A strange beginning to the year

Here I am, three days into 2012 (or, if you’re into Twitter we’re on page 3 of 366) and I’m not sure I’m exactly digging the year as yet.

In fact, I believe I’ll come to see New Year’s Day 2012 as an analogy for the entire year.

The morning started off great.  Unlike a lot of people, we took it easy on New Year’s Eve, hanging with friends, having some laughs and watching the ball drop.  I was in bed by 12:11 am.  Got a good night’s sleep and woke up refreshed and excited for the New Year.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t do my traditional playing of U2’s “New Year’s Day” first thing that’s screwing the year.  I don’t know.  We’ll reserve judgement on that one for a while longer.

What I did do is grab some breakfast, walk the dog, then sit down to take the first of 366 steps toward my newest Resolution, that is, the #WIP500 initiative I talked about in my end of year blog.  Basically, the aim is to write 500 words a day.  Every day.  And dammit, it really isn’t that hard.  I think the longest it’s taken me is maybe twenty minutes.  Who can’t take 1/72nd of a day to write?

Well…apparently me through most of 2011, for one.  But I’m fixing that now.  I’ve kept it up every day and faithfully entered my numbers on both Cara Michaels’ site (I’m #49) as well as in a separate page of this blog.

Some things I’ve noticed so far are all positive.

  1. Like I said, it takes no time at all to pound out 500 words.  I typically type for a few minutes, then do a word count check and find I’m already at the target.  Which leads to…
  2. Because it’s so painless, I actually do that word count and get a thrilling little “wow” moment.  And then I have permission to save it and not worry about it the rest of the day.  But I remember the “wow” at different points through the day.
  3. Because it’s only two double-spaced pages, I’m not writing until I have nothing left in the tank.  Hell, there’s lots left in the tank, so I can end it mid-sentence and leave a note as to where I’m going.
  4. I’m not walking around guilt-ridden all day because I haven’t written anything.
  5. I’m finally getting down a story that’s been percolating in my melon for a few years.  I’m getting to watch it come alive, two pages at a time.

So, the first hour was amazing.  Then I started on dinner, knowing it was going to be a great night with great friends.

In fact, the entire day went well until the Wife came down the stairs.  Unfortunately, most of the distance was traveled by way of flailing arms and thudding ass on stairs.  Of course, the blood-freezing scream she can bust out at times like these never helps.

So I go running to her as she came to rest on the bottom step.  And, as per usual in our house, the event was summed up neatly with dialogue between myself, the Wife and the Boy.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

“What do you think?” the Wife responds, and rather sarcastically for someone that’s just dropped ten feet of altitude at a rough and tumble forty-five degree angle.

“I think you just fell down the stairs,” I say.  “Are you okay?  Did you break anything?”

“No,” she says, dredging up her most miserable voice.  She tentatively bends a couple of joints.  No shrieks and everything bends the right way.

At this point, the Boy comes upstairs.  “What happened?” he asks.

“Your mom did her usual,” I say.

“Tried walking down the stairs and fell down them instead?” he says.

“Yeah,” I say.

“She okay?”

“She’s okay.”  Exit the Boy.

“I hate you both,” says the Wife.

She manages to hobble around the rest of the day, looking like an old man, stooped over with one hand on her lower back.  But with the aid of pharmaceuticals, she’s gets through it.

Our friends come over and we eat dinner and play games.  Much laughter ensues, including several memorable lines, such as:

  • “Babysitting is illegal.  Oh shit, wait.  Damn, I need new reading glasses.  Bestiality is illegal!”
  • “Oh shit!  I’m a duck!”
  • “I am an apology from a condom factory.”

Yes, it was a bizarre evening and it’s always a good time.

And then the evening was over.  I was left tired, but mostly happy, except for worrying about what the Wife was going through.  Her muscles were starting to tighten up and you could tell the bruises were coming.

I suggested she get into a tub of hot water to loosen the muscles, but she didn’t want to.  She’s not a “tub” person.  I remember mumbling something about it being good enough for athletes, but not her.

Which leads me to how this year seems to be shaping up.  Overall, I think it’s going to be a productive year, due to the commitment to #WIP500.  There’s going to be a lot of laughs.  There’s going to be some great realizations and learnings.  There’s going to be lots of friends and laughter.

But there will be pain too.  It’s just a part of life.

But the good thing is, I think we’ve learned to take it as it comes.  And if we can talk it through and crack a joke at the end, well then, that’s all we can ask for, isn’t it?

And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one.

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A quick wrap up

This will be a short one, readers.  Just cleaning up a few end of year details, getting ready for the new year and highlighting a milestone of sorts.

So this is 2011 damn near done.  For the first third of this past year, I say, good frigging riddance.  They were a rough time for me personally and professionally.  On the plus side, I changed jobs (within the same company), and I think I grew up a lot personally and learned to place blame squarely where most of it lay.  With me.  Then I learned to deal with it.  I also learned to stand up for myself a lot more.

The last two-thirds of the year are a whirlwind.  I joined the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) writing community and went to the Ontario Writers’ Conference on April 30.  Two days later, as a direct result of the conference, I started this blog.  Only 244 days ago.  Or 5856 hours.  351,360 minutes…or 21,081,600 seconds…give or take.

From a chance meeting at the OWC, I ended up a founding board member of the Writers’ Community of Simcoe County (WCSC).  From meetings at WCDR, I ended up great friends with members of the brand new Writers’ Community of York Region (WCYR).

At the same time, I also taught three Creative Writing courses and met a lot of new friends and writers that way.

So I’ve met a lot of writers/editors/enthusiasts.

I got published for the first time ever in August at the Festival of Fear and the response not only at the booklaunch but also ever since, whether it was readers, fellow writers or reviewers, has been so much more positive and passionate than I ever could have hoped for.

I also got reacquainted with some old friends and family and met some new ones.

In all, though it started out as the worst time of my life, it’s turned into one of the best years, professionally and personally, that I ever could have hoped for.

In the beginning, I had modest hopes for this blog.  244 days ago, I’d originally planned to put up a new blog every day.  That turned out to be unrealistic, but I have managed an average of one every two-and-a-half days.  I’ve almost hit a hundred posts, which seemed so unattainable way back in May.

Which leads me to the milestone I was talking about.  Sometime today, I’ll cross 10,000 hits (only 26 to go as I write this).  Now, I’ve come across some blogs that have had ten or twenty times that, but for me to have an average of forty people viewing this site daily or about a 100 or so per blog post…when it didn’t even exist in April…that’s surprising to me.  It always shocks me that so many people are somehow interested in anything I have to say.  Because most of what I say is either dirty, profane or doesn’t make sense.  Ohid I actually good peanuts!

And yet, still you come.

And starting tomorrow, or next year, however you want to look at it, I’ve decided to make three resolutions.  Two are easy, the third’s going to be a challenge for me.

  1. Keep doing what I’m doing when it comes to my family and friends.  I don’t want to lose any of them because of my boneheadedness.
  2. Create a page on here to let you know what I’m reading.  As a heavy reader and a pathetically slow writer, I’m always interested in what others are reading.  When I visit someone’s house, I always look at what books they have on their shelf.  So I’m gonna let you know as well.  Could generate discussion…could suck.
  3. (And this is the hard one, folks)  Write an average of 500 words a day.  Every day.  I came across a site (thanks Jason Darrick!) that is set up like an all-year NaNoWriMo, but, at least for me, seems a little more attainable.  So I’m not going to count blog posts in the word count.  Only actual fiction writing.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress here.  Yes, in public.  Humiliation works wonders.

That’s it.  Next year at this time, we’ll see how I did.

So, thank each and every one of you who take time out of your day to stop by.  I really do appreciate it.

Have a fantastic 2012 and let’s keep doing this, shall we?