You know what, 50 was a pretty good year overall. Not for the world, sorry; for the world the last 366 days have been a bit shit, and while I’m not really responsible for any of that I still regret that we all had to slog through that. But for me — pretty reasonable! I got myself into the shape I wanted to be in, I wrote a book and a novella and some other things, got to see friends and spent time with family and pets, and popped up into the NYT Bestseller list near the end of it. There were ups and downs in there, but there are always ups and downs. In the end, however, for me, everything tootled along nicely. The enforced sequestration of the entire planet has certainly been a thing, but that’s definitely not just me dealing with that.

I have apprehensions about what the next 365 days will bring. There virus is still out there, despite our national and various state governments wanting very hard to pretend it isn’t, and I don’t think our world economy is just going to spring back as if nothing happened (in no small part due to the fact that the virus is still out there). I think we’re all dancing as fast as we can at the moment, trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. I don’t think any of us really know. We’re going to find out. Oh, and also, there’s an election in November. Plan ahead, please. Like, right now.

For all that, I personally feel okay going into the next year. Ultimately I am a fairly optimistic person — or at least, if not optimistic, then curious. I want to find out where the story goes from here. I always have. Maybe that’s why I became a writer. I have my own plans as well, world and time allowing. I’m looking forward to getting to it.

35 Comments on “51”

  1. Happy Birthday John. Hope you have a great birthday. I’m currently sitting at 58 which doesn’t feel much different from 51. Stay safe and healthy and you’ll celebrate many more.

  2. Happy Birthday, John. I am glad you were born as your books provide welcome respite from the real world as well as reflections of keen insight. You are inventive, thoughtful, and write compelling stories. Please keep it up!

  3. Happy Birthday, John. I much appreciate reading your thoughts here and in your books and hope to continue enjoying your writing for decades to come. Although if you choose to do other things in those decades, enjoy away–it makes me smile to think of Bill Watterson off painting somewhere.

  4. That’s a fine portrait, worthy of a postage stamp. But it’s never gonna outsell cat pictures.

    Happy birthday!

  5. Happy birthday to you! And well done with your achievements and milestones. Wishing you all success in the year ahead.

  6. Happy birthday. I’m sorry your book tour had to be canceled though of course I understand, because I could have told you in person that you bring me joy. I’m glad you’re alive, now, here with us.

    From the person you totally named Marce Clairmont after. (I know this to be true, you said so when I told you to.)

  7. Many Happy Returns! Stay healthy and happy, and please keep those great books coming. I’m currently re-reading your entire catalog for the 3rd time (just finished Agent to the Stars) and I’m loving every second of it!

  8. Also, not to steal your birthday thunder, but Happy Mother’s Day to Krissy!!

  9. More birthday greetings from here, and best wishes, and thanks for your oeuvre. .

  10. Happy Birthday John. My 50th was last Saturday and it was the worst birthday I’ve ever had.
    Couldn’t hug my kids(adult kids) or my parents and all the well wishers were texts or facebook posts.

  11. Happy Birthday! It’s nice to hear you appreciate who you’ve become and the people with whom you’ve surrounded yourself. Those are the best of gifts.

  12. Reader request! Maybe viruses were put here by aliens to help the planet earth.

  13. Happy birthday (from a random person…but hopefully still not entirely worthless)! Your writing, here and elsewhere, has helped me become a better human, and generally makes my day better. I’m happy that you’re safe, healthy, and surrounded by loved ones.

  14. Happy Birthday! Always appreciate you being a Dane place to go for words and cats.

  15. Happy birthday, John! Thank you for the many hours of reading happiness you’ve given me. I’m looking forward to more, but I will graciously give you today off for a birthday celebration. Magnanimous of me, right?

  16. Happy birthday to you, and happy Mother’s Day to Krissy!

    All the best,

  17. Hey, happy birthday from yet another person who enjoyed The Last Emperox!
    Also adding my best wishes to Krissy on Mother’s Day.

  18. Happy, happy birthday, and happy mother’s day to krissy! Thank you for all you have shared, the many interesting discussions, and hope 2020 starts to go uphill for you for the rest of the year. Although I lurk more than I post, coming out of lurkedom to let you know much you are appreciated.

  19. Happy 51st, John!

    Here; have an outrageously unhealthy cake recipe.

    Deadly Caramel Cake:
    1 cup butter(2 sticks)-softened
    1 & 2/3 cups sugar
    3 eggs-room temperature
    1/2 C sour cream-room temperature
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3 cups sifted cake flour
    2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/3 cups whole milk or buttermilk-room temperature
    3 cups brown sugar
    1 cup butter
    1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
    pinch salt
    -Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    -Grease and flour three 9″ cake pans. Set aside.
    -In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat on high until creamy.
    -Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    -Beat butter mixture on medium for 5-7 minutes.
    -Add sour cream. Mix well.
    -Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternating with milk beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just combined after each addition.
    -Stir in vanilla extract.
    -Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
    -Bake for 30-40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake.
    -Let layers cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
    -Combine all ingredients in a large dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Mix well.
    -Cook for 10-12 minutes or until mixture reaches 235 degrees.
    -Cool slightly and beat with hand mixer until frosting reaches spreading consistency.
    -Quickly spread between layers and on top and sides.
    -Serve at room temperature.
    -If frosting is too thick, add a little more milk. If it is too thin, continue beating.