My 2016: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times by Tracy Diane Miller

Charles Dickens wrote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” in his literary classic “A Tale of Two Cities.” Usually I would select a Shakespeare quote for my theme to reflect upon my year, but Dickens’ words more appropriately describe 2016 for me.

In January, 2016, I started my blog “Life is a walking shadow.” The title is a spin on Shakespeare. My web site creation skills are far below most people; the trial and error (mostly error) approach is more attuned to my computer abilities. Surprisingly, though, word press has been kind to me. I wanted my blog to be primarily devoted to my writing and my support of the creative artistry of others. Life is a learning process full of discovery just as I always felt was an advantage of writing. Introspection is a good thing. For someone like myself who is 1% social and 99% a practitioner of solitude, a blog was perfect.

My blog is devoted to my poetry, book and music reviews and articles. I don’t follow a prescribed formula when I write. My overworked Muse is my touchstone and to paraphrase the opening theme of “Gilmore Girls” : “Where my Muse leads, I will follow. Anywhere. That she tells me to.”

My first blog post on January 8, 2016 was a birthday poem for Genevieve Padalecki. Also in January, I began my challenge of writing a poem for every single Supernatural episode from The Pilot through its current 12th season. My 3000 poems that I have written as of today include the over 244 episode poems that I’ve written about Supernatural as well as a multitude of poems that I’ve written for others. In September, I added Gilmore Girls poetry to my mix when I published my Gilmore Girls poetry book, “Where You Lead, I Will Follow: A collection of Gilmore Girls poetry.”

On February 27, 2016, I became a contributing writer for The Nerdy Girl Express, an online magazine. Writing for The Nerdy Girl Express has been a tremendous blessing. I wanted to write for an online magazine and The Nerdy Girl Express has been a creative godsend. The writing team is a small and diverse group. We support each other’s distinctive writing voice. When Erin, Erica and Katherine founded The Nerdy Girl Express on October 31, 2015, the publication was the brainchild of three friends who had a passion for the television show iZombie and wrote articles exclusively devoted to that show. Today, The Nerdy Girl Express has grown; it covers many current and past television shows, movies and books. We have interviewed a slew of actors, authors, directors, musicians and others. I am especially grateful that The Nerdy Girl Express took a chance on me: a poet, Shakespeare aficionado and passionate book lover whose attitude and personal style is completely outside of the social media mainstream.

Further, as a contributing writer for The Nerdy Girl Express, I fulfilled a long time dream: I interviewed Dynasty alum Gordon Thomson on Monday, July 18, 2016. I still can’t believe that I talked to my oldest living favorite actor on the phone for an hour and a half! It took me 27 years (I briefly met Gordon on Saturday, February 4, 1989 at the Variety Club Telethon in Philadelphia), but thanks to The Nerdy Girl Express, I was given a wonderful memory. For the 17 year old girl that I was back in 1982 to the 51 year old woman that I am today, I feel as though I have come full circle.

In addition, this past February, I decided to write my poetry book inspired by Jared Padalecki and his Always Keep Fighting campaign that brings awareness, seeks to end the stigma and has been a global phenomenon uniting people suffering from anxiety and depression. My book, “I am not invisible: Always Keep Fighting poetry inspired by Jared Padalecki & others,” was published on July 19, 2016.

In March, 2016, I also decided to publish a poetry book in honor of Nicki Aycox. My very first published poetry book was “My Secret has beautiful wings: A collection of poetry for Nicki Aycox. This book was published on May 21, 2016. On December 1, 2016, I published my second poetry book written for Nicki Aycox- “About a girl: A celebration of the creative artistry of Nicki Aycox.”

I have been a fan of Nicki’s work for over 16 years. While social media is my example of my best and worst times, I credit Nicki for giving me my best times. When she transitioned into the indie music scene with the release of her debut EP Red Velvet Room on August 28, 2015, fans who knew her acting work were introduced to an inspiring musical artist. Nicki embraces her lyrical and instrumental ability to unite people through music. A special highlight of my 2016 was interviewing Nicki about Red Velvet Room and her musical journey. I’m looking forward to seeing where Nicki goes with her music in 2017.

From May through December, I have been busy writing and publishing more poetry books. I will end 2016 with 26 published poetry books. My last book of 2016, “Must Give Us Pause: Selected poems by Tracy Miller,” will be released on December 25, 2016.

In November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month. While I fell short of my quest to write 50,000 for the 30 days in November, I did end the month with a respectable 40,266 words. This novel writing effort resulted in the first draft of my first novel, “Tomorrow Doesn’t Exist.” Tomorrow Doesn’t Exist will be published on December 25, 2017.

These were my best of times.

My worst of times, sadly, is my mental and emotional break on November 11th. I won’t go into specifics except to say that I did lose a battle in my 26 year war with depression. I felt as if I was watching this stranger go through a bizarre experience. Only thing is: I was the stranger and all I could do was stand back helplessly and see myself break apart.

I still have a long way to go to live life again rather than feel like I’m getting through my days.

I have taken some small steps in trying to make 2017 better. Clearly, I have no delusions that I can orchestrate the events in my life. Only God can do that. The most I can do is to listen more attentively to my instincts.

I am me. I am different from most people. I always have been. To enjoy “the best of times” in 2017, I just need to pay more attention to me to avoid as much heartache as possible.