I’m sitting here in Tasmania, on the other side of the world from the small farming town in which I grew up, reflecting on the wild adventure my life has become. This past year was one of the best of my life, even as it contained some of the most difficult things I’ve ever wrestled with. My father is bravely battling cancer. The country I love is taking what I feel to be massive steps backwards. I’ve spent many a dark hour thinking about what’s slowly slipping away.
But I also think about all the good to come. The next generation of young adults are more amazing than the last, and this trend seems universal and without end. The world and my country have survived far worse. There are great trends to focus on, such as the imminent death of coal and the ascension of cheap solar. Or the healing of the ozone layer. There are always problems to fix, but we should appreciate the problems that we solve along the way.
I spent a month of my year in the Galapagos, and my father joined me. We swam with giant sea turtles and hiked lava tubes with blue-footed boobies. This was just a year after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean with my dad. How many kids are this dumb lucky that they get to spend forty days straight with a parent — and a best friend — fulfilling a lifelong dream?
There is always good in the bad. I wrote a short story about this once. In the wake of losing my beloved dog, in one of my darkest of places, I began a novel that would eventually be about the redeeming power of hope. When I sign copies of WOOL for readers, I almost always write “Dare to hope” inside. The original self-published version of WOOL was dedicated to: Those who dare to hope. I think it’s the bravest thing we can do, have hope. 2018 should be a year in which we remind ourselves of this.
Bright days are ahead. They will follow nights that seem cold, dark, and lonely. This is how it’s always been.
I hope we can remember to share the good moments without it seeming that we aren’t aware of all that’s grave and serious. Laughter, joy, and positivity are critical now more than ever. Michelle and I are working on a website to celebrate just these things, a place of respite and peace where deep breaths can be enjoyed, quiet contemplation pursued, positivity embraced. It’s not a retreat from the world and its serious issues, but a way of regrouping, of fortifying ourselves for the good fight, and for appreciating the progress already made.
What I appreciate every day of my life is you. Not a single day goes by on Wayfinder that I don’t pause and appreciate what your support and readership have meant for me. It has made it possible for me to fulfill a lifelong dream of sailing around the world. Right now, that crazy book I wrote so many years ago, is in the top 100 on Amazon, still selling strong, still gaining word-of-mouth, still finding new readers who dare to hope. Thank you for that.
I look forward to the adventures ahead. I just put the finishing touches on my first draft for a WOOL TV pilot. An embarrassment of amazing offers have poured in, after getting the adaptation rights back from Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox last year. This project was always meant for TV. I just never had any hopes of anything actually getting made. I went with a big name, and a big offer, for the big screen, all because I never thought anything more would ever happen. I was too afraid to hope.
I’m going to try harder in 2018.
Thanks for everything. For the rest of January, WOOL will cost a measly $1.20. This novel has probably never held more societal significance than it does right now. I look forward to the new connections it makes with readers, the new friendships it brings, and the adventure it might take us along very, very soon…
Thank you for everything, and have a Happy New Year,