BRING IT ON, FUTURE BITCHES!

It being the last Sunday of the year– oh yeah, don’t think I don’t keep track of these things– Luscious and I peeled the children away from the X-Box long enough to deposit them in our favourite outdoor cafe and discuss our goals for the coming year. Every year we set some personal goals, as well as a list of things we’d like to achieve as a family. We stick them up in the kitchen where everyone can see them, and run a thick black line through each one as we achieve it: simple stuff, but remarkably effective.

I spoke about my 2013 goals, and how I maybe might have scraped a pass mark provided you squinted at them through a plate of sheet metal in a darkened room in my Year in Review post. So now, for your entertainment and my ultimate embarrassment, here are my goals for 2014:

  1. Finish and send Father Muerte & the Divine. It’s written, but it needs some heavy structural edits. It’s by far the most complex work I’ve undertaken, and the first draft reflects that. I’ve been avoiding it like a cowardly coward for about three months now, so it’s time to gird my girdables and get about it.
  2. Finish and send one picture book. I’ve actually started three, and it’s a fun holiday project. I’ve enjoyed the process of completing a children’s novel so much I’m eager to explore the territory further.
  3. Finish and send Canals of Anguilar. I managed approximately 12 000 words during Nanowrimo, until the month went severely southward and banjaxed all writing attempts. Along with the Muerte novel, it’s my next major novel work and I want them both off my desk by year’s end.
  4. Finish and send Cirque. A teen fantasy novel, I’ve had 15 000 words of it sitting in my desk for over a year, waiting for reasonsthat’swhydon’tjudgemeYOU’RENOTMYSUPERVISOR! I’m committed to expanding my repertoire. Here’s an opportunity waiting to be seized.
  5. Volunteer for the Aurealis Awards Graphic Novel section. I did this a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it. Simple as that, really.
  6. Exercise 4 days out of every 7. I’m not setting weight loss goals. I’ve done that every year for the last 5 or so years, and it’s never worked. This is a change of approach– I’ll work on the root causes, and if the weight loss follows, all the better. But at least I’ll be raising my energy levels, keeping my muscles limber, and dealing with the general health complaints that have built up and made my 2013 a difficult one. To which we can add…
  7. Stick to a controlled eating plan 5 days out of 7. Elevated uric acid levels, elevated cholesterol levels, and I’m a fat bastard. Bit of a non-brainer, really. Except I have no brain, which is how I got into this state in the first place…
  8. Write a list of 50 home maintenance tasks, and complete them. I hate our giant white elephant of a house. It’s a ramshackle, dodgily-built mistake. But we’re stuck here for the foreseeable future, so there’s little I can do but set about fixing everything that makes me so depressed when I look around.

So there it is. How will I do? Your guess is as good as mine. But it’d be nice to think the me that faces 2015 is thinner, fitter, happier, and has a more impressive writing CV than the one who faces 2014.

Also, I’d like a unicorn.

 

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.

WHY I LOVE FLYING

Now, it’s well known that Luscious has a phobia about flying. It’s probably less well known that I’m as eager about it as a private school student with a trip to see Nursie and a bowl of warm vaseline. I loves it, I tells ‘ee, I bloody loves it.

I mean, come on! On Sunday night, interrupted only by an attractive woman who gave me a warm meal with a cool drink and a chocolate bar and who then did the dishes for me, I: read several stories from the Ray Vukcevich collection Meet Me In The Moon Room and discovered another author I would kill to write like; saw a movie; watched Stephen Fry drop Parky to the floor in hysterics; wrote an entire short story; ate; drank; did I mention the chocolate?; had a nap; and performed one of my favourite solo acts, that I’ve not had the opportunity to do in some years- listened to several hours of music, in the dark, with my eyes closed with no fear of interruption.

What’s not to love?

LABYRINTH OF THE FAUN

Saw Pan’s Labyrinth whilst in Brisbane. It’s a slow movie, and for much of the first two-thirds of the film seems slow without great reason to be so. Then the screws tighten, and it slides towards so many terrible consequences with inexorable momentum that you find yourself appalled and invested in equal quantities.

It’s a remarkable achievement: layered, complex, and deeply tragic. I fell in love with it a little bit, I think.

As my pal Ben Maulbeck said afterwards: all that, and Franco still ruled for 40 years.

….AND IT’S GOODNIGHT FROM HIM

All right, that’s all for now. A smattering of falderal to finish–

I’ve been contatced by Producer Matt, who wants me to work on a third draft of the movie. This is a good thing: he likes where I’m taking it and has a screed of notes to help me thicken the world behind the plot. I should have it all done by mid-late February. If this movie doesn’t get made, I may have to climb a water tower….

I’ve received a swathe of good advice regarding the selling of Napoleone’s Land, and I’ll be pushing hard to turn this excellent (in my humble opinion 🙂 ) manuscript into a sold novel over the next few months. My deepest thanks to Kate Eltham, Gavin Grant, and Kelly Link for the wisdom.

I anticipate having two new stories in envelopes by the end of next week, and half a dozen out by the end of February. After a lean 2006, I have sloughed the majority of distractions from my eyes, and am prepapring for a significant change in my work habits across 2007. My second novel, The Corpse Rat King, should crest the halfway point by end of February as well, which will make me a happy writer.

I’ve read over 50 stories already this year, counting the 17 I read from my Clarion students. The Batterslog has been updated. No novels as yet: I might remedy that after I finish the collection I’m currently reading. Of course, maybe I should shove graphic novels under that heading. That’ll fill it out pretty quickly 🙂

Back to school for Aiden tomorrow. Think pitying thoughts at about 8.30 Perth time. Erin starts pre-primary on Thursday, and due to a happy confluence of tween-jobbyness, I’ll be able to take her for her first day. Tune into the mentosphere and feel my happiness 🙂

Erin’s first tooth fell out while I was in Brisbane. Apparently, the tooth fairy pays $2.50 at Nanna’s house! She’ll be taking a significant pay cut if she ever flies around here, I can tell you….

The Chronicles of Riddick is a piece of shit. But such a fun piece of shit.

Dinosaurs and Satan. Who could ask for more?

I have no words to tell you how wrong this is. It’s so very, very wrong. I laughed so much I was in pain.

KEEPING TRACK

I wasn’t really going to do this, because I don’t set myself goals for reading or watching films, but then I decided, hey, what the heck: it won’t cost me terribly much more effort than my normal blogging, and it’ll be interesting to see what I get through.

2006 was a pretty thin year on both cinema and reading fronts: I just didn’t get out to see much, and didn’t read much while I was failing to get out. This year I’m going to make an effort to do a bit more. And, you know, I’m always keen to see how much I write.

So, a reading/writing/watching log. And let’s be honest: given the name of this little journal, what else could I call it, but–

The Batterslog.

For what it’s worth.