchase of P90X3 should solve that problem, though the Kitchen Aid mixer ice-cream attachment I bought my wife for Christmas may present obstacles.

Moving right along, since my birthday falls at the end of the year, the Gregorian calendar lines up nicely with my life calendar. So I’ll present my annual report in tandem with my State of the Universe report.

The death of dystopian fiction was announced shortly after the movie release of Catching Fire. Romantic suspense, however, is still all the rage. Upon hearing the news, millions of expectant mothers crossed the names Katniss and Peeta off their baby names list and replaced them with Destiny and Chance.

Speaking of dystopian, the U.S. Congress passed a budget deal that cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die promised a $30billion reduction in their $1trillion deficit spending in ten years. Jubilant Americans, unburdened with the ability to perform basic math functions, praised the bi-partisan effort to accomplish nothing. When a tea partier from Raleigh, North Carolina, mentioned that the $17trillion debt had still gone untouched, he was immediately rushed off to Federal Hate Camp, where he is enjoying reruns of Six Feet Under while Maxine Waters reads classic North Korean bedtime stories to him each night.

My daughter Sydney completed her first year at the Culinary Institute of America. She’ll finish in February of 2014 and return home to set the cupcake world on its head. Andrew is a senior in high school. Despite legendary homework fights over his twelve year career, he has done well. This year, he only missed five assignments. Four because he is plagued with evil teachers who don’t announce homework and one because he was told the world would end in December. He was informed that the world ended last December, and that he’d overslept and missed it.

Author George R.R. Martin released book five of his Game of Thrones trilogy, capitalizing on America’s inability to count. Upon the announcement that A Dance With Dragons had been released in October, millions of teenagers lined up at video game stores. Rumor has it they’re still waiting.

Speaking of barbaric displays of debauchery and wanton murder, Miley Cyrus managed to slaughter both the image of Hannah Montana and the iconic bedtime symbol of the teddy bear all in one evening. The image was so shocking, apparently, that Anthony Weiner texted tsk tsk tsk to Bill Clinton, who didn’t immediately respond because was struggling to hit the DVR record button on his satellite receiver.

new-yorker-bert-ernieThe New Yorker, priding itself for being on the cutting edge of societal evolution, joined in the destruction of childhood icons by outing Bert and Ernie on the cover of its June 8th issue. Sesame Street producers applauded the move, stating that it would attract the lucrative demographic of twenty-something gay men with pre-schoolers, which, according to Barney Frank, accounts for 79% of the population. Sesame Street producers also announced that they’d follow up this glorious moment by revealing the sexual orientation of Big Bird by year’s end. Insiders speculate that it will be “All of the Above.”

Back on the home front, my first attempt at a heirloom garden produced mixed results. We discovered that the seed companies are serious about those frost zones and that 2mm plastic is precious little defense against twenty degree temps. After the re-plant, we were fairly successful with our mixed varieties. Our first time with tomatillos revealed that four plants will take over your raised bed gardens and provide enough ammo to keep the neighborhood kids happy for months of “summer snowball” fights. The zucchini apocalypse went fairly well. Though we suffered a major loss when overcome by patty pan squash. Several neighbors still pretend to be out when we show up on their doorstep.

The federal government shut down in October. No one cared. However, national parks and monuments were immediately roped off and guarded with federal employees making some great overtime cash. When a tea partier from Lincoln, Nebraska asked why the Vietnam Memorial, an outdoor structure of black (and weatherproof) marble, required federal employees to make it visible, she was immediately rushed off to Federal Hate Camp, where she is visited by Sesame Street characters who sing show tunes to her as she writes Yes We Can! one-hundred infinity times under CFL light bulbs.

IMG_0020Copper the border-terrier mix was attacked by the neighbor’s dog in April, requiring stitches and a week inside the cone of shame. He was attacked again by 3 German Shepherds as I walked him on December 12th, requiring many more stitches, staples, and of course, the cone of shame, which he still wears. The veterinarians did determine that our dog is actually bacon-flavored and suggested we rename him “Lucky.” After several weeks of winter weather and a dog who hasn’t quite mastered his head gear, we have dismissed that suggestion and settled on his new street name, “Sno-Cone.”

Major publishing houses are dismissing the self-published e-book trend as “just a fad.” Writers are encouraged to submit their work via traditional means, where their odds of publication are even better than a balanced federal budget in 2014. Thus encouraged, millions of aspiring novelists stocked up on ammo and canned goods and went back to work on their dystopian novels. Many have married their cover artists. Thanks to recent Supreme Court rulings, they were also allowed to keep their current spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, zoological classification, or Muppet status.

The Orwellian-named Affordable Healthcare Act was launched, postponed, re-launched, apologized for, delayed, and labeled the greatest success in the history of historical stuff. After the failure of a $174million website, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius quickly sought out the help of two Oxford High School freshmen who launched a new site in between games of Grand Theft Auto. Total payment for the new Healthcare.org website came to two large pizzas from Little Caesar’s and Skype time with Bristol Palin.

My launch of the 52 Books Challenge is even more successful than the AHA website. I had 63 “likes” by the end of the first week with no one left on hold. So feel free to join me. But if you like your current facebook page, you can keep it.

May your 2014 be blessed and may all your dystopian fantasies come true…oh, wait, that was 2013.


Yes, you can read 52 books in 2014! Join the challenge. “Like” our facebook page today. Authors, we need your books. Donate a copy for a weekly give-away, talk it up on this here blog, and I’ll leave your photo-link up all year. And tout the 52 Books Challenge on your website as well! It’s all about getting people reading and connecting them with their favorite authors!

E-mail me at rmestrada@ameritech.net if you’d like to donate a book.


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Last Updated on: December 30th, 2013 at 10:33 am, by Ron

Written by Ron

Just about everything I believe has been shaped by the written word. But books don't force a belief; they stir the imagination so that you, the reader, eventually draw your own conclusions. We grow richer in spirit when we read, deeper in our understanding of the universe and our role in it. That's why I read. That's why I write. To offer you a bit of myself. Come along on my journey, won't you? There's plenty of room.

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