Happy New Year!
Well, it seems de rigeur to post a retrospective of the year, so this post is going to be a little personal. Feel free to skip over it if you’re not that interested.
In 2006, I managed to do a lot of things:
- My father passed away. I miss him, and I wish I could call him… and I wish I’d called him more often.
- Lime and I got through a major hurdle, which was managing a relationship where one member is working 120-hour weeks. She’s been so busy, but now that’s over, and she’ll have perhaps the best hours of any medical resident in the country.
- I managed to get a good job at a proper university, and managed to get out of my previous job without much trouble.
- I taught at my new job for two semesters and, seemingly, did a pretty good job of it. My reputation here among students is now the same as at my previous job — I am the teacher who gives a lot of homework. But I’ve also done things as diverse and delivering lectures on popular cultures in various different countries, and taught people who to public speak, and mounted a semi-successful drama course (which, really, is the second of its kind I’ve run, but the more successful). As well, I’ve picked up some editing work for another department on campus.
- I started writing again seriously. Now it’s not just something I occasionally work on when I get an idea. I’m working on something almost all of the time, which doesn’t necessarily mean everyday, but does mean I always have at least one or two projects “on the go”.
I’ve also started sending stories out. Right now, I have ten sent out, with one more waiting to be printed up and mailed out. I’ve gotten a few rejections, but also some positive feedback in some cases, and I have some high hopes for a couple of the places who’ve got my work on hold lists.
- I’ve written columns for the Canadian womens’ magazine Cahoots, and even helped translate a Korean childrens’ book into English. (More on that when the book is actually out!)
- I attended Clarion West Workshop, and was taught many wonderful things not only by my teachers, but also by my classmates, who I’m still in touch with in an online crit circle. This revved up my reentry into seriously working on writing.
- Healthwise: well, I developed at least two annoying conditions, one of which involves my eyes and the other of which I won’t mention here, except to say that sitting too much is bad for your prostate. But I finally got my fingernails back. Over a decade after the original diagnosis, and many misdiagnoses, my girlfriend’s off-the-cuff diagnosis in 2005 finally led to me taking medications in that year and 2006 which finally led to me having fingernails again. It’s a very nice thing not to have to hide one’s ravaged hand.
- I started actually going to the gym. I won’t lie, my father’s passing away had something to do with it, but also, in general, I’m just trying to get into better health. I’d say my diet is 70% healthy. I’m going to shoot for 95% for this year. Making salad doesn’t take so long, and now that I know how to use the oven in the basement, I can grill things instead of just using the gas range in my apartment. I’m even considering cutting back on coffee, or going right off it.
- I’ve blogged a LOT, but also, towards the end of the year, cut back a lot. I think I’m going to optimize my blog for occasional posting, as part of my effort to minimize the time I spend at the PC doing anything besides school-related work and my “real” writing. Of course, I will still blog. But just, less.
- I’ve gotten a little more negative, and a little more positive, about Korea; both at once. The things that used to bother me in Jeonju aren’t the same things that bother me in Kyeonggi. There are different problems here. I’m worried about North Korea, especially with the way the current government is still pushing the Sunshine Policy even though the neighbour’s been testing nuclear weapons. I’m still bothered by the jingoism that comes out of the mouths of even some intelligent people I know. Yet I also know many students who have impressed me with their insights and criticisms of the world around them. Things might just turn out okay after all.
- I’ve (re-)learned to cook a couple of things, especially chamchi jjigae and a roast chicken.
- I’ve begun to call my mom more often.
- I didn’t travel much: I mean, I actually flew to all of the following places, in this order: Incheon; Bangkok; Krabi; Bangkok; Incheon; Taipei (stopover); Vancouver (stopover); Saskatoon; Vancouver; Incheon; Fukuoka; Incheon; Seattle; Calgary; Saskatoon; Calgary; Vancouver; Seattle; Incheon; Singapore; Melbourne; Canberra; Melbourne; Singapore; Incheon. I flew enough to get a bunch of upgrade tickets and a nice card from my airline. But a lot of those trips were brief, or cut short, or involved work at a computer for hours at a time, so I don’t feel like I actually traveled much, if you know what I mean. Oh, and by bus I also made a trip with Lime into Kangwon province, and saw the northernmost point in South Korea, as well as, I think, Baekdu Mountain and other emptiness in the North Korean countryside, over the (fortified) border.
As for next year:
- Lime and I are going to be living together, which is going to present all kinds of good things, as well as all kinds of new challenges. I’m going to try to adjust my sleep schedule and writing schedule to maximize the time we have together.
- I’m going to get published in a major SF magazine. I don’t know which one yet, but it’s going to happen this year. Hopefully more than one.
- I’m going to lose weight, gain muscle, and subsist on a diet that would make any trainer proud. No more pizzas on the evenings when I feel too tired to cook. That’s why rice cookers were invented. A steady supply of panchan and rice, and salads, is what I plan on eating during the week this year. I mean, there’s a gym just on campus, a cafeteria that offers good, healthy food, and I only have one writing class next semester. There’s no reason to waver.
- I’ll be doing some traveling in 2007. Possible destinations include: Canada, to see my mom and introduce Lime to her; the East coast of China, from Beijing to Shanghai with Nanjing and Suzhou along the way (yes, research for a novel I may write); Moscow and St. Petersburg, plus Ukraine and maybe Romania (research for a different book that I am sure I will write); and of course, WorldCon in Yokohama at the end of the summer, where I’ll see at least some Clarion West classmates and nobody can say who else will turn up. Anyway, one of the things I’m looking forward to is having other places to write about, besides Korea and North America. The more I travel, the more I can at least feel equipped to do the research to write about other places.
- I’m going to write and redraft my remaining short stories, work on editing my ghost-story novel (the one about the foreigner ghost stranded in the Korean countryside), and next fall, I’ll start work on a new novel, an alt-history space opera that begins when a circus comes to town in a little village in Russia sometime in the 1940s.
- I’m going to call my mom more often. I’m calling her more than I used to, but I want to call her more often still.
- I think I’m going to actually just have a vacation. I had time off in 2006, but very little of it felt relaxed, and there waqs a lot of rushing around involved. I’d almost be willing to just cancel China and go lie on a beach somewhere for a few weeks, to be honest. It’d probably do me some good, too, just catching up on reading and so on. Hell, I could even spend a few hours a day writing.
- I’m going to set a limit on my writing classes. As long as the university doesn’t cap enrollment on writing courses, I’m only going to take one a semester, because more than one is just too demanding.
- I’m thinking about practicing the saxophone a little. Working my chops back up. My real hope is to pay off all my debts next year — which has just loomed into the range of doable things recently — and thereafter, I think the first nice thing I’ll get for myself is a new baritone saxophone, and let me tell you, there’s nothing harder to do than get your chops back up on a bari sax (except maybe doing it on a soprano sax). So I think I’ll talk to the Music Department about signing up to pay the dues necessary to get the right to use a practice room; barring that, I can use my office in the evning, I suppose.
- I’m going to work out a decent long-term system for backing up my writing files, and really totally sort my writing archive. It’s mostly sorted, but there are a few things that need to be tidied more, and I need everything to be centralized in one place that’s reliable, as well as a scheduled habit of backing up to DVD-ROM.
- I’m going to try to slow down my book purchases and read a lot of what’s on my shelves now, as well as read the good stuff I can find in the library. I have more than enough books for the next few years, so from now on I think I’ll only get books if they’re direly needed for research, or authors that I simply must read (and will read within a month of acquisition). I have a LOT of fiction just sitting there, and now that I have a better handle on just tossing a book aside if I don’t find it working for me, it shouldn’t take me forever to get through everything; life is just too short to give everyone a second chance, in terms of reading, I think… not when there’s so much that just works right off the bat.
That looks like about it for me. There’s one more thing that will probably happen in the coming year, which will probably blow the lid off the above list, but I can’t say anything about it quite yet. Patient readers will know soon enough.
So there goes my last post of the year. Once again, Happy New Year to all!