Year In Review: 2011
In a change of strategy, I began 2011 resolved to "live" rather than "produce," to "engage" rather than "sell." Good decision.
After Jim's November car accident, January was spent on doctor appointments instead of traveling in Europe. Bummer. Winter closed in and our house became a hermitage that could have easily been one of those monasteries off the windy coast of Ireland. Life revolved around the two of us, together. We dug in. We beat back the darkness. The year ended with our lives full of completed projects, good health, and fun with friends and family. It was a great year.
Engaging and Sharing
- Closed Ebay store: through with junk. Not inclined to sell the rest.
- Sold the antique firearms collection at the October Poulin Auction in Maine. Donated all the reference books to the local library fund-raiser.
- Catalogued Japanese art and collectibles; got a good start on the other Asian collections. Had a lot of fun with it. Met many interesting characters, such as Izuna-Gongen, Aizen Myo-o, Kobo-Daishi, Vairocana, Kitsune. Shared the Buddhist woodblocks on Flickr.
- Organized and catalogued all our hardcase photos: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes. Made a special category for Civil War soldiers. Sharing them on Flickr has been great fun as other collectors and fan discover their unique beauty.
- "Living with art" was a theme not fully explored (no tea parties for the museum crowd), but I see I am starting to build up my page of writing about collectibles.
- Tribe of the Breakaway Beads. PUBLISHED Nov 15! Big accomplishment, a year behind schedule. Glad I didn't insist on getting it out last Christmas, since it's a much better product for the year of additional work. Reviewing the year's notes tell me it was deep work, much of it with Pat's thoughts and reactions mixed in.
- Dot and Dash. Created a "comic strip" featuring the wayfarer Dash and her illuminating companion Dot, published on Flickr. This emerged from fanciful conversations with Pat about her explorer Dunno. But she wanted a product for kids and I was interested in my own adult explorations. Dash was then recruited to don a skirt and play "Mary" in the illustrations for TBB.
- Passion and Peril on the Silk Road went on without me, accumulating about 80 sales in its Kindle version. My poor orphan, finding her own way... I reduced the price to 99-cents in December, hoping to stimulate even more sales.
- Possible project (notes generated): Turning Energy Cards into a game and book. (See notes from March)
- Possible project (notes generated): Updateing The Underground Athletic Club for possible ebook release.
- Video version of old film my mom had: "Molly's First Steps." Started work on the Drum and Bugle Corps film-to-video but needed to finish my book.
Exploratation and Capacity-Building
- Somehow, Jim and I going out with our cameras and then our organizing old travel photos got me really excited about photography. I learned HDR techniques (using Photomatix Pro 4.0, see photo below), how to use the Color Efex Pro Photoshop plug-in (result), and how to use the Silver Efex Pro plug-in (for black and white) (result). Best are posted on Flickr.
Peer Networking & Environmental Scanning
- Joined Google+ but I've really been poor at making networking work with people I don't otherwise have a connection with.
- The place where art/creativity and spirit meet continues to be fascinating new territory for me. I spent a lot of reading time on esoteric Christianity and other rebellious Western traditions. (See reading list below.)
- Shamanic Journeywork course with Dave Tilley. Introduced me to more techniques for "going deep." My initial spirit guide was a camel. I remain unsure about following up on this specific path, though I got a lot out of the workshop.
- Jim and I organized all his professional and personal files into two new cabinets. Had fun sharing his childhood writings (incl The Story of Gink) and family letters about his time in Taiwan.
- We got a ton of trip photographs digitized, using an Ion slide scanner (notes) and the ScanMyPhotos.com service for the obsolete PhotoCD format.
- Bought a Macbook Air but didn't especially become a Mac convert. Settled on Adobe Lightroom as my photoprocessing lab for travel.
- Bought a new Dell desktop computer, with a 64-bit operating system. Upgraded to Adobe Master Suite 5.5.
- After losing some Wordpress blog entries, a new blog was set up on Squarespace.
- Eagerly upgraded to iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Jim inherited old equipment.
- Established my MAD IN PURSUIT imprint with Bowker.
- Roadtrips.Florida (2/22 - 3/6) broke the wintry hold on our spirits with fun in Daytona with the Drums, in Miami, and in Safety Harbor with the Zimmers (photos). St. Louis (4/20-4/27): the weather was full of wind and rain instead of spring, but great to hang out with the family. Connecticut (5/28-5/30) for Barbara's h.s. graduation; good reconnection with Jim's son Roger & family (photos). St. Louis (9/7-9/15) for the Price family picnic (photos). Florida (11/21-11/30) for Thanksgiving in Safety Harbor, then on to Melbourne and Daytona (photos). St Louis (12/22-12/29) for Christmas (photos)and another Price gathering of the clans.
- Continued wonderful interactions with friends and family on- and offline. Overnight visits to our hermitage included Jim's grandson Mark, Pat Drum, and Tom McDermott. We hosted a few small "happy hours" and four parties, including two Zimmer family gatherings.
- Family history exploration continues to allow me to discover stories and make friends. Of particular note was the sad revelation of my Uncle Bill's unpublicized death (my requiem), which ultimately led to a reunion with my cousin Carmen on Christmas Day (thanks to Facebook).
- New car: Volvo S80.
These are the books that impressed me enough to make note of in my daily journal. (LINKS point to my notes on these books or authors.)
American Gods by Neal Gaiman (Audible). The old gods struggle for recognition against the crass new American gods. Fiction.
Birth of Tragedy by Nietsche. Apollo meets Dionysus.
Creative Mythology by Joseph Campbell. Deep exploration into the rebels of the Western/Christian tradition. This became the textbook of my "hermitage months" of winter.
Entering the Castle by Caroline Myss (Audible). St. Terese Avila's mystical castle, interpreted for modern times. Tried to read St. Terese's Interior Castle, but couldn't get past the pious verbiage.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Audible). Reminding myself of the details of this story.
Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel. Too much of a hard sell for my advanced state of comprehensivist agnosticism.
Liberation Upon Hearing in the In-Between by Robert Thurman (Audible). Another listen -- got much more out of hearing it again and combining it with a look at our Tibetan art.
The Life You Save May Be Your Own: an American Pilgrimage by Paul Ellie (Audible). Intertwined lives of Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Walker Percy and Flannery O'Connor.
Lost Christianity by Jacob Needleman. Exploration of Christian esoteric traditions. Emphasis on finding processes that walk you toward full awakening.
Mystic Christianity by William Walker Atkinson. Digging into the offbeat views of the old theosophist/new thought thinkers. Also started Esoteric Christianity, or The Lesser Mysteries by Annie Wood Besant.
Neuromancer by William Gibson (Audible). Reconnecting with science fiction, starting with a classic.
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1678). The Bible wrapped in an allegory. Redemption as roadtrip.
Presence: Exploring Profound Changes in People, Organizations, and Society by Senge, Scharmer, et al. The b-school mystics, pondering profound changes.
Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal (Audible). How games can make us better. Discussion of "flow and fiero" as -- beautiful states of mind that gaming helps achieve (perhaps similar to disciplined spiritual quests).
Shamanic Journeying by Sandra Ingerman. Succinct explanation of journeywork, in prep for the workshop I took.
Song of the Sun by Andrew Harvey (Audible). The life of Rumi. Dug into several other books of Rumi poetry, mostly by Coleman Barks. If that's what divine love is about, I'm in! Rumi has been a great discovery for Pat and me.
Way of a Pilgrim by Anonymous. 19th century Russian story of a mendicant pilgrim searching for how to pray. Promotes a form of meditation whereby you move your words from the brain to the heart.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (Audible). Writing as a spiritual practice.