A Typically Hackneyed End of Year Sum It All Up Post

Hey kittens! It’s been far too long since I dropped some knowledge here in the bloggy vineyard. The wait for knowledge will, alas, continue, but there are a few things to talk about as we wrap up the 2016 calendar.

First off, and maybe biggest: we’ve (you and me) amassed a little more than $4000 towards my travel expenses for the Uganda/RUTF project. Massive gratitude to everyone who donated, and big props to pal Doug Blackburn who put together a terrific piece for the Tallahassee Democrat to give this project wider exposure.

As of last week, we are targeting mid-February for the journey. We had hoped to go in October, then November. We are at the mercy of the NGO we are traveling with and the conditions on the ground in Africa. I am about to crawl out of my skin with anticipation.

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It’s been quite a year in the vineyard, even though the blog frequency has been, uhm, infrequent. Mea culpa. Life has been full, and I’ve had the great luck to place two pieces in The Bitter Southerner in 2016, one of them included in their Best Stories of 2016 roundup. Attention ho that I am, I am extremely proud and honored, especially when you think of the consistently amazing writing they serve up all year long.

The ridiculously long piece on New Orleans and the Panorama Jazz/Brass Band and the merely-absurdly long piece on Hearty White were true labors of love. The opportunity to stretch out and tell stories about places and people that I love is one of the year’s great blessings for me. Hard to thank the BS crew enough, especially Chuck Reece, for letting me ramble at length. And now there’s another piece in the pipeline for the Bitter crowd, one that will be either longer or shorter than the Hearty piece, but definitely shorter than the NOLA ramble.<fn>btw, I’ve started looking at how I might expand the NOLA material into a book. Anybody knows a publisher or a deep-pocketed benefactor, please send her my way.</fn>

And bigly: Judy invited me to collaborate on her new Comma project. Look at me, Ma! I’m in the Academy!

I’m also deep into the research on the Uganda project and have begun sketching out some fiction projects that are either short stories or novels or perhaps a multi-volume epic that will make me richer than George JK Rowling Martin.

Hey, kidz! Let’s get interactive. Take this poll to help me decide which fiction project to tackle first.

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Vote. It’s important.

On top of all that, some fairly challenging and satisfying corporate ‘ho type work that has been fun and rewarding. Hey, a guy has to eat.

And on top of that topper, a couple of really cool music projects in the first half of the year kept me hopping. Most notable of these was the Edgewood Big Band project led by my pal Jeff Crompton (pictured up top). Fortunately, this beast will rise again in 2017, with at least one ATL performance already on the books.

Here’s a taste of EBB in action. Really excited about this next go round.

There’s more over at Jeff’s SoundCloud page if you get the hankering.

So, yeah, I’ve been as busy as a one-armed wallpaper hanger with the hives. And the blog has suffered neglect. But I’m back, bitches. Plans for the next year include regular visits to the vineyard. I hear we have a new Preznit to look after.

Other plans for the year? They’re yooooge, the best plans anyone has ever had, you really aren’t gonna believe them. Suffice to say it means lots of scribbling, lots of string tickling, and lots of walking.

We may be in a world of hurt with the Orange Haired Thin Skinned Pencil Dick in charge, but there is still Shit. To. Be. Done.

Who’s with me?