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The Best of Andrew 2013

Posted on 21 December 2013

As much as Facebook would like to automate my year in review, I’m not sure a few photos I found online really constitutes the best I had to offer in 2013 (though I do enjoy the fact that “After years of clinical trials and peer-reviewed studies, scientists have conclusively proven that there ain’t no party like an S Club party” was such a popular status).

So instead, here are some of the things I created this year that I am most proud of/seemed to have the most resonance. No algorithm, only my own sense of what it means to me and meant to other people.

Writing:

I’m not winning anymore

Written for my birthday, a reflection on shifting from preparing for the rest of your life to actually trying to live it.

Darkness

Most of my writing is pretty clinical, rarely approaching anything close to “poetic”. This still falls far short, but it comes closer.

Shut up and say something

Written for myself more than anyone else, this questions why we add new creations to an already noisy world. The feedback I received was very gratifying, and makes me realize I’m not alone.

24-hour news is like water, you need to turn it off sometimes

This was also written for me, to try to help me cope with the sense of being completely lost in a stream of noise and information. It also became my first post on Medium, where it was an editor’s pick, and again the positive feedback I got was humbling.

Democracy

I wrote this one after a rather divisive election here in British Columbia. It begins:

“Just a friendly reminder that democracy isn’t simply picking one side to be in charge every four years. It’s a process that happens every day in a variety of forums and ways.”

I was nervous about publishing it, but it was well-received.

Dear William and Kate: A last-minute plea to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to not name the royal baby George

There’s no getting around this: my most popular piece of writing in 2013, possibly my most popular ever. I had people around the world tweeting me once the baby was named, and it even led to me being on national TV. I’d like to take this opportunity to clarfiy that the issues I raised were real– the #princegeorge hashtag remains overwhelmingly talk of the royal baby– but I am far calmer about it than my online personae implies. Comedic effect gone awry, perhaps.

Some thoughts upon attending my ten year high school reunion

Self-explanatory.

Dedicated writing machine

I was surprised at how popular this one was, but then maybe I shouldn’t be. Sometimes it’s nice to unplug and be free of distractions.

Radio:

How to tie a scarf

I realized I didn’t really know how to tie a scarf. Rather than just asking someone or looking it up, I turned it into a radio story that was broadcast nationally, multiple times.

Talking to Darryl about love

This one was just an unexpected conversation with a person walking down the street that continues to stick with me. How often do you talk to a total stranger about loss and love in the middle of the day?

Juan and the Emu

When we heard there may have been an emu on the loose in northern British Columbia, we knew there was probably a story. When I started to talking to the man who saw the emu, I knew I was sitting on radio gold.

Public speaking:

I’ve done a little bit of public speaking before, but mostly just MC-ing or a panel discussion. This year I actually gave sustained talks and challenged myself to do them without writing everything down ahead of time except the main points. One is serious, one is tongue-in-cheek. I have a ways to go, but I like the progress I’ve made.

How to get a journalism job you don’t technically qualify for

SantaLeaks

Mixtapes:

I like music. Sometimes I make mixtapes. This year I made one documenting music from 1998-2003 and a whole series based on every season of Breaking Bad.

Lessons learned:

These are also pieces of writings, but also challenges and reminders to myself. Interestingly, all of them are about reducing the amount of things I take on and spending more time relaxing. Progress has been made, but there’s room to grow. Good reminders as 2013 comes to  a close and we start this all over again.

My New Year’s Resolution: Quit Stuff. Be Happier.

Time Off in February

Letting go

* * *

It’s easy to get caught up in status updates, Instagram photos, and the feedback loop, and I am as guilty of being sucked into the stream as anyone (probably more than most). But at year’s end it’s the things that actually took some time to craft that stand out the most, and I’m grateful I have the opportunity to do this, no matter how small-scale.

It’s worth saying again and again: the fact that anyone else is paying attention  is humbling in and of itself so, as always, thank you. I have a few thoughts percolating in my head that I hope to get down over the break so we can start out strong in 2014. See you then.

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