Sunday, January 15, 2012

2011 Under the Bridge

I’m getting to this a bit late, but an annual review post is almost obligatory, and since this would be my first annual review post, it’s doubly so. This first year of blogging didn’t progress as smoothly as anticipated. To say that it came in small, short-lived bursts would be fairly accurate, and it grew smaller and more short-lived as the year drew on. Life, and laziness, disrupts the best laid plans. And this was not “best laid”, but more along the lines of “seat-of-your-pants”.

All told, 2011 was an exciting year for me. In a time when so many are struggling, out-of-work, and out-of-pocket (including many close friends and family), I was fortunate enough to remain gainfully employed. My wife and I took a long-planned and long-awaited vacation to England in the spring, which turned out just about as perfectly as I had imagined it might.

From a writing perspective, it was neither as productive nor successful as I’d hoped. My bare handful of short stories made the rounds of some excellent magazines, with plenty of encouraging feedback but, all told, polite refusal. A glimmer of hope arrived in December with the acceptance of my story, “Flatland”, by Jabberwocky Magazine, one of my absolute favorite venues. So I’m hoping to carry that momentum of success into 2012.

The novel I began 2011 with sits (rather comfortably, for the time being, with its feet up and a full pipe of the Old Toby) at a point not far from its ending, but written so firmly into a corner that it may have to gestate there a while longer.

The good news is that I started a new novel that I’m damned excited about. It began as a short story, but I quickly realized that the idea was too large to fit within those confines. So I started from scratch. And, amazingly, I even have most of the novel loosely mapped out. That doesn’t sound like much, but given my previous methods of writing, it’s re-inventing the wheel. It seems to work, productivity-wise. It’s a great feeling not to spend the first two hours of every writing session feeling my way ahead blindly. Because, I’ll be honest, I don’t have the patience to spend two hours wringing my brain for nothing.

Within the next few days – I promise this time, no kidding – I will be posting up my 2011 reading year in review. Some great books; some not so great books. A wide variety that includes fantasy novels of various types; historical fiction; classics; short story collections; even a western (one that dually classifies as a classic, and rightfully so).

Looking further ahead - I have ideas for posts on living simply, Charles Dickens, book collecting, and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a few of them actually written.


  1. Good to see you post. And, wow, I'm gearing up for a trip to England, Scotland, and Wales in the spring. Cannot wait to go. My novels take place in Wales and I know I'm going to lose it when I start seeing all the places I've written about. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by L.G.! Your planned spring trip sounds awesome. There are so many places I want to visit and explore in the UK & Ireland that I was determined not to overdo it by rushing around too much in the lone week we had. So we stuck to exploring mainly southern England - London, Warwick, Leeds, the Cotswolds, Stratford, etc... I'm an Anglophile, so with some luck last year's adventure is only the first of several trips.

      I'm jealous of your Scotland / Wales excursions. As a lover of Scotch whisky, there's nothing I'd love more than to wander aimlessly around the highlands stopping at distilleries along the way. Our next trip will definitely include several days of hiking in the Lake District and along Offa's Dyke on the Welsh border.

      I hope you have a great time (though I'm sure you will)!

  2. Adam I know what you mean about wringing your brain for two hours. If it's any compensation it's something Leonard Cohen also experiences, and which Yeats expresses perfectly:
    I must lie down where all the ladders start. In the foul rag and bone shop of the

    I'm also glad you enjoyed England. The Welsh borderlands have a slightly weirder magic.

  3. A person could do no better than to quote Yeats on most things. Writing didn't come easy to him either, but it's fair to say that he made the most of it. ;)

    As for "weird magic" - I'm not sure I could have used a better term myself for what I search for on vacation.