2022 in Ten Significant Photos

Strangely, this December has felt more harried than the usual holiday hustle and bustle. I can’t exactly put my finger on why. I usually get this post done before Christmas. But life, time, and schedules made assembling this post more difficult than it should have been. But here we are; it’s happening.

This is my annual post wherein I reflect on my last year through ten photos that marked significant places in my year. It’s a tradition here. A lot has happened; looking back, I saw a year with soaring highs and pretty tricky lows. It turns out we’re all figuring out how to reemerge from the pandemic, whether it affected us or not.

The rules. Pick ten photos from my past year that are the most significant to me: positive or negative—significance can be found in either. But it can’t be more; it can’t be less. Some moments will have to fall by the wayside—that’s intentional—culling is a part of this process. It helps create a more realistic and personal picture of the year. Some years will be more complicated than others, and sometimes you’ll need to discover significance in the smaller, quieter moments. This is the way.

Let’s get into it.


The Smith Tower (Left) – Kari-Lise and our friend Roxanna Walitzki (Center) – Kari-Lise with her parents and brother (Right)

We started the year off strong, celebrating Kari-Lise’s 40th birthday! We threw a big shindig for her by renting out a portion of the Smith Tower Observatory Bar in early January. Friends and family from far and wide came to participate. It was wonderful. The night was foggy, but the vibe was excellent, and after two follow-up after-parties that lasted well into the next morning, I think we all felt like we celebrated Kari-Lise properly.


Horace, the first day

We said goodbye to Horace. This little lovely buddy had been with us since 2013 (back when Instagram filters were a thing), when he wandered into our yard and our lives. We asked the neighbors and talked to various local vets and pet shops, but no one claimed him. So he stayed with us. Letting him go was hard. He was such a fastidious little fella, the opposite of Willa in many respects, more subdued and less gregarious but always friendly and eager to cuddle. We miss him every day.


The Ring of Brodgar on the Orkney Island of Mainland

We went back to Scotland! This trip had been intended to be my 40th birthday celebration, but the pandemic delayed things by about a year. Getting away was a welcome relief, and it was great to return to one of my favorite countries on earth. (Honestly, we’d love to move there.) We spent an extended time on Islay, bummed around Edinburgh, tasted over 43 varieties of single-malt scotch, took to the mountains, and explored the Orkney Islands. You can see and read much more about our experience in my Scotland 2022 Trip Report.


A very happy Victory Sage, photo by her mother, Aischa

The streak continues; since 2019 at least one new niece has arrived, and 2022 was no different. Not long after our trip to Scotland, my brother Anthony and his wife Aisha welcomed Victory Sage, their third little one, into the world and our lives. I can’t wait to meet her. (More on that later.) Victory is my sixth niece, and I know for a fact there’s another one coming next year. SO. MANY. NIECES.


What 500 miles will do to a pair of Adidas Terrex Free Hikers

I lost weight. Over 60 pounds now. Around January 3rd, I got tired of how much weight I had gained over the last few years and took control. I started counting my calories and walking, and I walked a lot. All over my neighborhood, hundreds of times, the results slowly but surely began to show. The last time I weighed what I do now was back in 2012, and in the next year, I plan on losing more. Feels good. I wrote about my weight loss journey back in June.


Mt. Rainier viewed from the top of Mailbox Peak

I somehow convinced Kari-Lise to hike Mailbox Peak for our 19th Anniversary. It was a stunning hike and a good challenge for a guy who had just lost a bunch of weight. Unfortunately, I slipped and nearly broke my ankle on the way down. The sprain was serious, something I didn’t realize since adrenaline had kicked in and I was still six miles from the trailhead. When I got home and took off my shoes, my ankle swelled three times in size and turned purple. The injury would stay with me for a while, and it took weeks before I was back walking like I was before—a rough way to spend the summer, don’t recommend it.


A hazy view from Stingeroo ridge

This year our good friends Steve and Sarah purchased a big parcel of land in Southern Washington overlooking the town of Longview and the Columbia River. They’ve dubbed it Stingeroo (a portmanteau of their surnames.) We’ve already been down there many times, and it’s a beautiful and relaxing getaway. Steve and I even did a hazy writing retreat down there this October (which is where this photo was taken), and it was the perfect place to reconnect with my writing. Expect to see more from Stingeroo in the future.


The Moment via the Seattle Mariners Instagram Account

Drought ended. This year, for the first time since the year 2000, the Mariners made it into the postseason ending the longest playoff drought in professional sport. I was thrilled. I didn’t become a Seahawks fan until I moved to Seattle, but I was a Mariners fan since I was a kid and followed the team from the Griffy era onward. It was exciting to see them finally make it this far, and I am thrilled for their future.


Hey, it’s me in the hospital

So yeah. This happened. At the end of October, I watched an old umbilical hernia I once had repaired as a kid return. It’s weird to see your belly button rise from your stomach in real-time and turn purple. The following pain was incredibly intense and debilitating, and Kari-Lise had to rush me to the emergency room. The doctors managed to push it back, relieving me of some pain, but they thought I needed surgery ASAP. It was a hectic two days. Abdominal surgery is no joke. It took a week and a half to feel normal-ish and several more weeks for full recovery, another injury derailing my weight loss momentum. I’m back at it, but it’s been a rough year injury-wise.


Ice encasing the branches of one of our Japanese maple trees

This was supposed to be the first year I celebrated Christmas with my family since the pandemic. I was excited. I’d meet my new niece, Victory, for the first time and see my siblings and all my other niblings again. Sadly the weather changed everything. Arctic air from the North Pole pushed down into the states, and freezing rain shut down first Seattle, the airport, and then the passes making travel to my folks impossible for the holidays. It was a bitter end to a challenging year for us, and while we managed to scrape together a celebration of our own, it was tinged with sadness.


So there are my ten significant photos representing some of the bright spots and some of the disappointments of the year. This year was a mixed year for us. Life and work felt harried and unceasing, and the moments of quiet never seemed sufficient.

There was still so much to my 2022 that this post didn’t cover—a cold trip to Victoria with friends to celebrate Steve’s birthday. Island escapes. Walks around the neighborhood with other friends. Writing retreats. Moth & Myths explorations into classes and then doing an incredible installation downtown. A Valentines Day dinner on the 50-yard line of Lumen Field. Returning to the office. Becoming a Godfather. A fantastic visit from my folks. A family trip to Port Angeles. Art openings! Spooky theater shows. Spending time with Kari-Lise’s brother and his family. Backyard BBQs. Baseball and soccer games. So much more, and as with every year, this list could be so much longer.

So, how about you? What did you experience in 2022? What are your ten photos? Assemble them and leave a comment with a link! Let us all know about the significant events in your year.


I’ve been doing this since 2014, and even in challenging years, I’ve found it beneficial. Interested in revisiting my photos of past years? Just click on any link below and check out my selection from that specific year.

2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 
• 2018 • 201920202021


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Map of the Known Territories

Map of the Known Territories

For a while now, I had had readers ask me about a map for The Bell Forging Cycle. Between The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road, Wal covers a lot of ground. However, I didn’t want to do any old fantasy map. The Bell Forging Cycle is, well… it’s unique and it deserves a unique treatment. So, with the release date announcement for Red Litten World looming, I figured this was the perfect time to share the official map. [Spoilers Ahead: If you haven’t read Old Broken Road be warned, the following images contain spoilers.]

Picture yourself as a caravan master eager to lead your first company down the Big Ninety as soon as Lovat and Syring put away their differences and the Grovedare reopens. As a favor to you, Wal offers to tell you what he knows (for the cost of a meal, of course.) So you agree meet at a diner in the city. The place he picks is a hole in the wall named Cedric’s Eatery. It’s located in Denny Lake, a cramped warren in north-central Lovat. The diner itself is located below the street, in the entresol between Level Three and Four. You’d have never found it on your own.

Wal’s there, sitting at one of the high-backed booths as you enter. He smiles and waves you over. You both order some food from the limited menu and Wal dives into what he knows. He talks about schedules, dealing with the rowdy clients, popular waystations, and so on. So you can follow along, you’ve brought along a well-worn map you picked up from a roadside depot that covers the major trails between Lovat and Syringa. As he talks, Wal grabs a pen and begins to annotate his favor spots for food, known bandit camps, and even his recent experience on the Broken Road. The result is this:

CLICK HERE to view the full size Map of the Known Territories

Tada! An annotated Bell Forging Cycle map of the known Territories. It’s too big to really show properly in the narrow column of the blog. You’re not going to get much out of it unless you click on the image and view it larger.

What do you think? I had a lot of fun making this and I hope it helps you visualize the world a little bit more. It won’t be the last map we see, as the series progresses, I’m planning to reveal more of the world little by little. But for now, next time you’re on the trail, and if you have a hankering for the best bánh mì in the Territories you’ll know where to look.


I’ve gone ahead and made this map available as a downloadable background as well. You can click on any of the links below, or head over to the Free Stuff page and find it (and other goodies) there.

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Since phone backgrounds are a bit narrower their images focus on two separate sections of the map: Lovat and Syringa. So, for your phone you can choose your loyalty with the following backgrounds: