Life, Writing

Notes from the Cooler

January 1, 2012

At the beginning of 2011, I wrote the following: So far the plan is pretty simple:  New novel.  New album.  And generally keep doing what I’m doing, but better.

Okay, so I didn’t finish the new novel, or the new album — but I started both, so that’s partial success.  What about the third thing?  I’m going to say yes, I kept doing what I’ve been doing, but better.  All in all, I worked hard this year, harder than ever before, I think.  I did two revisions on my first novel, wrote a big chunk of a second novel, started sending out agent queries, and even squeezed in a short story, all despite a full-time job. I fought the good fight, and got a lot accomplished.

Sometimes I have a hard time seeing it, though. This is a tough post to write, because I feel myself wanting to list my achievements from 2011, but I don’t feel like I have any.  No tally marks, no sales, no milestones, no results — nothing tangible, anyway. Just slow, gradual, painstaking progress. It feels like hard work, not paying off.

Yet.

I love stories about people who don’t give up. The ones who, regardless of the odds, keep picking themselves up and throwing themselves at their goals.  Those types of characters inspire me. But I’m not always so good at being one of those characters.  So I’m trying to pull back from 2011 and see around the absences, to look at the work,  the steps I’ve taken and the progress I’ve made.  Because that work has meaning, and it matters, and it’s change, even if it doesn’t feel like it, and even if I can’t always see it.

So:  be that person that doesn’t quit.  That’s my resolution for 2012.  And I’ll begin, right now, by channeling Steve McQueen from The Great Escape, looking wicked cool and confident in a leather flight jacket, ricocheting a baseball off the walls of a solitary confinement cell.  He may not ever get out of there, but you’d never know it to look at him. I want to be that guy, even just a little.

Here’s wishing a great new year to all of us!

Related Posts:

You Might Also Like

  • Susan Franzblau January 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Excellent attitude — and role-model. No one is better than the Cooler King for an example of someone who will never give up and McQueen himself always worked and played as hard as he could. Can’t wait to read the novel. Just tell me more about this album thing.

    • Chris East January 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      I *love* The Great Escape. The ending of that movie always gets me.

      The album is a collection of music I’ve written on GarageBand, which I’ve been tooling around on for a few years now. Click on the Audio category on the right sidebar of my site and it’ll bring up all my music posts. A lot of the songs are silly, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. 🙂

  • Susan Franzblau January 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Great Escape is one of my favorites. I have to watch it again soon.

    I feel like an idiot. I’ve been making a fool of myself trying to record hypnosis tapes using Garageband and I should have thought you might be someone who had played with it. I want to listen to what you’ve got. You should see me huddled in the office with my Blue Snowball mic. I have to do it at night when Mom’s asleep so I feel alone and she won’t walk in. For some reason, The Gary Monster is quiet then, too.

  • Lisa Moore January 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Okay, now you made me weepy. Save me a spot in the cooler.

    • Chris East January 2, 2012 at 10:28 am

      Consider it done, Lisa! Don’t forget you mitt! 🙂

  • “We Can Get Dozens Out In This Darkness!” January 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

    […] writing summary post on the first of the year, but this year I thought I’d just continue with last year’s Great Escape metaphor.  Because…Steve […]