SHOOTING FOR GOAL

There’s 5 or so hours left between me and January 1st. To be honest, I don’t give much of a rat’s: I’ve never once woken up on the morning of January 1st and thought “Oh my goodness, the world seems completely different to the one I went to sleep in. Lawks-a-lordy, what a fresh start this portends!” (Or, you know, words to that effect.) It’s a calendar thing, an arbitrary line drawn between ‘then’ and ‘now’, and whilst I guess I’m grinchish about it, there you are: I’ll still have to do the dishes tomorrow, and clean the bedroom, and staying up past midnight will only mean I’ll be tired and grumpy while I do them.

Still, as arbitrary underscores go, it at least draws people into examining the year just gone, and into making outlandish promises to themselves that they have neither the intention nor ability to keep. Let’s be honest: if you’ve never climbed the Matterhorn wearing only a yamulka and a willy-warmer before, being a year older and fatter ain’t gonna make it any easier. But, call ’em resolutions, or goals, or emotional signposts to a better me or whatever, we all do it, and so do I, and so I have.

It’s quite simple, really:

I’m too fat. I did well at the start of last year. I went from 110kg down to 93, and was feeling the benefits. Then I got complacent, I got lazy, yadda yadda whatever, and the wheels fell off. Onto my stomach. So, having proved I can do it once, I get the opportunity to do it again. 13 kilos by the end of the year. That’s one a month plus one, and will bring me down to 90kg, which is still too heavy but better than where I am. Plenty of exercise, better foods, better eating practices, you know the drill (More to the point, I do). And no booze, thanks to the gout, which will be easy, because I’m not that much of a drinker and I prefer my ankle to the taste of beer.

I’m not a novelist. Well, I could have been, this year, but in the end, Napoleone’s Land was just one hurdle too difficult to sell– the book was fine, barring rewrites, but the difficulty in getting publishers to look at a novel containing Aboriginal spirituality, written by an unknown white guy, defeated me. I’ll come back to it, no doubt, when I’ve got a credit or two to play with, but right now, my priority is to finish Corpse-Rat King and get it sold, and finish the first draft of another novel. I have five or six in various states of decomposition, from a 40K draft of Public Savants to 5K and a full plot outline for The Last Death of Vaz Te, to the TV script of Cirque that I could adapt… there’s plenty to be going on with. I’ll likely be around the interwebs even less next year than in 2008 (my google hits quartered over the course of the year), but that’s all part of moving on, I hope.

My house is not perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I love my house, and I love the life my family leads here. But it’s not perfect, as anyone who’s pulled up to the front garden can attest. And truth be told, I spend my money on the wrong things: for the price of that graphic novel I could have fixed that hole in the downpipe at the back of the house, and the price of that DVD could have bought a can of paint for the garden wall. If I do one thing a week, that’s 52 areas of my home I could improve by the end of the year, and 52 ways I can give my family a better lifestyle. I’ve lived inside a Work-in-Progress for too long,

And that, apart from a bunch of family goals that remain private property, is it, really. 2008 was one of those years where you endure the bumps because you can see the plain sailing beyond. Only three things will matter in 2009: my well-being, my writing, and my family.

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