2012 goals: reckoning

December 30th, 2012 | Tags: , , ,

So, time to come back to things uttered in the fever pitch of self-improvement. As Chesterton says, it is the patient who is to be cured of an illness, but a man requires impatience to cure himself of his faults. (Sins, he says, but I have also no patience for that metaphysical shorthand.) To reiterate, here were my goals:

  • write, edit, and submit one novel OR three short stories
  • read 25 new books (that’s two books a month–slow pace, but one must crawl before walking)
  • brew 12 distinct styles of beer on my stove
  • find paying work in the teaching/tutoring field
  • volunteer 50 hours in the local community
  • write 50 letters (actual, printed and/or hand-written correspondence)

So, let’s see. I didn’t do any volunteer work, though I did sign up for it; I had to bail in the face of grad school deadlines. (Read: I painted myself into a corner. Same as it ever was.) I did some writing, though it amounts to less than 4,500 words in toto. Only one short story draft out of the bunch, and certainly no submissions to magazines. My editor friend Fox was an amazing help in creating the metacognitive structure to help hang my thinking on, though, and you would do well to work with her (link: Editness) if you’re serious about getting an actualfacts book published. She knows her shit, and can deliver. To sum up these two: volunteering, 0%. Writing, 10%. Credit for words on the page, at least. Other words on the page: I did manage to write 9 letters to friends. Mostly early in the year, and mostly no replies. My dear friends Anderson, Sparrow, and Fox were definitely the most receptive, but then I allowed myself to slip in replying to them. Final effort: 18%.

Still more words on the page, though not my own, were the 6 new books I managed to read. I had begun Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera last fall, and so I finished that before the summer (Captain’s Fury, Princeps’ Fury, First Lord’s Fury). Also chewed into some 19th century lit. First with, at long last, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and then just recently GK Chesterton’s Orthodoxy (having read his shorter Why I Am A Catholic and Lewis’ Mere Christianity in the past couple years). Excellent perspective of those times by minds of great privilege. I also tucked into Tom Holland’s well-researched Rubicon, an account of the waning days of the Roman Republic. I still only managed 24% of my reading goal, though.

I did meet with some success this year. My beer efforts were on-track to be a complete success; by August, I had my 10th batch in fermenter, with plenty of time for the last two to age well before the end of the year. (I had my eye on a strong Belgian and a stout, both styles which benefit from nothing more than time.) However, time was something I rather dramatically ran out of shortly thereafter. What started as an inquiry for a teaching job interview for the sake of interview practice rapidly steamrolled into taking over full teaching duties as Middle Creek High School’s Latin instructor mid-semester. Suffice it to say, my brewing has come to a halt, and I might get that beer from August bottled tomorrow. I also might not, and I’m ok with that. So, my beer goal stands at 75%. But my pie-in-the-sky goal, the very thing I aspired to do only when the stars were right and I was properly accredited, I have managed to accomplish wholly and completely! Finding paying work as a teacher: 100%.


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