Even Rocks Change

Fireworks Happy New Year! I spent my Eve trying to sleep off incipient flu, and woke at midnight to Miss B shivering and whining against me as the fireworks went off. Odd Trundles, of course, was snoring happily, not giving a damn about the noise since he was in his crate with his blankies and a chew toy. (He shall be a puppy lo unto the ending of the world.) In any case, I hugged Miss B until she calmed, and we both fell back asleep together.

New Year’s Day yesterday brought a new chapter of Selene (we’re going back to weekly postings now) and a hole in my roof. Said hole was NOT the result of squirrels chewing desperately to get in, as so many of you seemed to think, but of improperly-installed flashing around the chimney. Fortunately the neighborhood handyman (everyone around here hires him since he’s reliable, reasonable, and comes back to check his work) was able to get up there and fix it, so my first day in the New Year was full of someone doing me a good turn. Even if I was shuddering and aching from the blasted flu.

2013 was an okay year. I got a few books out, started learning the piano, got help resurrecting both SquirrelTerror and Selene, got the first book of writing essays off the ground (again with help), started freelance editing (my waiting list has a few spots open, if you’re interested), and spent the whole complete year, top to bottom, in my very own house. Not bad.

There was other stuff–a friendship I depended on going on hiatus, helping other friends struggle through some pretty intense stuff, the Princess learning how to drive and the Little Prince making a number of developmental strides that mean he’s no longer a little boy. Everything changing around me, and the funny thing is, now I can look and see how much I’ve changed too, but I thought I was being a rock for other people.

Even rocks change, I guess.

So, my chickadees, here’s where I’m aiming for 2014. I’m not resolving to lose weight or any of that shit. I read this Cracked.com article about harsh truths making one a better person, and while I think most of it is needlessly douche-y, this part made me think:

“But I’m not good at anything!” Well, I have good news — throw enough hours of repetition at it and you can get sort of good at anything. I was the world’s shittiest writer when I was an infant. I was only slightly better at 25. But while I was failing miserably at my career, I wrote in my spare time for eight straight years, an article a week, before I ever made real money off it. It took 13 years for me to get good enough to make the New York Times best-seller list. It took me probably 20,000 hours of practice to sand the edges off my sucking.

Don’t like the prospect of pouring all of that time into a skill? Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the sheer act of practicing will help you come out of your shell — I got through years of tedious office work because I knew that I was learning a unique skill on the side. People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can’t figure out that the process is the result.

The bad news is that you have no other choice.
David Wong

So, my aim this year is to do. Keep practicing the piano, to churn out a couple books I’m not contracted for as well as the ones I am, to build my editing business, to up my running mileage. Concrete goals I can chop up into little tiny pieces, then beat my head on each tiny piece until it shatters and I’ve achieved not only a bloody head but also a step closer to what I want. In other words, this is Galactica, what do you hear?

What do you say, chickadees?

Let’s bring it home.

photo by: Miia Ranta
  • Cadence

    Happy New Year to a strong woman and a wonderful writer. Your books and essays have helped me through some hard, hard places. Thank you.

  • martianmooncrab

    you do good everyday,

  • Linda

    On the whole ‘practice’ thing, I like to collect art in sunny, upside down Australia. I recently had the privilege of meeting one of my favourite, very ‘out-there’ artists. Genius at what he does- but not especially easy, pretty or user friendly work. This guy is in his early thirties, has been shortlisted for almost every major Australian prize going, and works from a tiny, airless studio in Brisbane. He paints all day, every day. When he goes home at night, to his girlfriend and a beer, to relax, he draws plants. yep, draws to relax from painting all day.
    I saw it written once that genius is essentially an unbalanced thing- the need to do the same thing way past the point at which everyone else would get bored. Its not so much related to absolute talent than to an inability to conceive the world without the perspective of the painter’s eye, or writer’s eye, as it happens to be. Any thoughts?