|The Swim Test|
(Here's my 2011 list, as well my top 10 stories of the 2000s.)
10. I've been blogging about the University of Texas Longhorns football team for The Austin Chronicle for a few years now. This year I decided to chronicle the rise of the school that shall always be known as Southwest Texas State as it advanced to Big-Time Football. My rule? Write as little about football in the blog as possible. Sometimes I even write about murder.
9. SEX! Yes, I said SEX! As in talking to Suzy Spencer about her new book Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality, which is part memoir, part journalistic look at SEX. That includes orgies, hookups and, yes, SEX. Did I mention SEX?
8. Jim Sanderson is one of those Texas writers whose work comes out from the smaller presses, but is indeed worth checking out. I talked with him for the San Antonio Express-News. In 2011 I had reviewed another of his books for the Austin American-Statesman.
7. I don't get to actually write reviews enough, but that's been changing. I enjoyed reviewing Don Coscarelli's new film John Dies at the End for The Austin Chronicle. Also a pleasure to put my two cents in for the Austin American-Statesman on Carolyn Osborn's lovely new novel.
6. The Austin Chronicle gave me some great opportunities for star gazing and listening during the South By Southwest Film Festival. Willem Dafoe proved smart and interesting, and a joy to photograph. I also got to hear from Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane who brought along a surprise guest when talking about his film Ted.
5. Everyone else was interested in Matthew McConaughey moving to Austin, but no one but me seemed to pay attention when Dallas native Meatloaf also moved to the Capital City. I reported on it for The Dallas Morning News during the Texas Film Hall of Fame ceremonies. I also took some good pix.
4. Certainly one of the more interesting assignments during SXSW was to talk to the director of Girl Model, which looks at very young and very poor women plucked out of their Siberian homes and taken to the Japanese modeling world, most likely to be cast aside shortly, shaken and broken.
3. I voluntarily dropped my Texas film industry column from The Dallas Morning News a year ago. That follows columns in The Austin Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman on the subject dating back to 2000. I continue to blog about the film industry here (and write the occasional scoop about the industry elsewhere), but it's the personal pieces like the touching story of my friend Louise Shelby that matter more.
2. I was given a nice year-end gift from The Austin Chronicle when I was asked to go to the set of indie Western Red on Yella, Kill a Fella AND take photos there, including of cult actor Michael Berryman. Notice photos creeping more and more into this yearly list?
1. The most important piece I wrote this year is the most personal. It's about my son teaching me a lesson as he learned to swim. It ran in The Williamson County Sun.
Here's to 2013, where I'm continuing to put pen to paper (or more likely keystroke to computer). Look for more news soon in the way of fiction writing....