It’s time to close out 2013 on Byzantium’s Shores. My other retrospective posts are below this one, so check them out as well. After this I won’t be posting here again until the second day of 2014! (That’s Thursday, folks. Don’t panic, now.)
I do this quiz at the end of each year, so here goes:
Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I only ever resolve to read more, write more, and eat healthier. These things, I did!
Did anyone close to you give birth?
My church’s former youth pastor did, so yay, her! She then promptly moved to Chicago, so…boo hiss! (But not really.)
Did anyone close to you die?
What countries did you visit?
We never left the US this year, except for my journeys to fictional lands in my mind. But we did get in a trip to Cape May, NJ. It was a really busy year, though!
What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
My usual answer: A book on my shelf, a real book, printed by a publisher and everything, that I wrote. As I’ve already noted, I’ll be self-publishing in 2014, so keep an eye on this space! It’s coming. Oh yes, it’s coming.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Writing, writing, writing!
Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title): two rounds of edits based on beta-reader commentary. I will make one more pass through this book, with a fine-toothed comb, and then I want to have it available by the end of 2014. (Just in time for Christmas!)
Princesses In SPACE!!! Book II: Attack of the Cloned Princesses (not the actual title): I finished the first draft at the tail end of summer, and I am now making my first pass through the manuscript. My goal is to have to my squad of beta-readers by the Super Bowl. My current plan is to have this one available, via self-pub, at the end of 2014.
GhostCop (not the actual title): First draft is done. I’ll make a run through it at some point in 2014. Not sure when.
The Adventures of Lighthouse Boy (not the actual title): Currently writing the first draft. No idea, really, when it will be done — I’m giving myself license to write as long a book as I want for this one, as it’s intended as a stand-alone novel.
Princesses III: I only have a tiny idea of what happens in that book. I don’t expect to get around to starting it until sometime in summer 2014.
GhostCop II: No idea at all what will happen here. I’m envisioning this as a series, but this one’s so far out that I as yet haven’t the faintest idea what’s going to happen in it. Winter 2014 at the very earliest.
Second book set in the Lighthouse Boy universe: That’s so far out there’s no point even thinking about it yet. Which means, of course, that my Muse will torment me with ideas for it any day now.
And finally, there’s Deliverance, eh? (not the actual title), the book I started and cranked quite a bit of words on for NaNoWriMo 2012 before I bogged down completely. I still like the idea and I’d like to revisit it someday, but…who knows when.
You may be able to tell from all this that I’m all about planning my writing career out. I don’t have time for the luxury of lack-of-focus anymore.
What was your biggest failure?
Well, I didn’t get any nibbles on the agent or publisher front. But is that a “failure”? I’m not sure that it is.
What was the best thing you bought?
The Wife and I got smartphones. Suck it, LouisCK!
Whose behavior merited celebration?
The Wife, The Daughter, and generally lots of folks!
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I’ve really found that burying myself into work as much as possible doesn’t leave me enough time to be appalled or depressed. I’m still not thrilled with the political right in this country, but…that’s about it, really.
Where did most of your money go?
Food, bills, books. Same as most years!
What did you get really excited about?
A wonderful vacation, and the sense that I’m moving forward as a writer even as I figure I’m doing it myself!
What song will always remind you of 2013?
OK, I really had to think about this one a while, but given recent decisions about the way I’m approaching things, I came up with one that may seem a little corny. But you know what? It fits!
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Happier. I have a good run going now.
Thinner or fatter?
Thinner! Every time I go to the doctor I’m a few pounds lighter. Not a ton, but it’s coming off, slowly and surely. I love that.
Richer or poorer?
Richer. We’re not “rich”, obviously, but a lot of hard work seems to be turning the ship in the direction we want to go, at long long long last.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Reading and writing, of course. Walking. I love walking, and didn’t do nearly enough of it this year.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time online instead of writing.
How did you spend Christmas?
Did you fall in love in 2013?
As ever, I fall in love on a daily basis.
How many one-night stands?
Zero. I’m taken, as always!
What was your favorite TV program?
Person of Interest. I’m still working on a post in my head about how well-written that show is.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate doesn’t work for me, so I avoid it.
What was the best book you read?
River of Stars, by Guy Gavriel Kay. (Holy shit, I never reviewed it. I just now realized that. Oy….)
What was your greatest musical discovery?
Bartok, courtesy a concert I attended with The Wife a month or so ago.
What did you want and get?
Two more finished manuscripts. A smartphone. Clarity of purpose and a sense of direction!
What did you want and not get?
An agent or a publishing deal. But hey, I’ll just do it myself. There are some power tools I have my eye on that I haven’t picked up yet. And somehow, I was never able to get on the calendar for a pieing by The Wife. I’ll just have to try and get that done twice in 2014.
What were your favorite films of this year?
We liked Thor II: Thor Harder a lot.
What did you do on your birthday?
As usual, I worked, and then we took our annual trip to Ithaca, NY for the Apple Harvest Festival. This year’s Festival was odd because they are completely renovating the public commons area in which the Festival takes place, so this year it was shunted off into a couple of different spaces. Next year should be back to normal, though.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Yeesh, maybe I should just retire this question, as my answer never changes. I’m all about utilitarian clothes.
What kept you sane?
Same reply as last year: Laughing; reading; writing; discovering that even though we’ve been together in one way or another for almost twenty twenty-one years, I still have ways of getting to know The Wife; singing loudly in the car when I’m by myself; torturing The Daughter with awful puns (something my father did to me, coincidentally enough!); geeking out to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings; getting hit in the face with pies. It’s awfully hard to take yourself seriously when crust, custard, and whipped cream are dripping from your face.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
John Oliver’s stint as host of The Daily Show was brilliant from pillar to post. Really, really well done!
What political issue stirred you the most?
I continue to be confused by the “Free enterprise will fix every problem” crowd.
Who did you miss?
Sherlock Holmes. He’d better be back soon — oh. Excellent!
Who was the best new person you met?
I’ve connected with a bunch of fellow writers on Twitter and Instagram, which is always wonderful — the more fellow travelers one has, the easier the journey. Most notable is Natasha Head, a Canadian poet.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
Read and write every single day.
And keeping the ones from years past: We learn by screwing up, so embrace your inner FAIL! The Internet is made of people. Never, ever punt. (You know, I’m serious about that one. F*** punting. Always go for it. Even if it’s 4th and 30. From your own 2.) Democracy works wonders, but it works them eventually. Not all tears are an evil. Whipped cream is a miracle substance. So is ice cream.
Use your local library! Limiting your reading to only those books you can afford to buy is madness. OpenOffice rules. Buy good tools, take care of them, don’t lend them out, and they’ll last forever. Pie is wonderful stuff, whether on your plate or in your face. Screw fashion; if it’s comfy, wear it. We’re not meant to be alone. No object fits in your hand so perfectly as your wife’s hand, and no object fits so perfectly on your shoulder as your child’s head. Let it be, and all you need is love.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
See, I was trying to think up a song that abounds with cheery optimism. A song with lyrics about not being stopped, not letting the rules get in the way, and making dreams come true.
So, the Byzantium’s Shores 2013 anthem is…
…and yes, I am totally serious…
…the theme song from Laverne and Shirley!
Give us any chance, we’ll take it.
Give us any rule, we’ll break it.
We’re gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin’ it our way.
Nothin’s gonna turn us back now,
Straight ahead and on the track now.
We’re gonna make our dreams come true,
Doin’ it our way.
There is nothing we won’t try,
Never heard the word impossible.
This time there’s no stopping us.
We’re gonna do it.
On your mark, get set, and go now,
Got a dream and we just know now,
We’re gonna make our dream come true.
And we’ll do it our way, yes our way.
Make all our dreams come true,
And do it our way, yes our way,
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you!
No, I will not be starting each writing day with “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Schlemiel, Schlamazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”.
And as always, in a ‘last but most certainly not least’ vein, I’d like to thank all you fine, wonderful readers for dropping by this year, either regularly or ‘once-in-a-while’. May each and every one of you enjoy a healthy, happy, and ultimately heavenly 2014!