The Stupid 365 Project, Day 88: Slouching Toward the New Year

December 29th, 2010

Yesterday’s post was meant to be about New Year’s resolutions but it went astray.

This year, I’m going to focus on the three As: appreciation, accomplishment, and adventure.

Under Appreciation, I’m resolving to:

1.  Continue to write in the blessings book Munyin got me.  It’s a great way either to end or begin a day.  Not every day, but many of them.

2. Try not to get so far ahead of myself in my head that I miss what’s happening right now.  On the last tour, I found myself hurrying through New Mexico to get to Colorado.  I pulled over, sat for a few minutes, put Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherezade” on the car’s iPod system, and drove slowly enough to inhale one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.  Living more consciously opens me to appreciation.

3. Look at and listen to my wife, who is the greatest of all my gifts and not someone to whom I should pay half-attention.

4. Remember, when I get all knotted up in how tough my creative life is, what my brother Mike said, “Living your life as an artist is enough blessing for anyone.”

In the Accomplishment area, I want to:

1. Learn to write shorter, which is another way of saying achieve the same (or better) effect with fewer words.

2. Dump the doubt; try to carry lessons about writing from one book to another.  Do NOT, for example, spend 90 minutes stalled on a page because it’s off-key.  Keep working and fix it (or toss it) later.

3. Finish two novels this year, at minimum.  As I get older, the pressure to work to completion elbows aside a lot of distractions, and it’s actually an enormous pleasure to be more tightly focused.

Under Adventure:

1.  Try always to work on tiptoe.  If I’m not trying to do something I don’t know how to do, what am I learning?

2. Go someplace I’ve never been, preferably in Asia, if the cards fall that way, but definitely someplace new.  Stay there long enough to learn something.

3. Be open to a creative activity that I’ve never done before.  (Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to someone who’s hauling ass creatively with a new focus.)

There are more, but this will do for now.

I’d love to get some resolutions from you.

9 Responses to “The Stupid 365 Project, Day 88: Slouching Toward the New Year”

  1. Laren Bright Says:

    I resolve to be a better friend — to myself.

  2. EverettK Says:

    I’ve never been particularly good with making ‘resolutions.’ I’m more of a “start now” kind of guy, whenever the ideas strike. Not to say that I’m terribly adventurous (one of your resolutions), but if something new strikes my fancy, I’m not afraid to dive in. But I don’t usually go LOOKING for adventures, because I have a hard time finding the time to do the things I ALREADY want to do!

    Life is short, and days are full…

    But clarity in thinking, about everything in your life and everything you want to be in your life, is critically important. To me, that’s one of the two REALLY big resolutions. The other one is to take that first step, and then keep on walking! Master those two, and life will be full and good. It’s a constant effort! Sigh.

    Today’s blog certainly fulfills a major portion of your “thinking critically” quotient.

  3. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    This is a very thoughtful and thought provoking post. For some reason or another, I couldn’t focus on my work chores, so I read your “Finish Your Novel.” I have found myself, at different times, just wanting to write down my life, not for publication, but for my children and their children. Since I am an immigrant, and a child of the Holocaust, my thoughts and experiences seem to be of interest to them and some others. So I ordered two books-the compendium of writers, and the Lamott book, and decided to take your suggestions {and Yoda’s{;-)} and do it. So my resolutions revolve around being in the moment, focusing on what is needed, and then acting on it. In another direction, I would like to be both more tolerant and less picky about things, and at the same time, suffering fools less gladly than I might have done in the past.-To enjoy the byroads that appear, and see what I can learn from them. I’m approaching 70, and I need to get more peace
    in my life without losing the depth of feeling that makes life-well, alive. You are a dynamite teacher, Tim. I seem to thank you a lot.

  4. EverettK Says:

    A couple of days ago, I posted a review/recommendation for CRASHED on the MobileRead forum:
    http://www.mobileread.com/

    A later, Debbi Mack posted a reply to it, which popped it back to the top of the list. Now it’s slowly dropping down again as other newer posts land on top of it.

    So, if any of you are members of MobileRead, how about going over there, click on the FORUMS link at the top, then on the “Reading Recommendations” forum in the top section of forums, then find the “CRASHED – Timothy Hallinan” item, and post your response to it (unless someone else has already done so, then wait a day or two; that way we can keep popping it back to the top every couple of days until we run out of posters.)

    If you’re not a member of MobileRead, it’s free and easy to join. It’s a discussion web site for all kinds of “mobile reading,” from phones to eInk readers (like Kindle, etc) to tablets (like iPad), etc. They have a library of nicely formatted public domain books, as well as the discussion forums, news forums, help forums, a how-to wiki, etc.

    Currently the CRASHED review has had 87 ‘views’, but I’m sure we can bump that up further if we can keep the article from drifting off of the bottom of the stack via the “timed release” of responses. 🙂

  5. EverettK Says:

    I just read a GREAT article from the founder of Smashwords, about what he sees in 2011 for the eBook (and traditional book) market. I think he’s pretty spot-on with most of it. You can find the article at:
    Predictions for 2011 from Smashwords Founder

    Well worth reading, even if you don’t have an ebook reader (yet). The world is changing FAST.

  6. Beth Says:

    I followed Everett’s instructions, joined Mobile Read, and posted my review of CRASHED.

    Hope that is helpful.

  7. Suzanna Says:

    Hi, Tim

    Just caught up on the last three days of your blog and am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on what my New Year’s Resolutions might look like under the Three A’s: Appreciation, Accomplishment, and Adventure.

    Resolution number one in my life falls under Accomplishment.

    I am in the process of “getting out of my own way” and “simply noticing” my so called inner critic, aka, Superego, aka, my Gremlin. These phrases taken from a book I’m reading called “Taming Your Gremlin” by Rick Carson. This loud and obnoxious beast, my Gremlin, I’ve been told, is the part of me that was meant to keep me from doing something stupid but has taken its responsibility so seriously that it wants to keep me from doing things that also enliven me. Pesky and rude I’d say. If I can tame my Gremlin I figure a lot of the other things in my life that have remained unresolved will begin to fall into place, with a lot of work of course.

    Another thing, I am turning away from the news of the day for now. I suppose that doesn’t necessarily fall under any of the Three A’s but I’m hoping that it will help me accomplish more of what I want out of life. Yes, I am a staunch advocate for staying informed but with all that is going on these days I needed a serious news break and I have to say it feels great.

    Appreciation, well that is something I work very hard to do on a daily basis. For all things great and small. It is the simplest and most powerful way I know of to enjoy life’s beauty and life’s lessons.

    Adventure. I am embarking on a new adventure at this stage of my life since Maya is off to college now and I have the space and time to think about what’s next. While this is certainly a topic that would just as easily fall under Accomplishment as it does Adventure it helps me to view it as an Adventure since so much of what’s next for me is still unknown, no map for this part of my journey. Also, Morgan and I are totally free to travel to distant places for the first time since we got married and I am excited for the chance to travel to any of the wonderful places that he has already seen and look forward to any chance we may have to discover new places together.

    Happy New Year!

  8. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Laren, whenever I hear that phrase I always think of the airline instruction: “If you are traveling with young children, put your own mask on first,” with the unspoken corollary, “or you may be too dead to help.”

    Everett, I think that resolutions are actually a discipline for focusing the mind and clarifying intentions. Not being clear about what one wants greatly increases the odds against getting it. Unfortunately, resolutions are by definition a first step, and they’re just untethered balloons of hot air if regular action doesn’t follow. I have the great advantage of being enormously lazy, which has FORCED me to be disciplined in my work. If I were naturally industrious, I’d probably never finish anything.

    Hooray for you, Lil. I’m really proud of you. I only wish I could have inserted Marvin Klotz’s poems into the next post, because to me he’s a beacon — intention plus repeated energy can produce great results. I’m sending you all the best and inviting you to write me at thallinan@gmail.com if you get stuck and feel like asking a question or soliciting some advice.

    Everett, thank you (and Debbi) because I’ve never even heard of that site. I need someone to promote these books. If I do it, there’s no time to write new ones. The trouble with PR firms is that they’re all full of shit, and I know because I ran one a century ago.

    And Beth, thank you, too. I owe a lot to a lot of people. I sometimes worry about when the bills will arrive.

  9. EverettK Says:

    Tim said: I owe a lot to a lot of people. I sometimes worry about when the bills will arrive.

    Pardon me, but…

    HOGWASH. Plain and simple. You pay everything you owe and then some, with each word you put down “on paper.” Without the work you do, WE would not have the joy of reading your books. And $2.99 a pop does NOT repay you for what you’ve done and are doing. Those of us who are able to help you in small ways are merely cycling the karma around the circle, and you keep it flowing by your writing. There are no Karma Scales to make sure karma is balanced. Karma is a flow. The more you give, the more you get. Therefore, WE are being selfish by giving to you, because we want more for OURSELVES. 🙂

    (And if you didn’t drown in THAT hogwash, let me know. There’s plenty more where it came from…)

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