A thank-you card to 2014

I’ve been writing thank-you cards for three straight days, per my recent birthday (for the record, I am still not sure if I’m “feelin’ 22”) and college graduation. I even contemplated writing them in Arabic, but that plan derailed when I realized I don’t know the word “for.” When I wrote my typical color-coded thank-you card list, I forgot one recipient, both friend and foe. A frenemy, if you will: the year 2014.

Here, then, is my thank-you card to 2014.

Thank you for writer-ly failure.

The idea looked promising enough: issue-focused, in-depth and relevant to the reader. When I put it together, though, the story simply didn’t work. I interviewed more sources, gathered more information, worked and reworked my intro — still, nothing.

Not every piece of writing will work right away, and some, quite frankly, will never work. That’s fine.

Thank you for Arabic grammar.

Here’s my experience of learning Arabic in one sentence: “Here are the rules, but don’t follow them because everything is irregular.” While it takes me nearly five minutes to write the sentence, “Hi, my name is Taylor Soule, and I am from Newton, Iowa,” and while I still can’t hear the difference among the three “th”-like letters in the alphabet, Arabic reminds me to laugh at myself. Often.

After all, it’s tough to feel serious when, “Do you have a large dog or a small dog?” is one of the more deep and meaningful questions in my repertoire.

Thank you for green bean casserole.

I actually hate green bean casserole, but I’m thankful to 2014 for my app development experience. In the course of five months, I worked as user experience designer and project manager for three apps: an event calendar app, an audio Mad Libs app for 4- to 6-year olds and finally, a Midwestern recipe app (hence the casserole nod).

Each provided a new user base and more importantly, new niches and voices with which to experiment. I wrote event descriptions, mildly nonsensical five-sentence stories for children and expressed my so-called ‘love’ of bacon.

While I’m glad Googling “tater-tot hotdish” is no longer an integral part of my daily routine, I’m thankful my software development adventure provided a variety of new challenges and niches.

So, 2014, thanks for bad writing. Thanks for illogical grammar and letters that sound exactly the same in my English-speaking mind. Thanks for green bean casserole meatballs (they’re a real thing, I swear) and beer-candied bacon. Well, the recipes, anyway.

I’ve learned more this year than any other. Maasalaama, 2014 (that means goodbye in Arabic).

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