My 47th year was a pretty productive one: Three books of mine were published (The Dispatcher, in both audio and print; Miniatures; and of course The Collapsing Empire), one video game I worked on was released (Midnight Star: Renegade), I toured all around the country and saw lots of people, I had some work optioned and even won an award in Israel. Not bad. More importantly, I got to spend another year with my wife and child and with friends, all of whom I cherish beyond measure, and who have made my personal life full and wonderful.

There was that election. But, look. You can’t pin that one on me.

I have plans and ambitions for my 48th year, which outside that which you probably already know (i.e., write a whole bunch of books) I’m going to keep to myself for now. But in the spirit of commemorating the day, if you feel inclined to mark my birthday, in lieu of gifts, please consider doing the following:

1. Be decent to each other, as much as you can.

2. Be mindful of the people you care about. They’re going to need your help, and you might need theirs.

3. Donate locally, and donate critically. There are people in your own neighborhoods who could use a hand up, especially now. Also, our nation is going to need people to defend rights and principles other people seem in a rush to strip and junk. To the extent you can, give.

4. Look up from the news every once in a while and give yourself a break. This is one I especially need to remember, so I figure the rest of you could use that reminder as well. I think people can and should be engaged in the world, now more than ever. But it’s also important to know when you need to rest, so you can be more effective when you come back to it.

5. Take care of yourself. You’re not getting any younger, you know. Do things that give you joy, with people you like and love. It’s more important than you might think.

And that’s what I have for you today, on my 48th birthday. I’m looking forward to the next year.

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