Just really early for the Chinese New Year…

Last year I chalked up my late new year’s update to being a procrastinator, but I don’t think I was right about that. More and more it seems like I hit the dates, find the deadlines after everyone else does due to some anachronism present in myself. This year was an eventful one––I stopped working in a frame shop, I officially hit my late twenties (as I’m concerned), I moved out of Texas, moved in with my girlfriend, with whom things are finally official (you see the uncertainties of last year are all swiftly resolved), and probably more––but it was also fairly humdrum, certainly not very artistically driven. That’s obviously a problem for a writer. Not a single poem stands out to me as meaningful, at least off-hand, and nothing more than a choppily written sketch of a scene about the start of a trip materialized as far as fiction or prose is concerned. It’s not like it’s all bad. I’ve had some new and interesting experiences, which have proven to be entertaining stories for my friends, I’ve rediscovered a love for the library (and a new one for Don Delillo), I got to see my best friends get married, I [still get] to experience a job search in a culturally and economically devoid area, etc.

Most of the year I was ensnared in politics: the Supreme Court handled some pretty big cases, Congress worked on undermining free speech with things like PIPA and SOPA (and more, those fuckers), and obviously the elections were a big deal; gun violence reared its ugly head and got me involved with more arguments than I care to recall, although I like to think I might have modified some opinions…I definitely forced a few gun nuts to either come back to reality or admit they don’t live in it anymore; civil rights, namely LGBT rights, had an excellent year and I barely had to put anyone in their place to accept it (in fact, the day before Obama finally came around to supporting gay marriage, I called him out as a hypocrite––clearly, I am a man of undeniably powerful words and influence), although there were a lot of bigoted slobs eating overrated oily chicken sandwiches; a number of politicians said some very stupid things concerning women’s bodies and paid the price for it.

In any case, I’m doing my best to disregard that stuff now. Just yesterday I finally decided it was time to force myself to adhere to some sort of schedule, or at least restriction, as to what I do online and how long I do it. I love the internet, but it’s the world’s greatest waste of time. Of course, I’ve known that for years, but would never quite admit that I was behaving like an addict of sorts. So now I plan to structure my time. There will still be idle browsing of my favorite sites, lots of news reading, lots of videos, lots of pictures of pretty girls, cats, crudely drawn comics, illicit substances, cityscapes, nightscapes, moonscapes, landscapes, exotic animals, forests and more, but it will come after a predetermined amount of time researching or writing. I’ve also decided I need to spend more time in a meditative state, since I used to do a lot of quiet thinking and used to have (what I feel is) a much more expansive vocabulary and stronger ability to recall particular memories. Academia was really the place for me––I couldn’t help but to spend hours a day being silent and pensive––so now I think it’s time to construct my own analogue to those days.

Furthermore, I’ve been toying with the thought of a strict schedule for blog posting. For background, a quick story:
My computer, my closest of companions for the last three years, had a rough go of 2012. In February a lukewarm latte and flimsy cardboard cup conspired with my overly strong grip to destroy the logic board, putting the whole computer out of commission for five or six weeks before I could scrounge up money to get it replaced. This was after my charger had died in the earliest days of last year. Once I got my computer back, I bought a new charger, and everything was grand. But then we moved, and my old compadre found itself unable, for some unknown reason, to connect to the network in our new place. One night in early November my girlfriend and I went to her cousin’s place, so I brought my computer to take advantage of her internet. Though just days before I had scoured through my files to find writing samples for an editing job I would not get, on this night the display was black. The only thing to see was varying darknesses of grey as I brightened or darkened the backlight. I’m still not sure what’s wrong with it, but it’s been over two months now, and it doesn’t look like I have funds to fix it anytime soon. Since the computer itself still works, just not the display, I’ve guessed that either a wire has disconnected itself or my GPU is dead. In one case I may simply need someone who can solder a wire back into place, and in the other I may need to spend another several hundred dollars for a replacement processor.

Since my computer has been unusable for so much of the year, I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to borrowing computers, and decided that my only safe way to work is by using web-based word processors. Of late I’ve been using WordPress’s draft feature to write, which is deficient, but easier on me than writing in notebooks. That got me to thinking. So often my work would begin, a few lines or ideas hastily typed into MS Word, only to be abandoned and forgotten after receiving a quickly chosen file name, and by the time I return to them, their spirit has evaporated, any meaning is null. But if I keep my writing on the web, which doesn’t slow one’s Mac to the pathetic crawl that running a Microsoft program does, perhaps I’ll not only access it more, but also feel some pressure to return to it. I can strengthen this tendency by putting a publish date on things the day I begin them––they will go live for others to read whether they’re finished or not. And that is what I intend to do. I am going to pick a day of the week, and make sure I have something new appear on that day every week. I think Sunday night would be a good time: everyone’s probably winding down from the weekend, either checking to see what they’ve missed, or about to do it the next morning. So keep an eye out for that, and please, please, please go ahead and hound me if your eye finds nothing.

And now, a cursory prospectus for the year: Our lease expires on May 1st, and Betsy would like to head back to Texas. I could go anywhere, although one of my favorite habits in now legal in two states, and I’d like to check those out. We went to Southern California during the Thanksgiving holiday––it still felt like home. Betsy also really loved it, so if I could find a job there we’d probably be go there in a heartbeat. Other places and cities I love or flat-out long for: Chicago, which has proven to be a hub for inspiration (also not a bad place for a guy with a pen); New England, which is still my favorite place in the world; England, the birthplace of my language and probably some of my ancestors, judging by my name; France/Germany/anywhere in Europe, obviously. A BA has proven, however, to be only marginally more useful than several years of retail experience when finding a job, so I’ll probably end up doing a lot of research into grad programs, taking the GRE, and being even more critical of my writing. I want to do both poetry and fiction, so I’ll hopefully stumble across some real motivation or even some inspiration soon enough. I know I can manufacture one or both if it comes to it. If things go well, I may look into e-publishing or whatever you call it. I have this really naïve vision that people read my book and find it worthy of a donation––21st century patronage. Well, that’s about all I’ve got for now. I suppose I’ll tell you what’s happened some time next middle of January.


About andrewwhiting

A sentimental and sarcastic poet, lover of language, traveling and nature (not a fan of the Oxford comma).
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