Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Jackpot Question

2016 sucked dog balls. If you weren't fortunate enough to have spent the last twelve months in a medically induced coma, this should come as no real shock to you. From the nearly ceaseless reaping of just about every actor/artist/musician or writer I actually liked to the election of the KKK endorsed Tangerine Abomination of Desolation to the highest office, 2016 has been a shit-show.

But 2016 wasn't just a public shit-show for me. It was also the year my health suffered a major collapse, one which landed me in Loyola hospital for three days after a routine Gyno visit revealed something that looked very suspiciously like the sort of cancer you just don't walk away from. It wasn't, but that knowledge only helps so much. And if you happen to see me in real life, I'm still not actually up to talking about it all that much. I'm starting to come to terms with what psychologists irritatingly call "the new normal," but it's a long, hard road to go, and I hate actually talking to people as much as most writers do. Which is to say, like cats hate Christmas, motherfucker. Be advised.

The ambitious goals I'd set for myself, consequent to the health bullshit, remained mostly sidelined. The mental bandwidth just wasn't there. It wasn't a total rout. I started working as a proofreader. I did submit a few pieces of writing for publication. I wrote some posts. Most significantly, I finished the strongest NaNo novel I've written so far, and I actually started revising it. This is a long stretch from failure, and considering all the obstacles this bitch kitty of a year's thrown in my way, I'm going to choose to be happy with myself.

But I do want better for myself, and I've started actually believing I just might deserve it. Better doesn't happen without some sort of game plan, and as it's New Year's eve, that game plan may as well be in the form of resloutions because fuckit.

So, without further ado, here are my 2017 New Year's resolutions in no particular order and gift wrapped with a bow for your reading pleasure.

1) Run an Ultra Marathon: I have been wanting to do this pretty much since my bleeding feet slipped out of my running kicks ten minutes after crossing the finish line of the Chicago Marathon with my good buddy Cathy. Running is my happy place. It makes me feel alive, and I can use a lot more of that in my life.

2) Write one blog post a week:

This was my goal last year, and I didn't even come close. Oh well, it's still fun, and I still find myself thinking of topics and coming up with all manner of snark and silliness. Also, the blog is a good way of challenging myself to step a little way out of my ever-so-narrow comfort zone.

3) Get Politically Active:

I'm not taking the election of fat Voldemort lying down. Reading and sharing legit news stories and voting isn't cutting it any more. Like most people, I don't know a huge amount about boots-on-the-ground political activism, so as a first step I signed myself up for Citizen Muscle Boot Camp, a four week course on political activism I found out about on Best of the Left. How the rest of the year is going to unfold, I don't know yet. This is just a down payment. I'm fucked off and ready for a fight.

4) Finish the first draft of my 201 NaNoWriMo novel:

I've already put a healthy down payment on this one in December, but my goal is to average about 400 new words a day and two to four revised chapters a month. That should get me about to where I need to be by the end of next year without making me want to tear my own hair out. As an ancillary goal, when I'm asked what I'm up to, I'm going to tell people I'm writing a novel. Because it's not an exaggeration. I am. 

5) Get a better job: 

I'm a frugal person, and I have health insurance, so a hospital stay shouldn't have been such a huge setback. It was. There's only so much saving can do for you, and at this point I just need to look out for myself and my bottom line. I mean to be payed better for my hard work.

6) Pay off all of my medical debt:

This one explains itself. I don't want to be carrying around this ball and chain any longer than I have to. I want my next 4k expenditure to be a fucking European hiking trip or some shit. Not a three day stay at a "hotel" where they wake you every two fucking hours to stick you with anticoagulents and check your vitals. All respect to the people who took care of me, you saved my life literally, but if I never see any of y'all again it will be too soon.

7) Submit my shorter writing for publication:

Why the idea of joining a live-action version of The Long Walk doesn't phase me while thinking about sending my writing to a real live human for maybe even money makes my heart race and my vision black out is a real mystery to me. But this obstacle is old, and I'm bored with it. So next year I want to send out one piece of writing a month for publication. That is it. I have enough of a short story backlog that I could do this without even writing anything new. So why not take a risk? Literally nothing bad could happen to me besides a rejection..Oh the fuck well.