Jessica Mehta on 2016

I’ve heard a lot of comments and seen a lot of memes on the terrible-ness of 2016. (And, yes, of course in many ways I agree … but then again, horrible things happen every year). That’s not what this post is about.


For me, personally and professionally, a wealth of great things happened in 2016. Actually, it was the best year of my life (so far). As we veer into the New Year, and many of us desperate to leave 2016 behind us, I’d like to share a few favorite moments of the past year.


2016 was the year …


… I got married. It was that kind of insane love we’re all looking for. Along with the good stuff, marriage, there was the fun stuff like an elaborate Indian wedding in Mumbai and a sweet courthouse wedding in Portland complete with a pedicab ride and a secret extra ceremony at Voodoo Doughnut.


… We built and bought a house. A little parceled off piece of old dairy farm land became ours, and six months later a custom home appeared. Working with an architect to draft a unique home, an incredible builder, and getting to know the city officials very well was a big part of 2016 for us. My husband’s surprise homecoming gift to me was radiant floor heating in the master bath, which I fell in love with years ago when I lived in South Korea.


… My first novel was picked up and published. I already had two books of poetry and one non-fiction book under my belt, but having a novel (okay, a memoir) published is scary in a brand new way.


… My third book of poetry was published. Orygun is a slim collection with a gorgeous cover. I’m so grateful for having such a thoughtful, artistic poetry publisher.


… I got my first (three!) writing residencies. I was accepted as the writer-in-residence at three locations including the Hosking Houses Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust also in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and the WISC residency in Santa Fe, NM. Already, 2017 is gearing up to be a travel-filled year!


… My in-laws came to visit for the first time. They spent five weeks with us, and for both of them it was their first time out of India. I’ve never made so much chai in my life, and now I’m told I can do it better than my husband.


… I did my first bookstore reading. You’d think after three books I’d have done this before! However, my first reading was at Berl’s Poetry Bookshop in Brooklyn. I got a glam Brooklyn had to commemorate it.


… I saw Niagara Falls. I’ve lived in a lot of countries and traveled to many more, but the boat ride to Niagara Falls was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had.


… I got my first working artist grant. I know I’m a working artist, and that I’m very lucky to make a living solely from my craft. However, actually getting that career grant for artists from the Oregon Arts Commission was a sweet dose of validation.


Those are just a few of my 2016 highlights. What are yours?


(Oh, and as a bonus? January 20th, also known as Inauguration Day and what will surely be the day of mass protests, is also our first wedding anniversary. We’ll be doing what we can to instill celebration into that date.)

One thought on “Jessica Mehta on 2016

  1. You DID have an amazing year! My year was kind of amazing too, in a different way. At eighty-two I don’t anticipate big events (except the very last one), but I do spend time writing almost every day, had a press release actually used at the Oregonian, had an fountain of sales (more like a spirt, but very gratifying, and I now have two more novels being revised and edited. About older women, of course, a genre I and my publisher call HENLIT. Life is good.

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