2020 Year in Review

Ouch. This is a post I’ve put off writing for more than nine months because 2020 was so personally and professionally painful. These review posts are important for accountability and self-assessment.

There were some highlights; let’s start with those:

I rewrote my twelve-episode web series, Calliope, tailoring it to the pandemic, and shot it with Tina Uyeno (and her roommates) and released it on Facebook and YouTube. [1]

Stephanie Keiko Kong and I wrote a new play, Enigma, that was thematically and structurally tailored to the pandemic. We co-directed the production for TAG—The Actors’ Group. [2]

With Kathryn Lee, I wrote a short, fun book on the care and feeding of succulents for our new business, Succulent Geeks. [3]

Significantly, all of those projects were collaborations. I’ve expressed mixed feelings about collaborating with other writers in the past, but in 2020 that was the only way I managed to get anything done. More positively, those collaborations were the highlights of my year. I’m going to have to revisit my thoughts on collaborations.

As for the negatives, well, I won’t bore you with those. The pandemic was awful. (Is still awful.) You know. You were there.

Onwards and upwards.

2020 verdict: worst year ever

2020 writer earnings: $0 [4]


[1] Technically my actors shot it as they were all in Oregon. They set up the cameras and lights, and I directed via Zoom. You can watch Calliope on YouTube. Each episode is about two minutes long.

[2] Thematically, Engima is about identity and isolation, specifically how isolation distorts your sense of self. Structurally, the play was designed for Covid conditions, with a single actor onstage and two other actors (safely isolated) playing offstage voices.

Even though the play was presented streaming on YouTube, it’s no longer available online. You can get a sense of it in this short interview Stephanie and I did for Todd Sullivan.

[3] Buy Elements of Succulent Success for Beginners and Black Thumbs here! Also included in the Indoor Succulent Rescue Kit.

[4] To add insult to injury, the one paying project I had lined up for 2020—a novella-length, interactive story called Copper Canyon—got cancelled when the publisher pivoted away from interactive fiction after I’d already finished the writing. They paid me a generous kill fee, so no hard feelings, and I was more in it for the publication opportunity and professional credit. Still … disappointing. Since I’m writing this so late in the year, I can add that I eventually submitted it to the 2021 SpringThing Festival of Interactive Fiction, where it received some nice recognition. You can play Copper Canyon here.

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