You know, I’ve seen a lot of people ragging on 2021 (not without good reason in some cases) but compared to what came before it that I say it’s a marked improvement. Maybe it’s because I’ve been fortunate enough to have some very good things happen to me that the high points stand out considerably more than the low ones. So as a way of ringing in the New Year, let’s reflect on what went down on the blog these past 365 days.

The first half of 2021 wasn’t as productive as I hoped thanks to a sudden increase in freelance work. I still managed to get six film reviews out this year, including a review of Home Alone which I didn’t finish in time for the previous Christmas, and a fifth anniversary review which was so late that it doubled as my sixth anniversary milestone. Apart from that and a Fievel Goes West review I’ve had to postpone for a multitude of reasons, my posting record was mostly on track for the latter half of the year. I reviewed my first Pixar movie, my first Abbott & Costello movie, returned to Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon with Song of the Sea, and even made the jump to Netflix with the new holiday classic Klaus. Speaking of beloved yuletide favorites, I also reviewed a Christmas short and special as per December tradition; The Little Match Girl I can easily call the most depressing thing I’ve looked at so far, but I’m thrilled that I was able to remind people that Olive The Other Reindeer exists.

I shared a bit of my original writing for the first time – okay, second if you count that Edgar Allen Poe spoof I whipped out near the end of 2020 – and the response has been very uplifting.

By The Cover made a brief return to celebrate Simply Mad About The Mouse’s 30th anniversary. Perhaps I should start that up again if I have the time.

More importantly, this was the year I began reviewing Faerie Tale Theatre, which has attracted more than a few welcome newcomers to the blog. Though we’re only four episodes in, sharing my history with this series and the stories that inspired it has been quite a ride. I’ve also tried to be a bit more analytical than jokey where these reviews are concerned and based on the number of views, I think I’ve found a decent balance (my snark and penchant for references aren’t going anywhere, don’t worry). All in all, not too shabby a year for Up On The Shelf.

In personal news, Mikey’s grown up like a weed (though he still acts like a kitten) and it seems my other cat TC has finally forgiven me for bringing an outsider into his domain. I had the chance to reconnect with more family and old friends from before the pandemic, and even made some new ones. My sister got married (as in she was legally married the year before but finally got to have her long-delayed wedding celebration) and to this day those who attended are still complimenting me on the speech I gave as her maid of honor. My cousin also got married in Pittsburgh, meaning I had the chance to travel there for the first time. It’s a beautiful city I hope to see more of one day. I appeared on three of my favorite podcasts (Channel KRT, The Emperor’s New Podcast, and Escape From Vault Disney) which you should drop everything and listen to right now. Two of my art pieces were featured in the Walt Disney Family Museum gallery, and one of them was highlighted during their virtual tour. While were on the topic of art, I was turned down for a book illustration job, and later almost got scammed by another, but did manage to get contracted for my first legitimate literature illustration; on that note, please forgive me if the next couple of posts go up a bit later than usual, I still have a ton of work to do regarding it.

But of course the biggest piece of news is one I already made known months ago. After years of unsuccessful pitching I’m officially an agented writer and illustrator. My agent is an incredibly kind and encouraging woman who’s helped get my foot in the door where I failed to in the past. They say in my writing group that each “no” you receive isn’t so much another rejection as it is one step closer to the person who will say “yes”; it was hard to believe that it until now. Even though my books haven’t found a publisher yet, each reply has come with some very high praise. It’s only inspired me to keep doing what I’m doing – and it’s given me even more story ideas in the process.

I’ve had something of a realization this year. When you’ve committed yourself for doing something as long as I have, it’s not hard to feel a bit of impostor syndrome. For a long time I’ve wondered how original my opinions and statements are and if I’m presenting them as clear as succinctly as possible, or if I’m just another Doug Walker knockoff typing my ramblings instead of shouting at a camera. I feel like I have a tendency to repeat myself, reuse certain words and turns of phrases, and not elucidate my thoughts to the best of my abilities. But seeing the positive comments you take the time to write, and the growth in Patreon pledges, well, I’m touched. I feel like maybe I’m doing something right after all. Your support means so much to me. So you know what? Forget all this New Years’ pessimism. This will be the year people wise up and take the precautions necessary to end the pandemic. This will be the year you hit that viewer milestone, get that well-paid commission or book deal, and find your dream partner. This will be the year your acne clears up and your favorite tv show gets renewed for another season. It’s time to look ahead to all the wonderful possibilities that await us in 2022.

So Happy New Year, everyone. I hope yours is safe, healthy, heart-filled and –

Oh, I knew I was forgetting something, my tradition of badly explaining the plots of everything I looked at in the previous year! Let’s go:

  • Home Alone: Two men check on an abandoned child only to be beaten and arrested.
  • Ratatouille: A garbage boy and a rodent violate sanitary regulations as they take over a dying franchise.
  • Song of the Sea: Proof that all expecting mothers should write a statement saying “Don’t blame the child if I die because it’ll only make you look like an asshole”.
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein: The original Monster Mash.
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks: Before Inglorious Basterds, there was….Angela Lansbury.
  • The Little Match Girl: Ahh, nothing like hypothermia to put you in the Christmas spirit.
  • Olive The Other Reindeer: A holly-jolly case of imposter syndrome.
  • Klaus: A postman tells the story of how Santa came to be with the help of a schoolteacher as they defy a local tyrant…wait…

And now, the Faerie Tale Theatre episodes!

Like I said, Happy New Year, and I’ll see you next time when we dive back into Faerie Tale Theatre!