The New Year has come, for many marking the end to the difficult year that was 2020 and a gateway into some magical temporal realm of 2021. A world where Trump peacefully steps aside taking his cave troll minions with him, Covid quietly goes away, the economy springs back up after being pushed under by lockdowns, and the clock rewinds to better times. Only those better times – a somewhat bubbly recovery from the Great Recession and a slew of social issues that were swept under the rug – were only a prologue to the grand shitstorm that has been the last four years, so I’m not so sure a Great Rewind is what we need.
But whatever. Ain’t my business. I live as an outsider. A place where I can rest back on my outsiderness and slide away from any responsibility that society would like to shoulder on me. Georgians don’t like it when foreigners complain, and fine. No complaints = no responsibility. I can live a quiet life, relatively free from the familial, economic, and ethnic struggles that other locals have to deal with on a daily basis.
THE BAD STUFF
Covid didn’t affect me personally, thank goodness. I know several people here and abroad who lost parents, and also suffered the long form themselves (and still suffer from it). Sounds nasty. I know a lot of people who just felt it was a cold, or it hit like a vicious, month-long flu, and another guy who just couldn’t taste stuff for two weeks and that was it. Never mind all the people who lost their jobs and businesses, since most of the people I know are in the service industry.
2020 is a favorite bar since forced to move, and an empty stage waiting for me to play
We were extra careful in our distancing, having a child and living alone as we do, so we were never inflicted ourselves. Despite how “safe” it is for children, it was a new and madly contagious virus that doctors and scientists knew jack all about, so better safe than sorry when risking my young one’s life.
My parents were set to come in March, but with the lockdown, that plan was scuttered. Turkish canceled their flights and my folks got a refund. Hopefully, they’ll be able to come this year. But again, better safe than sorry. They’re older folks, my dad has had his issues with cancer, my mom was a lifelong smoker. Why risk it? We can wait a year, or even two if necessary. Technology now makes “visiting” so much easier anyway, and even with Covid my baby is probably spending more time with his grandparents than otherwise.
A GOOD YEAR
I’ll be honest, 2020 was a great year for outsiders and introverts. For any used to isolation, the lockdowns and distancing weren’t such a big things. A gift even. A reason not to go out. A reason to focus on projects that you can do at home, that you’ve been wanting to spend time doing for a long time. My biggest sacrifice was that I had to give up boozing so much – something I was forced to deal with having a baby anyway. Coming home after late nights drunk and tending to a hangover the next morning with a baby crawling and running around your head certainly doesn’t feel right. It’s certainly a thing single, childless people don’t understand, but oh well.
Of course, the most obvious way that Covid has been a kind of blessing is that for my baby, Vato, he's been able to have both of his parents home at all times for the first year of his life. As stressful as managing his temper tantrums over wanting coffee cups he's not allowed to play with, it no doubt has its positive impacts on the boy. And for us of course, too, as we've both been around to watch his first crawling, his first steps, his first words ("Deda", which is "Mom" in Georgian, and "duck" in English – yet no mention of Dad, but so it goes).
It was just before the first wave of lockdowns when the greatest stroke of luck hit me. A writing job practically landed into my lap and I was able to free myself of classroom time. The music and sound design company, Dynamedion, hired me to do copy and editing for one of their brands, www.createmusic.com. I now write all the blogs there, and help with the copy of all their other brands as well. And it’s been a great job. Great team, great product, everything is great. I’ve been able to spend time doing what I love: writing and researching about music and film production.
The second big thing to happen to me was getting involved in a short story collection called Eurasian Monsters. It’s the finale in a series about folk monsters from different countries of the world. My story takes place in Georgia, focusing on two Georgian creatures: the kudiani and Rokap. Check that out from Amazon (link to the left).
I’ve been getting a lot better at music production, and decided that now it was time to release another album. This one is primarily psytrance and drumnbass, but with some random entries as well. My main electronic music project these days is Avgust1ne, and you can check out the tracks on Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes.
A taste from the album:
My live music has obviously taken a hit. And I'm not sure it's telling that I'm more successful recording things at home than playing live. Whatever. I can't wait to get back into bars playing live gigs, once I can be sure it doesn't put my kid or family in any kind of danger.
The final blessing of 2020, came as in an operation long in the process. I met Mark Rein-Hagen, the guy behind the games Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse a long time ago. He had coincidentally enough moved to Tbilisi about a decade and a half before, and we ended up having a lot of shared friends. A couple of years back, he dropped to me the idea of creating another game world. A couple of gaming sessions and two years later, he had a full team working on it, and I came back in on the fiction side of things. Now I’ll be teaming up with him for the first series of LostLorn novels. Check out their Patreon page here.
A NEW ERA
The economy is inevitably changing. If anything, this pandemic situation, and future ones, are going to push us into the future. Things will be reshuffled. For better or worse. We’ll be more reliant on technology, which means we’re going to see another technological revolution coming before us. With Musk’s Internet satellites going into place and Zoom meetings happening all over the globe, the pandemic didn’t just isolate us, it has also broken down many borders and opened up a slew of new opportunities for those willing to see them and take them.
There is obviously a great deal of calamity lurking in the corners. We’ve never seen a concentration of wealth to this degree, and historically, concentrations of wealth are direct preludes to political instability – which I think if anyone looks at the governments around the world, that’s pretty clear. But hopefully we can collectively weather that storm (or ride it, depending on what’s necessary).
Anyway, looking ahead, we shouldn't remember all things behind us only for the bad. Find the good things that happened over last year, and remember it for that. Good things are among us, you only have to open your eyes to see them. And yes, I absolutely say that from a seat of privilege: Good things have indeed been all around me this year. But I can share and recognize them precisely because I've chosen to see them and to focus on them.
A FACETIOUS GUIDE
I’ll still have some element of travel blogs. But as my own interests and successes are greatly expanding outside of travel, I’d rather just include all of that and some random life observations. I’ve dropped my personal webpage in favor of my Saint Facetious handle, which has stuck with me for over ten years and it’ll continue it on as my personal brand. So expect some changes in that regards.