>…for goal-making! Among other things. Because it’s almost the end of the year, and because I’m inspired by fellow Lightspeed colleague Christie’s post on goals to ramble about my own. Because I can’t remember having any specific goals last year, writing-wise, other than the general ‘get shit published.’ Plenty of life-goals, a few I accomplished, a few I didn’t (no half-marathon yet), and here we are.

But first, a bread bowl with broccoli cheese soup, because I like food and pictures.

This wasn’t the pretty serving picture, this was the picture I took after I grabbed John’s food away from him in a panic because I’d forgotten the picture. He’d already mixed in the cheese and smoked paprika, which you can see on the bread, but it still looked better than mine, which was broken apart and messy since I’d torn into it like some crazed animal.

The soup was terrific – amazing, in fact, and now I want to go get the leftovers I brought to work. I used this recipe, proceeded to add more cheddar, just the basic French bread recipe I usually make with any kind of pasta or soup. But the bowl-sized shapes were going flat with each rise, and so I gave up and cheated by just forming the bread around a small ramikan placed upside down on a baking sheet. It did the trick, as you can see.

I’m having a blast planning out Thanksgiving dinner, too – all I need is some pancetta, for the pancetta-sage turkey, and because this is Oklahoma, I have to actually go to a butcher’s. (But then it shall taste better, so I’m not complaining too much…)

Goals! That’s where I was. Let’s see. This year saw the publication of “Light Stones” and “Becoming Normal,” both of which made me very happy, and especially the latter, given its pro status. I spent about 6 weeks cleaning on Stone Lake for a friend to read, and he gave me so many things to work on – all good and necessary things, mostly structure-related – and I’m not certain I’m good enough to fix them. One day, and hopefully soon, because it’s a damn good book.

But I also wrote 4 brand new stories, and completed “Child of Fortune,” worked on two different (new) novels, spent a lot of time with Lightspeed, and did a lot of critiquing, mostly for the Fragments. It hasn’t been a huge year, but I think it’s been an important one – I learned a lot of basics, mostly in short story structuring, what works, what doesn’t, and when someone’s advice for your story isn’t the right advice for your story.

Hmmm, this doesn’t seem to be about goals any more – it’s what I have and haven’t done. And while I want to write things like ‘finish Harvester with a solid structure’ and ‘6 shorts or more in 2011, at reasonable lengths versus upwards of 8k like in 2010’, I wonder if there’s a reason I haven’t been able to make myself writing goals for the last few years. Probably because the writing itself is in charge, as are the stories – they take me where they want, and they write themselves out when they want. The only stories I’ve tried to push through for whatever reason have been painfully sluggish and awkward and unwieldy and ugly. And not fun.

Maybe my horizons need to be broad, so anything’s possible. I like that a lot.