It’s almost the holiday season again, somehow — a realization I came to, as so many are these days, because of work, as we start to plan coverage that includes gift guides and Best Of lists. (It’s beginning to look a lot like Listmas, as the song almost goes.)
That this is what you do for the end of the year isn’t anything new to me; I’ve been doing this for long enough that it’s not only second nature by this point, but almost a nostalgic tradition in and of itself. There was a period of a few years where the end of the year meant coming up with Best Comics Of The Year lists for both Wired and The Hollywood Reporter more or less simultaneously, and still trying to ensure that I wasn’t entirely repeating myself. They were for two different outlets with different audiences, I’d tell myself, and therefore what met the criteria of “best” was different.
By now, then, it really is as much a part of the end of the year to think in terms of this kind of writing as listening to Christmas music, putting lights around the tree or stressing that I’ve not gotten the presents right for whatever reason. It’s a comfort, in some kind of a way, if I’m honest: a familiar landmark that lets me know where I am in terms of the year, and reminds me that, before too long, the whole thing can be packed up and put away as we look to the new calendar with no small amount of hope that surely, surely, this one will be better.
I tell myself all of this as I sit here, thinking about my work to-do list for the day, trying to find the piece of surprise, curiosity, and “new” — the novelty — that gets my fingers on the keys and my brain in gear, that makes the work happen every day.