Year In Review: 2009
This year zigged and zagged around roadtrips. I guess I decided that I've grown up to be a writer. A writer with a variety of other skills. As opposed to a multi-media "whatever." But I still love talking into a microphone... even if it is only to myself.
Did I live by my manifesto (see sidebar)? Not as LOUDLY or clearly as I would like... played it safe... enjoying my comfort zone too much. The year feels unfinished...
Radio/sound. I got fascinated by sound art and sound artists, which resulted in putting together a Sound Art resource page. It gave me courage to go a little crazy with my Kathleen's Machine audio project. Also revised Do You Believe in Karma? and produced a piece about our stuff called How Crap Becomes Real. See Radio page>>>
Earlier radio works with an afterlife: Remembering Charlotte, In the Rain was licensed for broadcast by KRCB, public radio in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco. MIDLIFE WEB DIARY was chosen by PRX for the album Media/Tech/Art: Art On The Streets And Life Online, distributed on iTunes ond other media outlets (4.13.09). KUOW, Puget Sound Public Radio (Washington State) licensed War Rugs: What Little Girls Make for broadcast (1.23.09).
Drawing/graphics. Love fooling around. A few cute things. Not gaining any traction. Gave my eyes some psychedelic therapy by copying African Kuba cloth patterns -- actually turned out to be quite a lovely form of meditation. I enjoyed this kind of "drawing from life" better than my attempt at figure drawing in 2008. Gives my over-thinking brain a rest.
Redesigned my home page and navigation structure. Good.**
Doing more entries only on the blog. Better response with shorter entries... even better from linking into Facebook. Insight into social networking: it's better if you have some kind of connection in real life.
Novel Marketing. Spent a couple months diligently setting up a "marketing platform" for Passion and Peril on the Silk Road and getting the book distributed through many retailers and in many e-formats. Bottom line, however: I suck at selling. I don't want to give talks at the library. I don't want to deliver chatty radio interviews. I love "indie publishing," but got pretty turned off by all the crap my fellow "indies" are spewing out. And being subjected to all their cheery one-sided "buy my book" social so-called networking got depressing.
Novel #2. I thought the best way to market my book and identify myself as a "novelist" would be to dig into writing the next novel. Made great progress with character studies, research, outline, etc. But by the time we came home from our trip West in October, I had lost my enthusiasm. It felt too abstract... so I carefully packed it all up for another day.
Memoir. Got more energized around writing memoir, building on the little essays I've been writing for years on Mad In Pursuit. I have a large chunk of "Grand Exits" (working title) drafted and spent a productive couple of days digging into in with Pat** while we were in Florida in November.
Family history. Continue to poke away at developing the family stories. I worked on pages about Castlewood and web-published the Flanagan family autograph book. I found out a little more about the Barrett family homestead in Missouri and the Martin family in Galway. Started a Dunne Family of Ballaghduff group on Facebook -- doesn't add much to family history, but has gathered up more than 50 (so far) of the 200+ living descendants of Michael & Catherine Dunne.
Stewardship and Sales
By the end of January I undertook a massive effort to document our African artifacts and antique gun collections. The fascinating aspects were offset by the annoying problems connected with learning and re-learning about databases and spreadsheets.
Our Ebay store drifted along, with a few spurts of activity.
After publishing the novel at the end of 2008, the year started with me slightly adrift, wondering what next. I decided to do a 40 Minutes, 40 Days "feast for the soul" -- a combo of journaling, drawing and zazen at the beginning of each day from mid-January, through February. This was very good for me... very energizing. But I was sporadic about doing zazen for the rest of the year.
I've been a total slug about any kind of activism or volunteerism. And this doesn't seem to bother me.
Travel & Friendships
My brother Tom came to visit me here -- first time ever and way too short.
Pat and Lesley came through town for a two-day intensive marketing lab (& party) at my house. Pat being the wise one; Lesley and I the students. **I have to give special recognition to Pat Drum this year for being such a great friend and coach, behind me every step of the way, from gathering book reviews, to critiquing drafts, to advising on website redesign, to cheering on all my artistic labors in her most opinionated (and helpful way). And my role model in so many ways.
In general our social life picked up, as Jim and I renewed connections with friends and family near and far.
SPECIAL THANKS to my mom and to Jim for being my most loyal and loving fans -- continuing to have confidence that I can do whatever I set my mind to.