Thanks to Deborah for the photograph.
So today I turned forty-seven. It is time to take a deep breath and remember that despite my current drama, this last year has seen accomplishments including my first professional fiction publication and my first reading. I've made new friends and allies, discovered new talents, and received praise and encouragement from people whose work I've admired since long before I began to take my art seriously. There have been deep and lasting changes in the way I regard and treat myself.
So here's what I need to do in the coming year.
First off, I need to put more effort into developing methods for coping with stress and anxiety. I was speaking with the missus about my goals for the coming year, and she said I should put this on the top of the list. She's right.
Professionally? At the very minimum: I want the novel to be in the hands of editors and agents before my next birthday, I want to put a portfolio for a show based on my art for Swill in the hands of gallery owners and agents, and I want to put a portfolio of my paleontological art into the hands of children's book publishers and agents.
Personally? Right now, I am at sea. Everything from the way I eat to the way I dress and the music I listen to has been going through major changes. The things I did for fun are starting to drop away from me, and I'm not sure what to replace them with.
In other words, my sense of identity is in a state of flux. Who am I and what am I for? Right now I do not fucking know, and my circumstances are changing so rapidly and unexpectedly that there is no way for me to predict how things are going to end up.
So all I can do is work hard, and make sure that work gets in front of people who can get me money. My old editor from the Mondo days told me a while back, "You aren't a wannabe, you're a professional who hasn't been paid yet." She's right. This year, it's time to start changing that.
I may feel lost, I may not know who I am right now -- but I have work, and I have purpose, and if I pursue those honestly and earnestly, then things will probably work out for me. Just have to keep on going, one page at a time.