2017 was one of those years, wasn't it? One of those years where the horror and heartbreak and anger just sort of boiled over in every direction. I find years like these to be an exercise in mindfulness. You have to focus on the good, or else the darkness will just consume you and render you powerless, but that doesn't mean you should ignore the bad. No, quite the opposite. You need to find ways to counter the darkness as best you can, without surrendering your power to it, without giving it control over your life ... without letting it define who you are. You find the most effective ways to say no, over and over again, until it sticks, but you try not to flail from blood-boiling tweet to tweet, because that becomes an exercise in paralysis, which helps no one. You try to move and act with purpose, to remind yourself why you are reacting the way you are. You try to remember what you value. You try to focus on who and what you love.
It's a new year. So far, Lea and I have a pair of new ferrets, Cisco and Lettie, and saw two friends get married in one of the coolest weddings we've attended. I have projects ahead, some of them absolutely insane. I try to focus on the people and things that I love, and try to remember why I do the things to do. I try to remember that joy is a revolutionary act, that the world is far bigger, more beautiful and more amazing than the people who try to scare you into inaction would have you believe.
Over the past few years, my year-end music stories have become among the favorite parts of my job. I love having a chance to look over all the music I've listened to over the course of a year, to realize what's stuck with me, or which I didn't give enough of a chance to, or which I missed entirely. I'm blessed in that I get to cover some amazing and talented people, and I never cease to be amazed at how the New England music scene tops itself, over and over again. This year, the quantum leap belonged to Worcester hip-hop – which emerged into the light after years of being an underground scene with an enormous amount of potential. I've been enjoying watching those artists step up, over and over again, and can't wait to see what they do next.
That done, I'm back to carte blanche. I have only the slightest idea what's ahead musically for the region, but I'm terribly, terribly excited to find out.
Writers, by and large, are specialists. They write poetry, or journalism, or fiction ... and maybe they dabble here and there, but mostly, they have their thing. And those things are enormously deep wells that you can almost never exhaust, so why diversify? Me, I'm a generalist. It's a mixed blessing ... sometimes I think my not buckling down on one discipline has diluted my focus, and perhaps prevented me from going as far as I'm capable with any one genre. But eh. I've done OK for myself, and I've learned a lot about writing that specialists might never know, and I like to think that the process of stretching myself has made me a stronger writer, overall.
It was this sort of thinking that brought me to The Gauntlet, a game we'll be running over on Radius this year, wherein we're challenging participants to complete tasks in numerous different writing disciplines. I have to admit, I'm surprised by how much enthusiasm the game has been met with, but if it's encouraging people both to write more and to think differently about how they write, than I'm very, very pleased.
My first reading of 2018 will be in honor of my 46th birthday!, for the new Listen! series Sundays at Nick's Bar and Restaurant, haunted by Dave Macpherson! Hoping to have a mix of old and new stuff:
Victor D. Infante reads for Listen!
Nick's Bar and Restaurant
124 Millbury St.
Worcester, MA, 01601
Also on the horizon, keep an eye out for the release party for the third volume of the Murder Ink anthology series, featuring my short story, Just Another Murder in Summer. And there's something called the Midnight Mystery cabaret afoot. Details to come ....