Long Climb to the New Year
It comes time for reflection on the past year, and looking forward to the new one. It also comes time to review my goals and see where I stand.
For those who do not remember, my original goals from 2013. Reviewing all I had planned, and all I did, just brings to mind one of my favorite exchanges from Doctor Who
“I have failed.”
“Yes.” [Sees D84 lower his head] “Oh, come on! Don’t be upset. Yes, you’ve failed, you’ve failed. But failure is one of the basic freedoms.” ~The Fourth Doctor & D84. “Robots of Death”
I can say without equivocation I’ve failed in all my goals. My discipline is lax, my typing skills are not what they once were (I sometimes feel my hands stiffening, as if resin crawled along my tendons), and I am so distracted it is not funny. This entire year, I’ve focused on Ivre, aside from a failed attempt at camp NaNoWriMo. Though focused is a kind thought.
Were there any successes? Yes, but not on my writing goals. In life, the successes came with love, more trips to a variety of cons, and a new home. The day job is still a monster which devours all things, but I must learn to live with it and plan around it. I need to find the small hours, the tiny spaces when I can steal time away and write.
What about this year? What goals should I set? One goal will always remain: Finish Ivre. I’m so close. The last few pages of the outline tick away. All the scenes are planned and plotted. I simply need to keep writing, keep digging, and block the rest of the world from my view.
And short stories. My big regret is producing nothing in the way of short fiction. This year, I need to produce a story a quarter, and submit them. Even if a skinner box is needed, with Leo McKern in a circular chair laughing at my attempts, I will produce and submit short stories.
Admitting to failure is difficult. No, sorry, it’s painful. Imagine swallowing caltrops, then having a boxer punch your stomach until nothing remained but bloody, shredded meat. “You do it perfect the first time!” was my father’s refrain as I grew up. Living in my loud, furious replica of a war-torn Balkan state, there was no right of failure for me. Failure heralded an “Aye, you stupid…!” yell from my father, or motherly helecoptering resembling the “Ride of the Valkyries” scene from Apocalypse Now.
But I have to admit I failed. Now, I do what scientists and engineers and dreamers always do. I pick up the pieces, look at how I can improve, and try it again. Do better next time.
Maybe that should be my goal for next year: Do better than the last.