>While it’s far from original to talk about what I accomplished and what I didn’t this last year, I’ve decided that doesn’t matter, since I want to up my consistency on this blog. I’m foregoing half of my morning pages in order to write this; I was going to put it down on paper, so I might as well put it here. Maybe this will make it just a little more real, giving it a sort of clairvoyance that is typically never apparent to anyone but me when it’s only my morning pages notebook.

After 2009, which held so many new things that I could hardly function – culture shock in moving to OKC from Chicago, leaving my dearest friends behind, new job, Mom getting sick and dying, marrying John the day after, Grandma Lil having a stroke on Thanksgiving and dying, snowed in and unable to be with family on Christmas (sounds overly dramatic, but I really needed my family that first holiday without Mom) – there was 2010, which found me in a stupor most of the time. I finally had about 3 months of grief counseling in the spring, which both helped and didn’t (which is why it only last 3 months), and learned quite a bit about myself in the meantime. The last two years really go together, as two years ago to the day was when I’d left Chicago, and life changed so drastically.

Accomplishments: I did do a lot last year, despite that numbness. Less involvement in OWW because I threw myself into Lightspeed Magazine. Lots and lots of crits for the Self-Forging Fragments. I read voraciously (I’m going to start keeping track of what I’m reading, I think; I’ve been slack on that), especially the first 2/3rds of the year, as the last third I mostly read both online and print SFF magazines, which really took up quite a bit of time. I miss novels, so more of those this year.

But not only did I complete a hasty revision of Stone Lake, (for a trusted peer to peruse and point out its flaws), I finally finished “Round Robin” and “Child of Fortune, Child of Labor,” the latter taking up nearly the first third of the year, having starting back in September 2009, likely both because it was the first serious story after Mom died, and its length of 15k and hard SF content.

New stories: “Stars through the Window,” “Parasite,” “Lisse,” and “The Harvester,” which just received an Editor’s Choice review on OWW, and a lovely, lovely review from Karen Meisner of Strange Horizons. Harvester the novel has about 40k words on it, also written in the first part of 2010, but I’ve temporarily shelved it. Funny, the first book that I’ve outlined nearly all the way through, but I have no desire to work on it anymore. I’m not sure why; I wish it weren’t the case.

There were also revisions on “Bringing Moon,” “Braeberry Street,” and “Skinned,” and October saw “Becoming Normal” published in Flash Fiction Online. I even revised “The Voicing” for Daily Science Fiction – a new venue which continues to be an inconsistent mystery – and have put “Fish out of Water” aside, until I can figure out how to fix it. There are also a handful of started shorts with no titles, some a page long to one that may be the next completed one, as it already has 4k words, “The Escalarian Bead.”

This year, I’d like to double the number of new stories. I think its possible, given that I’m not so stooped over in grief, unless, of course, I find some new SF idea that I want to tackle, which ends up taking me months to figure out. And ideally, I’d like to work on/finish a book – but that seems to be out of my hands.

Also, I’m working on trying to be content with where I am, both in writing, and literally so – in this state, with this job, and with all the blessings I have. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

However, this year has dealt a number on us. John’s grandpa, who’s been like a father to him, was just diagnosed with prostate cancer yesterday. And I found out this morning that my great-aunt Norma, my sweet grandma Lil’s sister, died suddenly of a stroke. Norma was always such a sweet woman – I got to see her this last summer at the family reunion…she looked so much like Grandma Lil. Although I may not have been that close to her, it’s the consistency with which I keep losing my family that’s the hardest to handle. Mom, Grandma, Auntie Norma…I guess I was protected from death growing up, despite my grandparents dying. I’m starting to understand that death is a normal, consistent thing, although that doesn’t help when someone who has always been in your life is suddenly not there anymore.

The dogs are curled up in the sun next to me. I wish I had my camera. The tornado sirens are going off (as always, Saturdays at noon). Soon, Buddy will hopefully howl. He’s inconsistent with it, and his howl is hilarious, because its a little awkward-sounding, as if he’s uncomfortable while doing it.

Today, we’re finally going to see the movie Black Swan. And I need to start drawing more. I bought John a sketch pad for Christmas, and myself a cheap little one yesterday. I need broader horizons. And I must figure out what to put in the beautiful slow cooker for dinner. Mom’s one-pot stew might be in order.

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