Monday, December 27, 2004

GIVING INTO TEMPTATION

All right then, everyone else seems to have had a crack at this 2004 list. Here's mine.


1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Get nominated for an Aurealis Award. Witnessed natural childbirth.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I set some writing and personal goals, and achieved more than half, so for me that’s a win. I don’t so resolutions, but I do set personal and professional goals each year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
You mean apart from Luscious? J
Lyn’s brother Ray and his partner Donna had a baby girl, Grace, about 2 months before us.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My maternal grandfather, Eddie. We hadn’t been close for a few years, but he played a role in my childhood and taught me the only card trick I’ve ever learnt.

5. What countries did you visit?
Kidding, right? Much domestic travel but nothing overseas this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
A feeling of professional success. A contract for a short story collection or novel wouldn’t hurt.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
23rd January. Finally managed to extricate myself from the soul-hell that is the Australian Public Service.
26th November. Our son Connor was born.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Apart from Connor, and surviving the pregnancy with my nerves intact, probably getting out of the APS. My KSP residency was successful for the most part, too.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not completing the novel in the time frame I set myself.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not myself, but Lyn had enough problems with the pregnancy for both of us. I continued to carry the neck and back problems that have dogged me for the last 3 years.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Time with a chiropractor. I’ve had back neck problems since a car accident in late 2001, and by my first appointment could not turn my head to see my shoulders. Now I am able to do all sorts of groovy things people take for granted, like gardening, and seeing my shoulders.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Luscious Lyn, for facing a painful and horrible pregnancy with faith and determination, and the first weeks of Connor’s life with unparalleled love.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Some people in my private life, particularly one friend of Lyn’s who has since moved.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Into creating a lifestyle for my family.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My son. Having the kids over when they came for their weekends.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
I rediscovered a lot of music this year. None really stand out as indicative of the year. I had my mind on other things, and frankly most current music is appaling shite.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
Happier, more settled.
ii. thinner or fatter?
Fatter, but don’t tell my doctor.
iii. richer or poorer?
Richer, both financially and spiritually.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing, selling.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Being afraid of the pregnancy.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas morning opening presents with Lyn & the kids, then we’re going over to Ray & Donna’s for lunch and swimming in the pool. The kids go back to their father’s in the evening. Boxing Day my side of the family is coming over for lunch and more prezzies!

21. Who did you meet for the first time?
Not for the first time, but get a lot closer to the Sunday Night Crew, much to my benefit: Callisto Shampoo, Cheshire, Splanky, Mynxii, Kaneda, Sheldon, PRK & Torrie.

Also met the fabulous KA and Michelle Bedford, & the equally groovy Geoff and Diana Maloney, as well as some of the Vision crowd who came out to dinner with us during our abortive Brisbane holiday.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
Too late: I already am.

23. How many one-night stands?
None.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Battlefield Detectives. The English Premier League. (Hell, I bought cable just so I could continue to watch it.) Invader Zim. Mythbusters.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Compulsive Spike Milligan, complied by Norma Farnes.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Coin Operated Boy by The Dresden Dolls, and my stepdaughter Cassie’s musical taste.

28. What did you want and get?
Name Of The Rose on DVD.

29. What did you want and not get?
To get to Canberra for tha National SF Convention. To travel more, and get to more Cons.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Nothing really stands out.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
34. Spent it with the family.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To have finished the novel or sold the collection.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Sartorial Dyslexia.

34. What kept you sane?
Luscious.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Meh. Silly question. Move along.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Whilst it would horrify many of my peers, I really don’t give a rat’s arse about politics. I’m sure many of my colleagues would think me na├»ve, but I consider their passionate declaration for one clan over another the same way.

37. Who did you miss?
My pals from the Eastern States. I was very much looking forward to seeing them at Conflux, but events conspired against us. Hopefully one of my bestest pals will be coming over next year as Guest of Honour for one of the local cons, so I’m happily looking forward to catching up with him then. Also my mother, Monica Nelson, who died last year, and who deserved to see me reach some sort of happiness, and to meet her grandson.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Met a bunch of new people, all of whom were groovy. I shan’t pick between them.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.
Don’t get distracted. Only one person will be to blame if you don’t achieve your goals. The speed of light may be the fastest speed in the Universe, but the speed of litigation is the slowest.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
When I get home from work, I want to wrap myself around you,
I want to hug you and squeeze you until the passion starts to rise.
If I could take you to heaven, that would make my day complete.

You and me ain’t no superstars,
What we are is what we are.
We share a bed, some loving, and TV.
That’s enough for a working man,
What I am is what I am.
I tell you sweetheart, that’s good enough for me.
-You and Me, Alice Cooper.

ON SETTING GOALS, AND THEN WHISTLING HAPPILY AS THEY SPEED BY...

So with only 4 1/2 days left in the yera, and with no chance of me clearing any more goals off my to-do list, let's have a look at what I set myself way back in January, and whether I did in fact get through them.

1. Complete and send out 12+ short stories, including 2 new Father Muerte tales (and especially including the much-talked-about-to-anyone-who'll-listen-but-not-actually-started-yet Father Muerte & The Flesh)

We'll halve this one. I completed the 12 short stories, but as of writing have only written one Muerte story (although it is And The Flesh), which I'll be sending out in the next week or so.

2. The spine of the Napoleon novel worked out by 31st March. An actual title beyond The Napoleon Novel might be good, too.

Yup. Got this down.

3. Said spine fully fleshed out, with detailed character run-downs and plot twists engaged, by 30th June.

Yup. In fact, started writing earlier than anticipated.

4. 10 000 words of the novel written by the time I start the residency on 15th August.

Fell slightly behind with this one, but more than made up for it whilst at the residency, so that was okay.

5. 10 000 words of the novel completed during each week of the residency.

With ease :) In the end I managed 50 000 words in the 4 weeks I was there, plus 5 short stories.

6. Complete enough of the novel by 31st December to enable me to start contacting agents and publishers.

Ummmmm........ lot of weather we're having, isn't it? Hey, isn't that Elvis?
FX: Footsteps running off into distance.

7. As part of my desire to start making my name overseas, send stories to the following magazines: F&SF; Asimov's; Sci-fi.com; Chi-Zine; Oceans Of The Mind; Leading Edge; Gothic.net; Interzone; The Third Alternative; Strange Horizons; Weird Tales; The Strand; and 3SF.

Close, ever so close. Managed to send stories to all but Gothic.net, leading Edge, the Strand, and Weird Tales, plus managed to send to several new markets not on the list including Argosy and Brutarian. Call it a win.

8. Dust off those old comic book ideas I've had kicking in my files for donkey's, and actually send a completed script to DC and/or Marvel

Ah well, can't win 'em all.

All in all, I'll accept it as a reasonable year, especially as the pregnancy derailed many career-based plans that Luscious and I had for ourselves.

SO TO 2005

Now, next year's goals:

1. Finish Nouvelle Hollande and sell

2. Write and sell my second novel. The idea is in place, along with a tentative title of Lethologica.

3. Sell a short story collection, just in case the current publisher doesn't pick it up.

4. 500 words every day of the year

5. Sell 10 short stories.

6. Hey, rememebr those comic book ideas you had?

Let's see how that goes, shall we?

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