It’s that time of year when you look back and ask, “What the hell have I been doing all this time?” I remember last December, berating myself for only just keeping up with my publishing schedule and doing nothing more. I resolved that 2004 would be different.

And, surprisingly, it was.

I got to know a horde of interesting people from this strange business. The Edgars brought me to New York where I could drink with many of them, people like Ms Weinman, Mr Bruen, and Mr Starr; I visited kind folks in amazing bookstores and saw first-hand the glory that comes when you get enough mystery folk together in one room. I’ve yet to meet Mr Wignall, but we’ve kept up a mutually beneficial correspondence, and in a similarly virtual vein I’ve chatted with the fine people of 4MA and listened in on the benefits of having Deadly Pleasures. The world is full of interesting people.

Work-wise, I’ve realized, I could hardly have done better. Five award nominations, fantastic reviews, and more work than I thought myself capable of. This year I wrote most of 36 Yalta Boulevard, finishing the third in the series, as well as writing a solid draft of Number 4. I revised The Middle Ages, a screenplay I first penned last year, and wrote a second screenplay. And for the first time since grad school I’ve gone back to short stories, penning one for the forthcoming Bruen-edited Dublin Noir and writing two others having nothing at all to do with Dublin.

All this work has taken its toll, no doubt. My excuse for a social life has become something my friends laugh at, and despite trying hard I won’t be getting out my Monocle newsletter this month as scheduled. But when I look back I think about the old days, when simply writing a book in the space of a year was the most herculean task I could imagine. Of course, at that time I was working a full-time job. But now I have a job that is as full-time as a New York lawyer’s, if not more so. My girlfriend mentions now and then that I’m never not working—even when watching a crappy movie on HBO, I’m looking for narrative concepts and trying to analyze what would have made the film succeed.

The work never ends, never ceases, and this, in the end, is all a writer can ask for.

(Originally posted at the Contemporary Nomad)