karenarthur: (Default)
I figure it's about time I've done a proper post to inaugurate the new year. I will remember 2011 as the year that I realized I do not want to teach and made a break with academia. I began learning how to code and now dream of being a linux programmer when I grow up. I also started reading comic books again, and started to focus more on my fiction writing than I have in years. I made a good amount of progress on my novel.

What do I want from 2012? I'm not a big fan of setting concrete goals for myself. It pretty much inevitably leads to failure and guilt and self-flagellation and burying myself in a pint of Hagen Daas. Eff that noise.

Last year I started to make a conscious effort to establish small habits that will lead to better health, happiness, quality of life, etc. I started drinking green tea instead of soda, taking cod liver oil, and cutting back on red meat and fast food. This year I'd like to give up red meat entirely. I'd like to be vegetarian in theory, but I have yet to find a good substitute that will satisfy my occasional craving for orange chicken. Maybe someday, but I don't think I could go cold turkey yet.

I'd like to make habits of getting up earlier in the mornings, wearing sunscreen every day even if I'm just sitting around the house, cooking at home more. I'd like to start learning French, but that's not a huge priority. I want to start incorporating more health foods like brown rice and kimchi and tofu into my diet. I want to learn to make japchae and homemade caramels.

Career-wise, I want to finish the novel and rack up enough pro sales in short fiction to qualify for SFWA membership. In the short term, this means committing to at least starting to write every day (even if I don't make much progress, entropy will eventually work in my favor), and getting used to having a story or three on the submissions carousel while I work on a new one.

My biggest decision in the upcoming year will be whether or not to return to school for a computer science degree. I discovered a while back after reading an introductory book on ruby that programming gives me much the same satisfaction that writing does, and long hours spent tinkering with code actually sounds very appealing in comparison with teaching. Since then I have butterflied about between reading on Lisp and Java and C# and have been working through the online Harvard introduction to computer science course. I do have the feeling that it is something I would be suited to and enjoy as a career, but the prospect of going back to school again doesn't precisely excite me. Still, I think I could make much better progress in a structured program of study than I can on my own flipping through outdated books from the library. I am ass at multitasking on most days.

Other than that, I don't have much in the way of grand ambition. I'd like to spend more time outdoors and learn to incorporate more exercise into my days. I'd like to paint the house blue and find new art to hang in the hallway and get a collie. I want to start my days more often with a fruit smoothie and end them more often with a good book and a glass of red wine. But most of all, I want to live in a more present and centered way, and not worry too much about external drang and sturm.

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Karen Arthur

February 2012

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