Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolutions? I don't need no steenkin resolutions!

I seem to remember last year posting that I was resolute on not making any resolutions. I'll quote again from Mark Twain, as I did last year:

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

While I believe we make our own hell here on earth, to not have to worry about the possibility of another one after we die and at the risk of starting my own path to it, I resolve two things for this year.

1. I will get the fuck out of this mind numbing job, no if and's or but's, and become a successful full-time freelance writer. I am hoping that the recent good news of landing a national publication (finally!) is the first step down this yellow brick road.

2. I will learn to play guitar. I did try once a couple of years ago through the local continuing education at our local high school, but it became evident that learning in a group setting like that is not for me. I need 1-on-1 instruction for something like this.

Normally, I don't like making resolutions, especially at this time of year, but something feels different. I can' quite put my finger on it, but I think that I am finally going to make some headway with my own personal goals. So, maybe instead of calling them "resolutions," I'll refer to them as "personal bests." It has an Olympic-like quality to it, bit it gives me something to focus on; a target to aim towards.

It sure beats something that often carries the words "non-binding" before it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Catching up.

So, where to start this post? It has been so long since I last blogged that I wondered whether or not I had simply lost the urge to blog, or to write, for that matter. I have come to discover that I need not be concerned. Sometimes, stepping back from a task, even something that I might love, creates new opportunities not yet realized. I can say that it has been a difficult month and a half, starting with Nelson's death, and continuing through to the start of the holiday season here, and trying to pull out some sense of joy amongst all the senseless things I see around me.

Nelson's funeral was as expected, an extremely difficult and sorrowful event. To die at 45 is never an easy thing to deal with for those left behind. It's worse when looking at the legacy he left behind (his family, friends, colleagues and students) makes all realize what a loss this world has suffered. He was an only child, which made it even worse for his mother. It was however, not without its lighter moments, of which Nelson would have approved.

During the wake the night before, a priest that knew Nelson well commented during his eulogy that Nelson had a habit of being late - for everything - something that was not lost upon my brother, his best friend of 38 years. My brother then commented to me as to how they used to tell Nelson to be somewhere half an hour before he actually needed to be there because of his preponderance to to be late.

The next day at the funeral, which was actually in a chapel on the grounds of a Greek Orthodox seminary (Nelson converted to Greek Orthodox from Roman Catholicism some years ago), we were standing and waiting for the coffin to be brought in, and I took note that the time was 10:10 am. About a minute later, his coffin was brought in and I chuckled to myself. The funeral was due to start at 10 am. Leaning over to my brother, and his friend Marc (the third member of the trio of childhood best friends), I said, "You do realize he's late to his own funeral, don't you?" I suspect that it took all of my brother and Marc's strength not to burst out in hysterics, but we all knew Nelson would be laughing right along with us.

After the funeral, we went to Nelson's aunt's home in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx, and gathered with his family and shared memories. The wound of his loss is still very fresh for my brother, but he is doing better these days.

Now, the rest of the month and into this month was relatively uneventful, save for one event from last week.


Yep, it finally happened. I pitched a story to this magazine:

about this theatre company here in Rochester:

I knew about the theatre group through my own connections in the theatre community here, albeit with not a lot of details. One of its officers however also sits on the board of directors with me at my theatre, so I began to ask him some questions about Artist's Unlimited and found that there was a great story in the making. I have time to write it, as the magazine only publishes in January and July, but will be starting on the preliminary interviews after the first of the year.

I am hoping that this is the break I have been waiting for, and that it will lead to other national publications, if not just more work in general. I would like to be full-time freelancing by this time next year, as I already missed this years' goal due to, well, due to me not putting in the effort I should have.

I have also gotten myself on to Skype, and have been talking with the ever so lovely Zoe over at MBIAT. We've had some great conversations, and I have resolved to visit Belgium to meet her and Peter over at Antwerp Calling as well within the next year or two.

So I now resolve to get back into the swing of things and try to blog a minimm of 2-3 times per week. Here's hoping.