SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
I’ve been thinking about how the New Year should go. We all tend to think of that this time of year, don’t we? We all resolve to be healthier, thinner, better educated, more understanding … and we all hope some scientist will come up with a pill to do that without any actual effort.
A certain amount of laziness is human nature. It dates back to the caveman days, when we had to sit around and conserve energy during lean times. If you missed out on the mammoth hunt there was no government assistance; you went hungry.
As a result, the caveman got used to being inactive when not hunting, which is why he got so upset when the cavewoman wanted him to help decorate the cave. “Ah, can’t we just hire Ugg to do the drawings?” He would protest.
“Oh, sure – Ugg is always eager to decorate everyone else’s cave, but not his own. It’s a hole. Well, I guess if I wait for you we just can’t have a nice cave, can we?”
Where was I? Oh, yes – I originally was going to resolve to stop going off on tangents, but I got busy with other things and forgot. Instead, I propose to make this year … wait for it:
The Year of Me.
I’m not talking the generic, general, all six billion of us me. Here in America, it’s been a whole generation of me. Or at least it seems that way; it’s mostly just that the people who scream “Me, me!” get louder every year, while the young people we don’t hear from are busy working to improve themselves and help others. You know – the non-me people.
I’ve always felt a little guilty whenever something seems to be just handed to me. I’m not saying I’d turn it down, mind you. But this year, 2014, is going to be the year things come my way, the big year, the year all my previous work pays off.
Okay, probably not.
Here’s the thing: I’m not a numerologist. I don’t believe in the power of numbers or in astrology or any superstition, knock on wood. Although it is true that during bowling I try to influence the path of the ball by body motion and the power of thoughts.
Still, the number 14 holds special meaning to me. I was born on the 14th, joined the volunteer fire department on the 14th, and … well, that’s about it. I also got married on the 14th, but that was my first marriage, so I can’t exactly use the term “lucky number”.
In other words, it’s a not-big deal that I tend to treat as a big deal. I remember back when I turned 14 years old, thinking that was going to be my big year: I’d get the girl (any girl), my grades would improve with little effort on my part, home life would get easier, all bullies would vanish from my life, and someone would recognize the burgeoning genius of my writing.
But like all pessimists who are secretly optimists, I hold onto any small thing that might indicate good times to come. So this year will be 2014, the year of Mark. It will hold a dozen or so fourteens over the months, and a whole month of 7, which is of course half of 14.
I have decided that this means I’ll have a big year on the publishing front. Sure, I could have predicted the normal things, like losing weight, getting healthier, trimming my home’s bushes for once – but we all know that’s not going to happen.
But I’ve already got a new novel coming out late next year, so the way I see it I’m on a roll. (Unless there’s a delay and it comes out in 2015 … no. No thinking that way.)
In addition to that book I have six different fiction projects – count ‘em, six – sent out to publishers right now. All of them are pretty good, according to my mom, and the dog seemed fascinated when I read them to him. Three are short stories, which if bought will probably come out in ’14, and let’s ignore the “if bought” part. One is a novel that went to an agent, and if that agent should take me on she would start shopping it to publishers, so … yeah, we wouldn’t see that for a while. The other two are novels that went to publishers, and if they decided to buy them today, chances are good they’d come out in … 2015.
Maybe I should do that older person birthday thing and declare 2015 to be a repeat of 2014 …
But that’s okay, because I also have some self-published products almost ready, and those don’t go through the normal publisher delay. So expect an announcement about what will be announced sometime early in the year.
That’s right; I just made an announcement that there will be an announcement. A pre-announcement announcement, if you will. Don’t judge me – that’s my wife’s job.
So 2014 will be the Year of Mark (trademark pending), and the Year of Mark will be all about writing. I hope. Or maybe it will be the year I announce a lot of writing that will come out in 2015, which I will then identify as the year of the post-Mark.
Maybe I should stick with diet and exercise.