This is going to be another one of the posts with little coherence, not quite long or deep enough to really hold your attention…but don’t quite quit reading yet, please. I’m coming forward with a bunch of holiday recommendations and roundups and they’re good…
#1. I’ve recently been listening to music played by the Hungarian trumpeter Gábor Boldoczki. Just have a quick listen … this is writing music for me. There’s something about the way he belts out the sound that I find smashing and that I’d like to imitate. I wish I’d been born as a trumpet.
#2. Lists are great. I’ve already admitted to hating and loving lists but around the end of one and the beginning of a new year, the list becomes my favorite weapon of deluding myself that I manage my time. The list I’m most looking forward to is the list next year’s goals: I have a special place for it, in a small book with a purple (!) leather binding. There’s a stylized fish drawing on top of it. The fish smiles, we don’t know why, perhaps he lives in the Gulf of Mexico and has just escaped from under a carpet of oil in the water, or perhaps he’s not a fish at all but an enchanted writer happy to be writing and being read…actually, there’s going to be more on my list but 2010 was a good one already. A few numbers:
- Since July, this blog’s been hit almost 35,000 times, with more than 19,000 actual visitors in that period (and I only started publicizing it in September). Knowing that there are (so many) readers out there makes me very happy. I’m not Lord Gaga but I’m getting there.
- I’ve published a fair amount. All that glistens is not gold, of course. According to Duotrope Digest (please donate today!) my success rate is 35,56% – some submissions still outstanding (one is my favorite lag-mag, McSweeney’s). In case you’re too lazy to do the maths: that also means my failure rate is 64,44%. I still don’t feel like a failure. So rates must be over-rated at large.
- I’ve thrown myself into three contests – short story, chapbook and novella – and I’m looking forward to the outcome like a matador looks up to the sky after three bull fights in a row.
#3. Still my favorite daily read: Metazen, which acquired fabulous writers Shel Compton and Len Kuntz as new editors this year and where I was published first. I’m chuffed to be in the Metazen Christmas e-book (look for 23 flinders of planetary peace throughout the text). Home for the holidays? – Enjoy Metazen’s last minute literary christmas shopping guide here.
#4. The indies are no longer the distant, destitute cousins of real publishing, the indie jungle is blooming. There are several new flowers in my garden this year that make me smile: Pure Slush (via Matt Potter), Used Furniture (via David Cotrone), The Glass Coin (via Jo M Prescott), Ramshackle Review (via Mark Reep) and, of course, the ubiquitous 52|250 – A Year of Flash (via Michelle Elvy) … all fun, good, new, artsy virtual venues with plenty of pizzazz, all reviewed in fictionaut blog.
#5. There’s the scent of rejuvenation in the winter air! Blue Fifth Review, one of the most respected, established journals founded and edited by Sam Rasnake, was joined by Michelle Elvy and has undergone a substantial facelift at its new venue…after nominating yours truly for a Pushcart prize (something else to learn about).
#6. After coming out of the closet as myself, and after dumping Flawnt, I read for the first time not aloud in front of a real crowd – not once, not twice, but eight times. Last with a group of uber talented writers at This Berlin Life – a wonderful experience. There’s something about Berlin – it’s known to be poor and sexy – for writers but you probably need to come and see for yourself.
#7. I’m receiving photo submissions for the One Thousand Shipwrecked Penguins project. And why shouldn’t I – penguins are wonderful animals and so well dressed, too.
#8. Language is beautifully haunting often below the radar like an enormous, friendly whale. In Berlin-Mitte, I often don’t hear any German any more in the restaurants, shops, on the street. The literary performance scene is booming – it’s like a 21st century return of the city to its golden 20s. New in 2010 is a unique global show, > Language > Place, a blog carnival organised by Blue Print Review (via Dorothee Lang) where every month the displaced sing their song by the dozens. Join the fun as I did.
#9. Let’s turn a blissfully blind eye to the future and recognize that all of it is a collection of moments, each of them meaningful, each of them a brick to build upon:
“Any life is made up of a single moment, the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.” — Jorge Luis Borges
#10. Bedford Falls is bloody everywhere. Enjoy your wonderful life even when it hurts at times. Do not stop trying to see the point of your life, get to it and carve it into a shell, a stone or only in your memory. Good news are news also. Happy Holidays!