Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seven-and-Twenty

On this anniversary of my birth, I'd like to reflect on the previous year, how it went, and what lessons I learned.

I did a lot of writing this year and, therefore, spent a lot of time alone. They say its a good way of becoming a great writer: writing a lot. I should be Hemingway by now, no? Well, I'm certainly not, maybe not even a Stephanie Meyer - just kidding: I definitely write better than her! I wrote several drafts of my novelette titled Guardian, about, vaguely, our dependent relationship with technology and where that might take us (hint: not a great place). I could try to publish it now, as is, but I think it still needs some substantial work. Expect a publication date next year.

I got into grad school, too. After spending a year away, it's great to be back in school. My goal is to teach at the college level, so academia is really a comforting "place" for me. I've just started my master's program and I don't know what to expect. However, I've already received invaluable information/guidance in my fiction class that will radically change my course as a writer. In a nutshell: I was told that my stories, while smart and entertaining, were formulaic (as science fiction stories) and did not demonstrate a unique voice. I thought they had, but I was educated on what that is. I'm concentrating now on what I know. The plot is a riddle, my prof would say, and it is one that only the writer can pose and attempt to answer. I have to ask myself what the riddle is, the riddle of my life, the plot.

Besides that, I haven't done much else, lots of work, reading, etc.

One important lesson from the year is (while trying not to sound cliche): life is not about what (or who) you do, but making the best with what you got. I think this is more or less understood, but many don't realize just what it means. We picture the good life as being rich, partying, having people praise and love us. We see the opposite of these things as inherently bad. I don't think so. I think the poor, friendless, studious kid of, say, an Indian slum lives a much better life than, say, Paris Hilton. So, unsurprisingly, my life is more similar to the former.

Next year: hopefully more of the same. I will strive to live a meaningful life, and meaning is defined by me, not anyone else.

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