Jan. 3rd, 2016

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2014. 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?

We moved to Italy; specifically to Pescara, in Abruzzo. I'd never been to Abruzzo before, and hadn't been to Italy since I was 9. It's the first year I've been remotely functional in a language that isn't English, although I still have a long way to go to reach the kind of fluency that lets you hold a normal conversation.

I also made forays into a visual language: emoticon. I got my first smartphone almost exclusively so I could engage in the long text conversations tnat are today's main long-distance communication, and sometimes the messages I send go [confetti] [wine glass] [big smile].

I became a regular contributor to The Billfold; one piece I wrote for them (futurist guide to retirement planning) was favorably discussed in the New York Times editorial blog, and another (value of a stamp) was recommended by the editors of Medium. I also started writing for Atlas Obscura, which I've been reading since before internet 2.0 existed. I'm still not making much money through writing, if you're curious, partly because I've been focusing on prestige stuff and/or magazines for which I have a personal affection. This year, around $600, although I'm owed another $200 that hasn't come in yet.

My publications:
(fiction)
Every Hand A Winner (Farrago's Wainscot)
The Eggshell Curtain (reprint, Daughters of Frankenstein, ed. Steve Berman)
Unattached Metaphors (The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts)
(poetry)
Counter Rant and People Yelling In German (Punchnel's)
Splinter Song (Liminality)
(essay)
The $500 Wedding: An Assessment (The Billfold)
A Futurist Vision of Retirement Planning (The Billfold)
DIYing a Second Language (The Billfold)
The Trouble With Being Scrooge (The Billfold)
The Sex-Obsessed Poet Who Invented Fascism (Atlas Obscura)
The Complicated Costs of Marrying a Dual Citizen (The Billfold)
The Value of Having a Piece of Paper with an Official Stamp (The Billfold)
Enough Tacos to Get a Spaceship Past Neptune: Small-Time Dreams for 2016 (The Billfold)

My SF microfiction concern postorbital is up to 234 followers, and occasionally has influence disproportionate to its size. Somebody (I think an undergrad) wrote an academic paper about it.

With filmmaking, nothing's been in production, but I pitched a TV show to a German production company, which I definitely haven't done before. (They passed, but my collaborator and I are going to try shopping it around a little more.) I'm in talks to screenwrite something for another director, which is also new. And I've hooked up with a small Italian production company that mostly makes animated ads (to pay the rent); I'm helping them with English translations.

I started tying my shoelaces with a surgeon's knot; up to this point, I've used granny knots and double knots, and they came untied at least once an hour. I knew there had to be a better way, but since I mostly wear slip-on or buckle shoes, I wasn't highly motivated to learn it. However, I finally sat down with a video and practiced, and now my shoes stay sorted. Like magic.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any resolutions, unless you count that I intended to move to Italy and then did. This year, I have a lot of pre-sold writing stuff that I need to actually write, and some fiction which I've let fall by the wayside that I need to wrap up. I'd like to have another feature script (about a castle siege) finished by summer, and hopefully be in a position to start pitching it to investors.

But my major goal is that by the end of the year I'd like to be making $400/month from writing. Presumably, this will happen a lot sooner than before the end of the year, since I'm already halfway there and the only thing that's been stopping me is lack of time, not lack of buyers. The dream is that I make closer to $7000 in 2016 and can pay off my student loans once and for all - which doesn't seem impossible, but doesn't seem certain either, partly because I'm figuring out how to balance the stuff that isn't guaranteed to pay (my weirdo fiction projects) with stuff that pays but I don't take seriously as art (comedic personal essays which plenty of people like, but which feel like cheating because I'm not making them up and will therefore presumably run out of material).

And obviously I have to get better at Italian and pass various citizenship exams. Which means I need to know a lot more about Italian civics and history than I currently know. (I know a lot for an American, but not much for an Italian.)

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