Where I'm At — 2012 Round Up‏

Writing Assessment for 2012

Stories Submitions: 1
Stories Acceptances: 0
New story drafts completed, but unedited and unsubmitted: 6

Poetry Submitions: 2
Poetry Acceptances: 2
Rejections: 1

Published Poems:
“Comfort at Last,” Z-composition, Issue I, February 2012 (link)
“The Teeth that are Teeth,” Z-composition (on Google+), February 2012 (link)
“Bird Collides with Window,” a handful of stones, February 11, 2012 (link) and in A Blackbird Sings: a book of small poems [US | UK | Kindle]
“Annie Taylor, Niagara Falls, 1901″ and “Red Riding Hood Remembers,” Linden Avenue, Issue I, June 2012

Total Open Mic/Readings attended: 5
Open Mic/Readings in which I actually participated: 3
Cons Attended: 1

Though I didn’t come anywhere close to completing what I set out in my Massive List of 2012 Goals, I feel fairly good about what I accomplished in 2012. I got a lot of writing done. Though I do need to step up with submitting my work, especially since I have a lot on hand to submit. Getting myself to FogCon was also great, and I’m planning to go again this year.


The following Self Assessment comes via whipchick who discovered it from kathrynrose’s Goal setting 2013.

For many months (anywhere from 4-6), I have been off my walking/running and yoga routine. My days have been mostly sedentary, with my two hour commute, sitting at my computer all day, and then sitting to read or watch TV or write when I get home. It has been very rough on my body, and I can feel how my body creaks and how my muscles ache. It’s a clear sign that I need to get back to walking and running, as my health depends on it.

However, I have been (mostly) keeping up with my calorie counting (I didn’t bother much during the holidays, when there was so much good food about, figuring I would just let myself enjoy it). It works for me. I find that I eat healthier when I’m following it, and doing calorie counting alone has allowed me to loose 13 pounds. There are several shirts and dresses and such that drape better on my body, which makes me feel great (and how my clothes fit is a better indicator to how I feel than the actual pounds lost).

It would be great, too, if I kept more regular doctor appointments.

I feel good with where my education is at with my BA. Though I’m always interested in learning more and would be open to take more classes. But I don’t really have the time for that at the moment. So, I will continue to improve my mind through reading (a given for me anyway), and participation in Cons can be educational as well as fun.

Though I would like to improve my Spanish speaking. I spent many years in high school and college, as well as ten weeks in Mexico, learning the language, soyou’d think I’d be able to speak it better than I do. I’d like to practice that more.

I still enjoy my job, though it has its frustrations. The work is often challenging and I’ve progressed enough in the office that my employer trusts me to handle most articles. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy having the opportunity to visit manufacturing plants and write about them. The commute is probably the roughest part of my work experience, and I wouldn’t mind figuring out a way to not have to deal with that as much.

In terms of my side job of freelance writing, I have not been as successful. I earned little-to-no money from my story and poetry writing so far and have not pursued it with regularity, making my output sporadic. I am less happy about that.

Daily living
I love my apartment, which is located at the end of the row giving a clear view of trees and grass, almost as if I had a back yard. However, I don’t have much, or well, any, artwork up, so the walls in the living room are very blank, making the space feel unlived in.

In comparison, my bedroom has too much stuff (since it must include office supplies, filing, arts & crafts, etc.) and it’s not very well organized (mountain-of-unfiled-paper work lives and breeds in my closet), so when I let things slip it gets cluttered. I’m sure that adds to any feelings of being overwhelmed I get throughout the work week.

Also, my household cleanliness is not great. My bathroom progresses to nasty before I’ll clean it, so I need to either abide by a cleaning schedule and/or invest in having a cleaning service come to the apartment once a month.

The commute to work is a pain in the ass, but I’m not sure how to get around it as public transportation is not viable in terms of financial savings or time and I don’t have a bicycle. I’d like to do something about it though, and it might be worth investing in a bike and trying it out one day a week.

Month-to-month I am living just above my budget, so some of my spending is ending up on credit cards. I hate that, and need to amend it immediately. I want to decrease, not increase my debt. As awesome as it is to have a job that sends me to places around the world, it also means that I’m spending a lot of money on travel, so I need to save better for my trips and plan my budget better.

I have no idea or concept of investing and have no retirement plan. This does not seem wise to me, so I need to start educating myself on financial matters and get help with a retirement plan.

As I mentioned in employment, I would like to earn more money as a writer. It’s one way to put aside money for savings and lighten my financial load a bit. Though I recognize that I can’t depend on it to save, but consider it bonus money for savings for trips and retirement investment.

Between my family and a small group of friends, I’m generally happy. I don’t want to have my social schedule overly filled, and so trips outside of the usual routine need to be planned ahead of time. I don’t do well with spontaneity because of that, though I would like to bend the extent of the routine some and start going to stage plays, concerts, or comedy shows.

I’m not good at calling or contacting family and friends who live out of state, or heck, even in state. There are a handful or more close friends, whom I have not seen in over six months. I hang out with them for a day, but then don’t see them for ages — though they are often on my mind and in my heart. I’d like to reach out and connect with them a bit more, either by making phone calls or meeting in person. This includes contacting and touching base with my penpal and many of my online acquaintances.

I enjoy solitude, moments of just me myself at home reading, taking a mental break from interacting. I would like to spend that time more wisely, not in terms of working more, but in terms of walking and allowing for silence. Hence, no TV and such during those periods.

I read (a lot) and I hang out with my baby niece.  I occasionally sketch just for the fun of it, and I’d like to do that more.

I also spend significant amounts of time flipping channels, watching shows that I don’t particularly care about. I’d like to use that time better, choose to watch shows I actually love or watch movies that interest me.

It would be fun to spend more leisure time doing outdoor activities. Geocaching, for example, would be spectacularly fun. I also like hiking and would like to explore more of the trails in the area.

Travel has been good for me with my job pitching in and allowing me to go places I might not otherwise. I’d like to do more day trips and weekend trips closer to home, though.

I used to attend Women’s Circles regularly and participate in group breath sessions and other forms of spiritual connection with self and community, but it’s been a while and I feel the absence. I miss the women I’ve met and the connection with inner calm through deep breathing (it’s funny how even as I write this I start to breathe more deeply). I’d like to meditate more on my own, but also attend spiritual events again. They were so good for me.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve fallen into the I’m-not-good-enough and I’m-not-worthy traps, especially as a writer. I know this is contributing to my procrastination around writing and submitting my work, and why I tend to choose market that pay nothing over those markets that do. So, it would be good for me to work through some affirmations and try to process that a big and dislodge some of my self-doubt.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. Feel free to comment either here or there.]

Happy New Year!

I have several 2012 round ups to post for books, movies, and life in general, as well as new goals for 2013. Those will all be thrown up this week.

In the meantime, be merry and safe with all your celebrating tonight. (I personally shall be wrapped in cuddly pajamas, playing board games, drinking beer, and being joyfully mellow with family.)

To one and all —

X All the Things

Sketch by The Oatmeal.

[Cross posted to my livejournal.]

Letting go of "should" in order to enjoy "is"

People tend to have high expectations for the Holidays, a lot of ideas of what it should be, from decorations to food to family coming together in certain and specific ways. When things don’t line up with the shoulds, things get uncomfortable. This collision of what we think it should be and what it is is where most of the conflict and tensions rise.

My family is no exception to this. There has been a lot of shifting of what the holidays look like in recent years that has required reajustments of expectations, but this year has involved an especially uncomfortable shifting. It started with Thanksgiving, and now we’re faced with it again for Christmas. It’s not even close to what it used to look like.

So various family members are pissed upset. Different family members have different expectations — each with their own set of should be‘s. I’m seeing a lot of upset feelings and a lot of unwillingness to compromise, and there’s not much I can do about it. I’m willing to give my support where I can, but for the most part how everyone chooses to handle it is beyong my control.

I’ve already had a freak out over Thanksgiving, which I processed and let go. I think that experience has let me be okay with allowing Christmas to be whatever it’s going to be. At this point, it doesn’t matter to me what it ultimately looks like — it doesn’t matter whose house it’s celebrated at, where Christmas dinners happen, when the presents are opens, and etc., etc., etc. — just so long as family comes together in love and laughter.

Because that’s the important thing. Family and love and laughter (and maybe a few carols and some spiked eggnog and some good food). All the rest is just details.

If one can just let go of the idea of the holidays they have in their heads, they can enjoy the holidays for what they are — a gathering of those we love.

Being a list of 10 things that happened this week

1. I finished, polished, and submitted my new short story, “The Shadow’s Flight,” to the anthology Rustblind and Silverbright. Clicking “send” has to be the scariest part of the writing process for me. It’s that moment when I keep wanting to do just ONE more proofread of both story and cover letter with the knowledge that once it’s been sent, it cannot be retrieved. Once it’s gone, I can sit back, comfortable in the knowledge that things are no longer within my control, and what will be will be. I’m quite happy with this story, and wether in this anthology or another market, I’m sure it will find a home.

2. I started work on another short story this week, which has been a little more challenging for me. I started out excited and enthralled with my idea, and was deperately throwing down snippets and phrases into a notebook, but now things have stalled a bit. I have the parameters all sketched out, filling in the colors and the details has turned out to be considerably more difficult. I need to give up finding the “perfect” words and just get any words into sentences and paragraphs in the hopes that my writing gang can read it and review it tonight.

3. The Untitled Werewolf Novel, which now has the tentative title of Beneath the Midday Moon, continues to evolve inside my head. I was originally going to write it in first person with a single perspective. Now, I’m planning to add another character POV, and am undecided on whether to go with first person still or with a limited third person omnicient POV. Decisions, decisions.

4. I posted a new poem on wattpad, called “Ode to an Antique Suitcase,” which you can read it here.

5. Yesterday, I pulled off my  sweater and totally freaked out, suddenly sure that I was naked underneath and had just exposed myself to the entire office — only to realize after a couple of deep calming breaths that it was fine, reall. That I was not naked, but just wearing a nude colored tank top undearneath the sweater. The panic, however, reminded me instantly of those terrible dreams I used to have in high school of being in class without my pants on.

6. Spent Thursday night hanging out with my brother and his friend in San Francisco, drinking beers and eating good food. We stopped by the restaurant he manages, called Split Bread, which is all organic food and has really good toffee cookies.

7. It is raining outside. A lot. It’s like the sky is dumping whole buckets of water on the earth, for which I am very grateful, because how else are my potted plants to get watered.

8. It didn’t help, though, that I left both rain jacket and umbrella in the car, and so had to run down the pathway, leap (unsucessfully) over a puddle and throw myself into the car — none of which stopped me from looking like a wet cat and having to sit there, shaking the water from my limbs.

9. I don’t really have anything else to say.

10. I just like round numbers.

[Cross-posted to my livejournal. Feel free to comment here or there.]

It's Friday. Huzzahs.

I’ve been somewhat sick half the week, but I’ve discovered that taking Nyquil before bed = awesomeness. What? Sleep through the night? Without my head congested and generally unbreatheable? Wake up feeling better not worse the next morning? Yeah! Why haven’t I done this before?

Because I’ve been a head full of mucus this week, I’ve use this as an excuse to be lazy. Thus no progress has been made on my anti-nano goals — I can’t, at the moment, even bring myself to open the untitled werewolf novel to even see where I’m at with it. However, I have been making some progress on a piece that will probably end up being just a little too long for flash fiction.

So that’s it in news about me.

Now I point you to this awesome post, “Black Women in Speculative Fiction: A Brief Investigation,” which increases my TBR list exponentially.

Also, here’s a meme I snatched from brigits_flame:

Book you are currently reading: The Hobbit by Tolkien, Nebula Awards Showcase 2012, and Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
Last book you read: Buffy and the Heroine’s Journey: Vampire Slayer as Feminine Chosen One, by Valerie Estelle Frankel
Book you could read again and again and again: The Hobbit and Beloved by Toni Morrison and a handful of others.
Book you are glad you read once but will never ever read again: Most recently? Probably The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett. (But I never really know what books I’ll read again.)
Favorite book (if it differs from a book you could read again and again…): Too many, but a novel that is my current favorite is Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman
Writer whose stories you enjoy immensely: Neil Gaiman, for one, Holly Black, Nova Ren Suma, Libba Bray, for others.
Writer whose style blows you away: Mostly poets, such as Ai, or Walt Whitman, or David Perez, or Karen Finneyfrock. Also, Toni Morrison.

[Cross posted to my livejournal.]