I can't help but notice that a lot of the coverage on the web this New Year's Eve talks about how wretched 2008 was.
"2008 Overstays Its Welcome"
"The End of a Tough Year"
"Most More Than Ready to Turn the Page on 2008"
"2008: What Fresh Hell Was That?"
The economic news is the worst in living memory; the presidential election was brutal and interminable; war and terrorism continued to take their bloody toll; human rights were eviscerated in the Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan, and trampled on in California; natural disasters must mean the climate's imploding for real this time. Whether the prognosis for 2009 is good, bad, or much, much worse, it seems like it would be best just to crawl back in bed, draw the comforter over our heads, and let the calendar flip to 2009 without help.
I want to propose an alternative, and I hope you won't dismiss it just because it comes from my personal experience as the Red Room Editor, the best job I've ever had. I want to state... no, I want to shout from the rooftops: 2008 WAS A GREAT YEAR!! For the thousands of writers who shared great work and formed new relationships during Red Room's inaugural year, 2008 was a time of increased self-expression and unprecedented connection. Every person who blogged, wrote essays and articles, uploaded videos, podcasts, and image galleries, competed in a contest, or even left just one comment on any one of these pages... for them, the year marked a leap from isolation to interaction.
It's been my privilege, from the best seat in the house, to feature on Red Room's homepage the best content that our authors and members have added every week. I sincerely thank everyone for sharing such amazing content—it bears repeating that Red Room's success is a direct result of the high quality of your contributions, and we appreciate them so very much. We reviewed these on the homepage last week, but I believe they're worth one last look before we move forward.
Red Room Rising Stars: Each of these authors have published just one or two books, or somehow took their writing to another level in 2008.
Author Conversations: Authors had a lot to say about their work, the writing life, the publishing industry, and the world beyond books.
Causes We Support: A portion of Red Room's after-tax net profits will go to the causes our authors support. These are the causes we profiled in 2008.
Best Blogs: Blogs emerged early as the community's favorite place for self-expression and lively debate.
Best Videos: Red Room's high-quality videos ran from profound to silly to surreal.
Best Podcasts: Poetry, short stories, and essays made listening a pleasure this year.
Red Room Originals: From bad reviews great authors received to true tales of heroic sacrifice, Red Room was the place for exceptional, original writing.
Red Room Contests: We held four friendly competitions that drove our members to think innovatively about how to draw visitors to their pages, reflect and write about their most memorable reading experiences, and to finish their novels in one month.
Book News: New titles, both from newcomers and old favorites, made 2008 a great year for every taste.
After this magnificent start, I can't wait to see how this thriving community of writers hit even greater heights in 2009. Happy New Year, everybody!
-Huntington W. Sharp, Editor, Red Room