My Outlook for 2014: Fiction Farming and Beyond

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tumblr_ldwd7hm2iH1qertphI live with this voice inside my head that thinks that all these things I do – self-improvement, goal-setting, trying to have a positive outlook is a bunch of feces of the male bovine. It screams, “Poser!” “Fake!” “Failure!” It’s my internal editor, if you will. It is that voice, cultivated by social ridicule, parental fear (formed from love – yeah, I get that), and weeping wounds of loss and grief that seemingly do not ever heal. It is that voice that is trying to keep me “safe” from looking like an idiot. But I’m human. The moments of idiocy are a given. At nearly a half century old, I accept that now. It doesn’t silence the voice, but it puts a white-noise machine on it. Therefore, despite the inner critic, which happens to sound like Archie Bunker, by the way, “Oh, Christ, Casz, don’t show your ignorance,” my inner Archie wants to squash the happy child inside of me. Most times I respond like Meathead or Edith; however, sometimes not. But, mostly.


Here we are at the eve of 2014. Thirty years ago, I was a Young Turk. No money, and a head full of dreams. Shhh!!! I still have no money and a head full of dreams. The difference, however, is like I’ve written in my recent bios, I’m “living on purpose.” I’m not letting the whispers of Archie and other naysayers push me around. Is it foolish? Mayhaps. But, I’ve seen too many in my life not follow their dreams. It’s the thing that makes me weep more than anything. My heroes have always been those that followed their dreams, whatever the outcome. We gamble every day in our life. When I was working in corporate America I used to tell coworkers where my institutional knowledge was kept, “you know, in case I get hit by a bus.” (There’s that impermanence of everything theme, again.) We have this gift called life, but we don’t’ know how long it’s going to last. All I know is that I have less time. Faced with that, I have to follow my heart, which I’ve done mostly in my life. It’s served me well. Whenever I haven’t it’s when I’ve gotten myself in trouble. Seriously, I stayed in a very, very bad marriage for too long because I was convinced by a well-meaning adult that “marriage was work.” I discovered way late the work was a two-way street. My heart had said to leave long before. My head had convinced me that if I just hung on, life would be good. That didn’t work out. I finally listened to my heart and my life is much improved. My heart and gut work well together. However, the head battles both. Gut-checks are a necessity now.


In 2013, I’ve faced some of the lowest moments of my life – and my life has been filled with such throughout. But 2013 has seen personal, health, parental, financial, legal, and career crisis. My cup runneth over with the wine of ruin. But I was able to suck it up and amble on, sometimes cross-eyed and not so sure-footed, sure, but still keeping my head above my feet, even if I had to limbo under some heavy poles of negativity. But, I kept looking for life lessons, kept seeking happiness and following my dreams. I survived. I’m battle-weary, I recognize that. But, I’m soldiering on. “Why?” some may ask. “Life is a killer; it’s crap….” There’s Archie again. I guess my answer would simply be that I’m a warrior at heart. I’ll always don the armor of my desires and dreams and battle on until I have no breath left. That with all the crap that monkey of life threw at me this year, I had a lot of good, too. Tonight, my family and I will write down all the bad things we can think of – and burn it in the fire. Releasing it’s hold in our lives and setting 2014 with a fresh, clean slate. We’ll read from “The Good Things Jar.” We’ll reminisce about the good. We’ll toast in the year and recognize that we are here to create all the beauty and fulfill all the dreams we can. It is my belief. I will recite such a creed, always.


What does that mean for 2014? It means that I’m still going to move ahead with plans and desires and goals. Big dreams, small dreams. All moving forward. Baby steps for some. Space-walking leaps for others. The forward movement doesn’t have to be the epitome of success. Just forward movement and I’m satisfied. Like Mae West said, I’m thinking: “~“I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”


“Ah, you’re just lowering you’re standards,” says the inner curmudgeon. “No, I’m redefining success.” Oh, and “Kiss my ass!”


With that bit of Detroit burped out into Archie’s face to segue, for the past few days I’ve been reading posts and blogs by scientists, authors, friends, and everyone seems to have a running theme:  Keep on Truckin’.  It echoes in my own life, too.


My resolutions for 2014:


WRITING:  I’m following this little philosophy from Anthony Marra, in so doing, I hope to read at least two books a month and write six days a week. I can’t move to five even with kids in the house, because I’m still an “emerging” author. In that, I hope to submit at least two things a month (I have such an inventory this year because I only did two submissions this year – really sad showing, I know). I also plan to blog more. I’ve written out a schedule and the goal is three posts a week, not including my SnoValley Writes! weekly writing prompt. Part of my writing goals this year also includes working on the “Things I Learned” chap book to give to my children.


FINANCES:  Outside of that I need to continue to grow my freelance work, so that the first-of-summer and holiday slowdowns do not wreck my finances.


ART:  I need to continue improving the production of Thrasher Studios.  I have some new ideas and supplies; I’ve already started getting busy putting all that together.


LEARNING:  I also want to renew my skills at sewing (I have a machine now), and renew my crocheting skills.  Maybe even finally do that quilt I’ve been saving fabric for years now. As well as, continuing the micro-farming with all its seemingly unending benefits.


SELF-CARE:  Lastly, My 2013 Happiness Project taught me that I need to do more self-care; that it needs to be part of my daily routine. This will be one small thing every day to something special once a week.


EXAMPLE:  Know that in doing all of the above I am setting a great example for my children, my spouse, and my friends & family to live life to the fullest and pursue their dreams, opening a door for more goodness in all our lives.


The above is quite a smaller list than last year (2013) or the year before (2012). I think that bodes well for how far I’ve come in living my life on purpose.


What about you? How was your 2013? What are you looking forward to in 2014?  Thanks for reading and I wish you a joyful and prosperous new year.


2013 was pretty eventful for me too. I think more good than bad though. My aspirations for 2014 are definitely not as inspired as yours, but I am going to try to put some of my writing out there and try to find an agent. Of course I need to get it ready to do that but I’m not sure if that will every happen! I’d like to learn to sew too but I don’t think I’ll have time this year.

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