Oi m8 it’s like 2015 or something (Regarding 2014)


I wrote my annual reflection on New Year’s again. This time, it was on the side of a mountain, awaiting sunrise. I wrote it by hand, and it looks like this:

In chronological order from left to right: dark, light, way too drunk.

    Chardonnay just goes down so easy, man.

A lot of shit happened this year.

    I got published.

    I found the long start and the long end of love.

    I made my share of mistakes.

    I drank a lot.

    Right now, in fact, as I draft this reflection in my &/Sunset journal, I’m sat up on a mountain in Woodfordia with a bottle of chardonnay. I am writing in the dark and I am not writing straight. I’m surrounded by amazing people, many of whom I only met in the last thirty-six hours. 

    It is a good place here.

    I’ve been at the Woodford Folk Festival, finding some sort of spiritual recharge in among the crowds of beautiful and likeminded people. I’ve made many transient friendships. Many have come and gone, have come and will go. And I’m cool with it.

    I’m not scared of loss anymore. That is something I can honestly say. I’ve gone through enough of it this year to accept that the value of things is not dictated by their quantities or durations.

    The person who grew me the most this year wrote me a letter recently and I don’t have a reply. Not out of spite or negativity—but because endings are endings, and let sleeping dogs lie and all. It’s a solid old life, you know? Particularly with the realisation and understanding that all things go, all things go (Drunk Jono thought this was a good time for a Sufjan Stevens singalong or something). 

    The other night we became street performers. We called ourselves the Boots and Cats Pentagonal Assault. The five of us wondered the festival streets and surrounded choice individuals as they made their way from one place to another. We encircled them and beatboxed until they danced.

    We were gods.

    Two days ago I cried at a wedding. It was conducted by a local indigenous elder, and it was the broken fourth-wall of a week-long play. A declaration of love if there ever was one.


I’ve struggled a lot with mental illness this year, and the reality that is the reliance on a pill for my health. Who’s Jono, and who’s the chemicals? Are chemicals me—and does this lengthen the noble journey toward becoming Atticus Finch—that is, toward becoming able to be the same man at all times. But is this possible with the bouts of mania and depression? Have I just got to mediate myself? To do the best I can?

    I suppose that’s the goal of this whole confounded journey anyhow. Just gotta keep on keeping on going.


Ribs - Lorde (despite its 2013 release, it reflects my year the best, particularly the first half)

505 - Arctic Monkeys (just a feeling, you know?)

Black Skinhead - Kanye West (attached to a certain period of my life forever)

What We Loved Was Not Enough - Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la-la Band (best song released in 2014)

Clair De Lune - Flight Facilities (this is just a song now, but once it was more than that)

Heavy Calls & Hospital Blues - Efrim Menuck (I spent a lot of time in hospitals this year)

Flight - Casualties of Cool (perfection/peace)

Smother - Daughter (tears)

Distant Satellites - Anathema (spiritually lifting)

Altered State - Tesseract (it is important to rise back up again)

Money Trees - Kendrick Lamar (chilling)

Mother Opiate - This Will Destroy You (tears again)

Action Cat - Gerard Way (hello)

Pusher - Alt-J (we can hold hands for a pool-length underwater)

Palette - Tielsie (most unlikely soundtrack to a personal realisation in 2014)

Immunity (Asleep Version) - Jon Hopkins (you once said a prayer…)

~We Now Return You To Your Scheduled Programming~

Where am I at right now? As usual I look to music to find my footing, and only now do I realise that the album I identify with most right now isn’t even in my Top Five of the year. In fact, it’s an inherently imperfect album. And I am imperfect. I’m an eighteen-year-old arsehole who’s got half a clue at best. There's so much I don’t know—so much I have wrong in my head and in practice. I embarrass myself a lot and dig myself deep holes from time to time. I force myself out of my depth and I drown stubbornly.

The sun’s rising now and I can write between the lines. Not much wine left, either. 

    'We are young at the end of the cycle.'

    We are growing always and I am an unfinished youth. 

    I love myself as Kendrick Lamar demands. But hot damn am I unfinished—and that’s why I identify with Devin Townsend’s Z2 rather than my other top four albums:


    Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything - Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la-la Band

    Another Language - This Will Destroy You

    Hesitant Alien - Gerard Way

    Casualties of Cool - Casualties of Cool


I am happy now, above all else. I am a good writer. Over the past few days I’ve realised I need to work on the kind of stories I’m telling rather than the way they’re being told. I’m a potent technical writer, so now I just need to work on the breadth of stories and characters I’m delving into. And I’m getting there; I’m swelled up with ideas. Now I just gotta get back into practice. 

    Because after all, the universe is mine. I have the tools, so now I just need the thoughts to apply them with. Like the nails and the planks. I have one hell of a hammer.


I just ran into an old family friend while running my empty wine bottle to the bin. Then I ran into someone else and had a grand ol’ time. He’s an odd one and he fascinates me at least a little. A few weeks ago he rolled a car and stripped the numberplates to the sound of Bon Iver. Like I said, fascinating.

    And, in fact, all people fascinate me. I hope that never changes. I begin Psychology this year. I really am considering a PhD in sex and sexuality so I can be Dr Sex and fast track my pornstar career. In other news, I’ve gotta work out how I’m gonna approach drugs this year. Alcoholism is very clearly a risk—evidenced by the past couple months as well as my personality’s disposition toward negative feelings. Again, mediation is key.


(I skip here a bunch of illegible swearing at myself)


The sun’s bursting out from behind the clouds over the horizon now. It’s here. The rise of the new year, second year in a row. This time with thousands of others on a country mountainside, compared to last year with my gang of a dozen on a Graceville bridge.

    Do I deserve this?

    Fuck it.

    Everything you do is earned somehow.

    You did this yourself. 

    There is no balance. 

    There is nothing deserved.

    The world doesn’t owe you a thing.

    And the clouds are lurking spies, and the mountains are shadows, and the trees are hairs, and the grass is skin, and we’re all just breathing as one huge and singular thought, and so it goes that this was a good year. It was living.




    - Continue to nurture the growth of a thicker skin

    - Swear less

    - Find more coping strategies for those brief and serious bouts of social anxiety

    - Ideally the next novel will have even less of a deadline and illness will be averted entirely

    - No longer attend church when forced

And that’s it, that’s all folks. 

Good night, good year.


P.S. I am very serious about yolo

Jonathan O'Brien