Yon annual big-ass year in review meme.
1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before? Saw my book published. Won an Aurealis Award. Won the Australian Shadows award.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No, and no.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No.
5. What countries did you visit? None.
6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006? An agent.
7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 20th January. Finally moved into our new house.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I don't feel like I've achieved very much at all this year. Maybe the publication of Through Soft Air, I guess.
9. What was your biggest failure? In my best Cerebus the Aardvark voice, "All of it!".
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just the usual back and neck pain.
11. What was the best thing you bought? That'd have to be our house. Also, the canvas and paints for our massive dining room family artwork.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Luscious, as always.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I've tried not to keep track so much this year. Some peers, some editors, some family, me, the usual mix. Special marks to Cassie for several truly awful moments. She's my big hope for 2007- I want to see the return of my favourite Bonus Daughter.
14. Where did most of your money go? The house. Clarion. Lyn's massage course.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Tutoring at Clarion. The publication of the book.
16. What song will always remind you of 2005? The David Bowie compilation CD Grant Watson burned for us.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? Sadder, fatter, poorer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Writing, as always. Being with my family. Seeing my children achieve their milestones. Travelling with the family.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Travelling to my day job. Having my day job. Dealing with other people's former lives. Dealing with my own.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? With Lyn & the kids, kicking back as far as possible. We've even set things up so we don't have to cook! I believe music and paddling pools will feature large :)
21. Who did you meet for the first time? Iain & Lynn Triffitt. Launz! Gillian Pollack. Karen Miller. Tansy & Finchie's daughter Aurelia. Maia? The lovely Jo, Wuffie, Jim Frenkel, Russell Blackford, and undoubtedly a whole bunch of other people at Conflux. Bound to be a bunch I've forgotten: I have a tendency to think I've known you longer than I have. The usual mass of online personages.
22. Did you fall in love in 2006? Stayed in love. Much better.
23. What was your favourite TV program? Time Team and Battlestar Galactica. Yep, I've found another SF TV show I think is decent. That brings the total to..... uh...... two?
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? No, I don't really have the energy for hate these days. A lot of people wearied me, though, and I'm slowly cutting my exposure back.
25. What was the best book you read? It's Goodnight From Him: An Autobiography of The two Ronnies by Ronnie Corbettwas really very engaging. Marvel 1602. Doom Patrol: Down Paradise Way, and The Painting That Ate Paris. Beside Myself by Antony Sher.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? It was a case of new stuff by old fellows this year. The Bowie 89-99 CD hasn't left high rotation since Grant gifted it to us, and the 3 CD set of his earlier work has remained a constant companion. Besides that, Songs From the Labyrinth by Sting and Edin Karamazov is by turns beautiful, haunting, and fascinating. I've been turned off the radio this year by the proliferation of rap and hip-hop every time I tune in, so I've missed most of the new music coming out. I'm hoping 2007 will rescue me from being an old man.
27. What was your favorite film of this year? Capote. Children of Men. Otherwise, it was a pretty ordinary cinematic year.
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 36. The kids made me breakfast in bed, Lyn took me out for lunch, and I spent the rest of the day reading my Ronnie Corbett book and watching my Dave Allen DVD. And Chuck McKenzie claims he never left the 70s... :).
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? An absence of ex-husbands.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006? Fat.
31. What kept you sane? Play time with Connor. A little de-stressing ritual Lyn and I developed, in which we make up a platter of finger foods and lie together on the bed, drinking wine and eating brie, honeyed cashews and the like, watching something together on the TV: a slice of utter us-time amongst the chaos.
32. What political issue stirred you the most? Australian politics is overblown and boring, and I avoid it as much as possible. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.....
33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006. Not a single person in the world cares about your plans as much as you do.
34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Life has a way that's unpredictable
But you can't spend it waiting on a miracle
-- Believe, Bernard Fanning
Every single one of them. Every. Single. One.
The goals I set myelf for 2006, back in December 2005. And I failed to achieve every single one:
Okay, so I'm going to: lose 10 kilos, write 10 stories and attempt to sell as many, write and sell a new novel, and I've set an amount of money I want to earn over and above my regular wages to contribute to the mortgage. Odds anyone?A nice task I set myself is to start each year by beginning a new story on the 1st of January, no matter what projects I'm already working on.
I'm so not doing this for 2007. I have two goals for the year, both of which hinge on the actions of others, so this time next year, when I've failed to achieve those, I can blame other people!
Always thinking, me.....
A SENSE OF PROPORTION
I have a strange bipolar sense of my achievements this year. If I list them objectively, then by any set of standards I've had a pretty good year: published a book; won a couple of awards; worked on a couple of fantastic projects; wrote a Doctor Who story and patted my inner child on the head with it; was commissioned to write a screenplay for a motion picture; moved into my new house....
Yet my overall emotional reaction, when I look back over the year, is one of disappointment. I don't feel like I've had a good year. So where the hell does it come from? Well, there's a lot of personal stuff, stuff that doesn't see the light of blogging, but that happens every year, and I plough through and take comfort from my wife and children, and that hasn't changed. So what is it?
The reason, I think, is that I identify myself so heavily as a writer. Nothing terribly awful or unusual about that, as far as I'm concerned: nobody weirds out at a plumber who identifies himself with his job, or a Public Servant (Maybe a proctologist, but, you know....) A lot of people at my day job identify themsevles via their work, and as I don't give a rat's arse about my day job, and I give a big rat's arse about my writing career (You know, that really doesn't come out quite right, does it?) I figure I've got one identificational landmark in the bank....
So writing is a large part of who I am, and while I've been working on big things all year, I've really not written, finished, and sold anything. I've grown used to that routine. I average ten or so story sales a year, and it's come to mean something central to my perception of myself as a writer. That little kick, that little buzz, that comes with the acceptance letter, the cheque, and then watching from afar as the magzine is put together, as they send you a pdf of your illustration, you might get a sneaky peek at the cover illo, it hits the shelves or you do a reading at the launch..... it's a fucking wonderful state of affairs, and apart from the collection (a schemozzle for another time...), I've not had it this year.
Fuck: I'm an addict. I mean, genuinely, without a sense of irony, to all intents and purposes I have developed an addiction to the act of writing and selling short stories. And it's affecting my moods.
That really disturbs me, actually....