It is that strange time, that limbo between Christmas and mid-January, when the only thing that's going to happen is that nothing is going to happen. One can debate the merits of a system that creates a de facto period of inaction in virtually every industry, but what I know is that the brilliant pop duo Everything but the Girl wasn't just talking about one day when they said about Christmas, "it's cold and there's nothing to do."
This is a natural time to reflect, to look back on the past 51+ weeks and try to determine what it all meant. Since so little progress is being made in most areas, this is when people compile Top 10 lists, write retrospectives on those who have died since last January 1, and overwhelm us with instant analysis of the past year even before it has completely passed.
I say, the hell with that. Let's look forward.
Life offers no guarantees. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow despite my having plans to watch the Marx Brothers on New Year's Eve. So with that in mind, the following is not a list of things that will definitely happen beginning on Thursday. It suggests that things don't change as much as we'd like to believe, so the best security we can anticipate is to know that things that have happened before are likely to keep doing so until something drastic forces them to alter their behavior.
Things That Will Happen in 2015
- There will an unexpected, overwhelming phenomenon in publishing, and I won't read it. I haven't read Gone Girl. I haven't read 50 Shades of Grey. Hell, I still haven't cracked the cover on The DaVinci Code. This stems from what some people (okay, my wife) refer to as a "pathological need not to jump on the bandwagon." And I suppose that's true, although I remain to this day a fan of the most popular band on the planet, and have been since I was six years old. But I do not own a copy of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
- Film will continue to not be much fun. I like to go to the "serious" movies at the end of the year in order to root for someone or something at the Oscars in February. This year, It's going to be a tough slog. Birdman is a pretentious, indulgent headache (not helped by the almost-all-percussion soundtrack) despite my admiration for Michael Keaton and the terrific cast. The Imitation Game is a standard biopic with a nice performance. Into the Woods... well, I don't like Sondheim anyway but those around me who do say it's a disappointment and goes on too damn long.
- Jon Stewart will remain brilliant. Of the Oscar-bait movies I've seen, my favorite is definitely Rosewater, Stewart's screenwriting-and-directing debut. Which for fans of his astonishing work on The Daily Show leaves us with a conundrum: Do we hope he makes more movies?
- Late night TV will remain a white boys' club. Yes, change is relative and that applies to some people in my family. But David Letterman will give way to Stephen Colbert next May, and Craig Ferguson (whose subversive, hilarious talk show will be badly missed) is stepping out of the way for the Baker from Into the Woods. People of color? Well, Larry Wilmore will take over Colbert's slot. Does that count? Women? Not so much, yet.
- Crime fiction will continue to be good. Yeah, some things--hopefully not mine--are going to be overly safe and familiar, but even those might require a brain for the author and the reader, and that's not a bad thing. Respect? No, we don't get it, but should we care? Readers tell the story in a way. What they read is what should be held in esteem.
- Television will continue to do better work than film. The best drama and comedy now being produced is not in your theater. Television, given its much broader possibilities now, is offering great examples of each, even if a lot of it still shows its lower budgets and shorter schedules. Film? We just went through a period when a Seth Rogen movie was a political cause. That should say something right there.
- I'll write two books. That's the pattern now. They'll come out in October and December. Too close together? People who know more about publishing schedules than I do say it's not a problem, and I trust them.
- The baseball team I follow will not have a great year. This has been the case for two years. It is not likely to change very soon. It will still be a joy to see the guys out on the field every night. Baseball season is just better than other seasons, and that's all there is to say.
- I will continue to be grateful that anyone at all reads the stories I write.
Was any of that coherent? I'm on about seven different kinds of cold medication in what will undoubtedly be a futile attempt to get me into some kind of shape before the ball drops on Wednesday--or Thursday, depending on how one measures such things.
Thanks to all who read DEAD GUY and have a lovely 2015!