Here we are at the end of another year. Same theme, different site. This is the first Past Year’s Accountability post on the Last Syllable Press website. I started LSP to have an umbrella to publish all my work under and decided to move my blog over as well. This blog has been fairly weak lately but I’m hoping that starting LSP will be the beginning of a revival to get more writing done, but I’m not making any promises. Does anyone read this blog still? Does anyone still read any blogs still?
One thing I said last year was that my biggest gratification from these entries is that people often tell me that I’ve inspired them to start doing something similar. I don’t think people need to be perfect, but I think it’s important to acknowledge your shortcomings as well as your successes. You can’t learn from a failure that you don’t acknowledge. So here I am, acknowledging my failures.
1. Publish Litmus Test #3
I decided to finally publish the third issue of my Straight Edge zine, Litmus Test this year after six years. This was perhaps the biggest single project I worked on this year. You can read more about the whole thing here, or buy a copy here. Full credit for this resolution.
2. Publish Brief Candle #2
I published the second issue of my Shakespeare zine, Brief Candle in October of this year. I’m very happy with the content and with the reception. If you’re interested, you can buy a copy here. Full credit on this resolution as well.
3. Publish my collection of short works.
I had wanted to publish a collection of short stories that I’ve been sitting on for years. I didn’t get around to it this year but it’s at the top of my list for next year. No credit on this resolution.
4. Make significant progress in my Shakespeare program.
I made up a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish in order to further my Shakespeare work. More teaching, more work on productions, more writing, &c. The list of goals wasn’t iron-clad, more like guidelines of things I wanted to accomplish. I give myself full credit for this resolution. Shakespeare related work I did in 2015 included:
Working as an assistant director on a production of Romeo and Juliet that toured to schools in Richmond.
Writing several educational TV spots about Shakespeare which were aired on PBS.
Teaching classes on Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth at The Virginia Home for Boys and Girls.
Accepting a staff position at Quill as the dramaturgy coordinator.
Teaching several theatre camps for children through Quill
Publishing Brief Candle #2.
Lecturing on Shakespeare and As You Like It at the University of Richmond.
Reading several books of important literary criticism on Shakespeare, my favourite by far being AC Bradley’s “Shakespearean Tragedy.”
5. Run 500 miles.
Last year I started distance running as a hobby. In 2015 I had originally wanted to continue and expand my running. However I decided early in the year that my fitness goals were better accomplished through strength-training instead of cardio. To that end I switched from an intensive running regimen to a regular lifting schedule. Although I am happy with my decision to do so, and although I feel and look better lifting than I did running, I am still only going to give myself half credit for this resolution because while I met the spirit of the resolution, something has to be said for the importance of following the letter of a resolution.
6. Finish tattooing my arms.
I actually didn’t get my arms tattooed at all this year. So, no credit here.
7. See Eisley four times.
My wife and I saved up money all year to rent a car and follow Eisley on tour in November. We ended up traveling 2800+ miles to see Eisley seven times in seven cities. It was one of the highlights of my year. Full resolution here, if I could give myself double credit I would be tempted to.
8. Finish all my bookshelves.
I decided to abandon the project of building my own bookshelves. I really need more storage for my books but I feel like the project of building bookcases is unproductive, primarily because I don’t have the tools and setup (much less the skill) to build them in a satisfactory manner. By the time I invested in power tools and sawhorses and classes in woodwork I probably could have bought some fairly nice shelves. Not to mention that the size of my library and the rate at which I buy books will render even large bookcases insufficient soon. I think the only solution is to investigate track or built-in bookshelves. No credit on this resolution.
9. Make significant progress with Marigold Books.
My friend Ty and I had plans to start a small publishing company, putting out very cheap, very simple editions of public-domain classics that are in heavy rotation in higher education. The goal was to create editions that forego extensive notes or expensive materials in the effort to create a text that is easy to read and even easier to notate for serious study. Unfortunately the project turned out to be far too ambitious and I got overwhelmed and dropped out. No credit here.
10. Go to the dentist.
I went to the dentist in December for the first time in perhaps ten years. Although I am giving myself full credit for the resolution, it was perhaps the biggest mistake I made all year. The dentist I saw was a student who botched a filling so now I have a tooth that hurts all the time that didn’t before. Full credit/fuck me.
11. Leave the country.
I didn’t get a chance to leave the country this year, although I did go on a 2800 mile road trip to Boston and Chicago, among other cities to see Eisley. I’m not giving myself any credit for this resolution because while I did travel, it wasn’t out of the country.
12. Edit and compile collection of my dad’s writing/photographs.
This is another project I’ve been procrastinating on for far too long. No credit here but it’s going to happen next year.
13. Participate in a poetry slam.
Another goal that I have been procrastinating for years. I did start to write some new poetry and I also did some public speaking/story-telling events this year but I don’t think of them as a suitable substitute. So, once again, no credit here.
14. Build a pinhole camera.
I’m going to give myself half credit for this resolution because I did in fact build the pinhole camera, but it was a fairly shoddy first attempt and I managed to screw it up and expose a bunch of the film while I was loading it. So I just scrapped the damned thing.
15. Get lights for my bike and start wearing a helmet at least on my rides to work.
Full credit here. One of my clients gave me a helmet as a birthday present, I bought a rear light, and then another client gave me a front light. So now I have front and rear lights and a helmet which I have faithfully worn on all my commutes.
16. Attend a Shakespeare conference.
No credit here. I just didn’t have the time and money to attend any conferences.
17. Get two literary tattoos.
I wanted to get two tattoos inspired by literature this year, but I only ended up getting one. I got Yorick from Hamlet tattooed in my palm.
18. Go to the ballet (other than the Nutcracker.)
Although I love the ballet, my attendance at events has been consistently inconsistent, apart from seeing the Nutcracker every year. My goal was to see at least one major production this year. I ended up seeing four, Richmond Ballet’s New Works Festival, Don Quixote, Liebeslieder Waltzer, and a production of works that Richmond Ballet was taking on tour to China. I also saw the Nutcracker twice, took my first ballet classes in ten years, and read a book on the history of ballet. Getting more serious about appreciating the ballet was one of my most important goals this year and I feel great about accomplishing it. Full credit here.
19. Go to the symphony.
I also wanted to go to the symphony more this year. I am giving myself full credit for this because I did go to the symphony, even though it was only once and it was to see the symphony play the live score for Nosferatu at a screening at Halloween.
20. Go to the Opera.
I’m going to give myself half credit for this. The Virginia Opera does a free performance in the park every summer. I went to the performance but I arrived late because my friend’s book release event was happening that same evening. Half credit for arriving late seems fair.
21. Finish book two of The Elements.
For a while my friend Ty and I were working our way through Euclid’s Elements, the ancient Greek geometry text. We finished book one a couple of years ago but then our work schedules changed and we weren’t able to get together as consistently as we had before. This year we met once or twice to work through a couple of propositions but scheduling became an issue and it fell by the wayside. No credit here.
So my success rate for 2015 was 10/21 or just over 47%. That’s a decline from last year’s 56% but still a respectable number. I certainly wish it had been higher, but it’s not nearly as embarrassing as some of my past years have been.
I hope that all of you are making resolutions and keeping them. Feel free to email me your own lists and results!