2022: The Diversity of Classic Rock: A Year in Review

Well, another year, another trip around the sun. I freak out all the time whenever I see the sun setting at 4 PM, the calendar reads December, and worst of all you hear “All I Want For Christmas Is You” everywhere you go. Sorry Mariah Carey fans! Christmas hits different when you live abroad, far away from your family, as I wrote six years ago. A lot has changed since I wrote that blog post in the infancy of this blog, which has been around since 2015. Let’s play spot the difference: That boyfriend I was talking about is my husband (and has been for 5 years now) and at the time I wrote that blog post I had no idea we’d get engaged just weeks later. I am out of school and have been out of school for a while now. I’m in my late 20s and not my early 20s. I don’t even really feel American at this point anymore and actually feel like a foreigner when I visit. Politically? Let’s not go there.

I’m going to keep this yearly year in review tradition going even though I wasn’t as active on this blog like I was in the past, but there’s a good reason behind that and I’ll get into that. If you haven’t read one of these types of blog posts on my blog before, no problem. Basically it’s a summary of what I did that year and me reflecting. I’ve been doing these types of blog posts since 2018, when I really got serious about working on this blog and dove head first in a writing career of sorts, something I had no idea I’d do. Part of my lore is that I fell into writing by accident and I didn’t even like writing that much when I was in school. But turns out I fell in love with it and it’s a happy accident. Through writing, I’ve gained a lot of skills and confidence and have connected with so many classic rock fans all over the world.

Like a lot of people, I get especially depressed during the winter and with that comes feelings of worthlessness and pessimism, especially about the future. I often feel like I haven’t done enough, especially when I compare myself to my peers. But life isn’t a competition. You shouldn’t compete with others, but rather yourself. I can’t be someone else, but I can be the best version of myself and I always strive to be the best I can be and do my best whenever I write something. Often my depression and OCD brain will tell me I’m worthless and I’ve done nothing, but the rational part of myself says why don’t we go back and make a list of what you’ve accomplished this year. This year in review blog post is helpful for my own mental health and allows me to reflect and celebrate what I’ve done. It’s therapeutic and uplifting.

Here are my past years in review posts if you want a rundown of what I did those years: 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Without further ado, here’s my year in review as a writer.

2022: The Year of Transition and making up for lost time

2020 and 2021 have been a busy writing time for me, but this year was different and I think the title above sums it up. There was nothing else to do in 2020 and 2021 when most of my existence in those two years was spent in lockdown. Might as well make it a productive year and so I did, or at least tried to! It was a year of travel and a lot of writing, but much of it you haven’t seen yet.

This year though was the first time I was really able to travel like I used to and I really loved the change in routine. I was like Carmen Sandiego this year, hopping from place to place. The Diversity of Classic Rock On Tour travel blog series was back and better than ever with photos and stories galore. If you love seeing delicious vegan eats, and occasional classic rock related things I see on my travels, check out my travel blogs.

In case you missed it, here’s the blog posts of my travels with a little summary: A year of bucket list travel and great eats from around the world!

  • London in February: Met up with my close friend Fei, went to a Sixties fashion exhibit, made the pilgrimage to Muswell Hill, got really close to Abbey Road Studios, visited The Troubadour, went to my first gig in a long time: Rufus Miller (who’s in Sting’s backing band) and the Sitar Service, and enjoyed a lot of delicious vegan food. Amazing trip as always!
  • Turkey and Athens in May: Visited Antalya – a beautiful city on the Mediterranean, went on a sunrise hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, visited the historic and lively megacity of Istanbul, and saw some ancient Greek ruins in Athens. A real bucket list trip! If you love cats, you’ll love Turkey!
  • Mediterranean Cruise in September: Five countries in two action packed weeks: Italy, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece. This was a cruise ship itinerary I always dreamed of going on ever since I was a teenager. Food was amazing. It was so cool to see historic sites in person, really feels like you’re walking around a movie set.
  • Hawaii and California in October: Everyone dreams of going to Hawaii. What a beautiful place. Also, gotta love the Bay Area. Don’t just stop at San Francisco. Berkeley is cool too.

Also this was a great year for concerts and meeting rock stars:

I also reviewed quite a few things: I wanted to review more classic rock related things throughout the year, but I was busy with other projects, which I’ll talk more about later.

  • The Andy Warhol Diaries: A bit late to this one, but I liked it, as a fan of pop art.
  • Together Through Life: My Never Ending Tour With Bob Dylan: My review of Matthew Ingate’s book about his various travels to see Bob Dylan.
  • About Man & God & Law: The Spiritual Wisdom of Bob Dylan: My review of a more academic book about Bob Dylan’s philosophy by Stephen Daniel Arnoff.
  • Kink: A throwback review of Dave Davies’ first autobiography. Had to write this since Dave published a new autobiography. Still one of my favourite classic rock autobiographies.
  • Living on a Thin Line: My review of Dave’s updated autobiography.
  • Through The Prism: My review of a book by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis. A very well put together book full of stories about the many classic rock musicians he worked with.
  • British Rock Guitar: My review of a great book about British rock and roll history by seasoned session and touring musician Mo Foster.
  • Souvenirs of a Life Recalled: My review of my friend Mick Cantone‘s band, Children of Minerva’s album. Their best work yet!
  • The Two Dylans: My review of a book about Bob Dylan, Dylan Thomas, and the connections between them. This book is a collaboration between a Bob Dylan expert, KG Miles, and a Dylan Thomas expert, Jeff Towns (aka The Dylan Thomas Guy).
  • Alive: An album by Serbian guitarist Igor Lisul. If you like Joe Satriani, you’ll like this album.

It was also a great year for blog posts, but we’ll get to that in the next section!

ICYMI: Best of TDOCR 2022

As I said earlier, much of my writing work has been things you can’t see yet, but that doesn’t mean I neglected the blog entirely. As much as I love writing my book and I’m so fascinated with the topic, constantly falling down research rabbit holes, I can’t leave this blog behind. This is where my love of writing began and this is my baby. I worked hard to make The Diversity of Classic Rock what it is now. Once the book is out, the accomplishment going to feel great. I can officially call myself a published author at that point. But until the book is out, it’s an idea that isn’t realised. However, with a blog post, these are shorter term projects and it’s satisfying checking them off my list of things I want to write about (it’s a long list). I love reading the feedback and comments and seeing people giving my posts a like. I’ve written some things this year that I’ve wanted to write for a while and here are this year’s blog posts that I’m most proud of:

The Diversity of Classic Rock in numbers:

While I’m awful at maths, I love numbers, so here’s a quick rundown:

What’s to come next year/Why I didn’t post much:

2020 and 2021 were incredibly prolific years for my blog and it’s easy to tell based on the numbers and all the blog posts written, but this year a lot of the writing I did is stuff that won’t be published on the blog. You may remember last year I started working on a book and posted monthly updates, which I haven’t posted in a while, apologies! I have made some progress on the book and I have some good news: it’s going to be a two part book and that means you’re going to get to read (part of) it sooner. Topic is still a secret for now, but I’m sure it’s something you will love if you love this blog. All I can say is it’s going to be full of classic rock stories. Remember what I said about this being a year of transition? Well, career wise, I’m going to be moving onto publishing books. But don’t worry, my blog isn’t going anywhere. I’ve been writing about classic rock basically for free this whole time and it’s about time I get paid to do it. I feel at this point I have the knowledge and confidence that I will write books worth reading and that bring a unique perspective to classic rock commentary. I have a lot of ideas there. I am also moving to England next year and guess what that means? I’ll have access to the great music scenes across the country, have many opportunities to write travel blog posts, and get to walk in the footsteps of classic rockers – hopefully I’ll be writing blog posts about this at some point. Like they sang in Aladdin, it’s a whole new world! Well, not really I’ve been to England a bunch, but I’ve only scratched the surface. I think with any country, it takes a lifetime to truly get to know it.

Volume One of my book will hopefully be coming out next year so that’s good news and something to look forward to in the near future. I will be working on some additions and a new chapter (I find out new things all the time about classic rock because I obsessively read about it) before going into editing/fact checking mode. Then I’ll be figuring out the creative and marketing side of things and then you’ll finally get to see what I’ve been putting my heart and soul into. I think it’ll be worth the wait. We’re at 83,000+ words now and there’s still more coming as I do more and more research and fall down more rabbit holes. I’m gonna need a holiday in Amsterdam so I can get stoned after this haha!

The other reason I haven’t written as much as I have in the past is for the last couple years I’ve been battling a chronic pain issue that has been bothering me since I was 13. I wrote an extensive blog post detailing my experience with endometriosis that went undiagnosed until last month and getting a hysterectomy at the young age of 28. It’s a very long, but entertaining, read, but in short: I had really bad period pains from the age of 13. Two years later, I started taking birth control which helped a bit because it lowered the frequency of periods from once a month to once every three months, but it didn’t make the debilitating cramps any better when I had my periods. Years later, I had the bright idea to keep taking active pills to end my period, and therefore the cramps. When trying this myself, it failed after about 5 months and so my doctor intervened and switched my birth control to one that would actually end my periods. I thought I was sorted. Four years later, as the pandemic spread across the globe, I started getting periods again, which were at first light and infrequent with some cramps, but over time the periods became heavier, more frequent, and the cramps more painful. Soon enough, I didn’t just have period cramps, but also back pain. For the cherry on top, my periods were unpredictable and the cramps weren’t just limited to the first few days of my period, but hit me before my period, throughout my whole period, and at random points in the month. I could not live my life normally. In the summer of 2021, I stumbled upon an unexpected form of pain relief: tightlacing with steel boned corsets, just like the ones Victorian women used. Finally, I could live more or less normally and it turns out I really like tightlacing anyway. Still, I wanted the pain to end and so I begged the doctors for a hysterectomy and after months of waiting, I got an appointment with a dismissive gynaecologist who approved me for a hysterectomy nonetheless. I didn’t want to be stuck on a waiting list here in Ireland so I went to Lithuania to get a hysterectomy for less than half the cost of a private hospital in Ireland. I recovered well and here I am writing this six weeks out and feeling pretty much back to normal and I am cleared to start exercising again. I still get little pains here and there, but it’s more manageable now, and best part no more periods!

As always, I want to thank my readers for the support you’ve given me since 2015!

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