6 month check up

And here we are, wrapping up month 6.

1.    Jacob, Jacob, Jacob, Jacob.
This kid is great. June saw him finish 3rd grade and attend a week at sleepaway camp. He was much more ready for camp this year, running off almost immediately to play with other kids and seeming a little disappointed to come home at the end of the week. This weekend, I took him and a friend to the Funplex, a local arcade/amusement park type place near our house and we hung out there for a few hours. I was impressed with how relaxed they were, how easily they negotiated disagreements. It’s been quite some time since I had to discipline him for bad behavior or mouthing off; mostly he’s just turning into this polite kid who looks people in the eye and says “Yes sir” and “No sir.” I even saw him shake someone’s hand recently. I definitely have the karate studio and its instructors to thank for that – it’s not the fear of God that makes Jake do the right thing, but rather the fear of Mr. Lopinto!

2.    Continue to write nearly every weekend.
Yes, hit or miss. I’m doing really well in school right now, and so I’m fitting in the writing where I can. But it’s going surprisingly well, with a handful of new poems and even a piece of short fiction that I’m kind of excited about. Also, I started that whole collaborative art thing, Reflex the Noun, a project that will keep me focused on creation. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here. If you do know, click here anyway.

3.    Send two submissions per month.
June was a really good month, actually: submissions out to Blood Lotus, PANK, Heavy Feather Review, and a couple other places. I think I did 5 subs in June, and even got two acceptances. Something weird did happen, though: I submitted to a journal back in February and hadn’t heard anything (they specify a response in a few weeks). When I queried, they responded that their reading period had closed (two weeks AFTER my submission), they would not be reading my sub, and I should consider resubmitting during their next reading period. I didn’t respond to the email, though I very much wanted to. I won’t be subbing there again; if they can’t read my simple 3-line query (in which I very clearly stated the date I submitted, a date that fell within their reading period), how can I be sure they’re actually reading those poems? At any rate, one of the poems from that sub got accepted somewhere else, so.

Goodness, that was a lot of talking.

4.    Spend more time geocaching.
Not in June, sadly. Although interestingly, I think that this resolution was really intended to get me doing one of the things I really love to do, which is to spend time outside. I did go camping (sort of), I have been keeping up (mostly) on the gardening at home. I’m spending time with my hands in the dirt or the pines or the brush, which is what I was aiming for.

5.    Participate in Donna’s Poetry Tow Truck exercises.
Again, not directly, though Donna’s prompts always get me thinking about writing in new ways.

6.    Actually get back to Nic Sebastian on that Voice Alpha guest-blog invite. And maybe write a guest-blog. – COMPLETE! (Feb 2011)
A little update here: In February I emailed Nic and said “Thanks, but not sure I can.” But then guess what? I wrote a blog! You probably saw it already but in case you didn’t, here it is.

7.    Think about finding a new job, or learn to balance work/life more appropriately in this one.
Oh, work/life balance has been so good lately. I’ve almost entirely stopped bringing work home with me. That makes me happy.

8.    Act less on impulse and more out of kindness.
Still working on this.

9.    Weed out the negativity.
I decided in the past few weeks to just stop acknowledging negativity where I see it. Amazing how helpful it’s been.

10.    Make time to blog twice a week (it stimulates the muses, you know).
More or less, yes.

11.    Take more pictures.
More or less, yes.

12.    Stick with kickboxing.
Yes, though there was a frustrating few weeks where I missed for various reasons. I will keep on keepin’ on.

13.    Lose some weight.
Yes, despite the sporadic kickboxing.

As I suspected, the resolutions I’m struggling with the most are the least tangible: weeding out negativity, acting on kindness instead of impulse. It’s difficult to measure reactions to abstract concepts, and it’s also easy to lose focus. Of course, immediately after making these resolutions in January, the challenge of keeping them was made immeasurably more difficult by a spectacular failure. The fallout from this failure kept me distracted for months, even up to today. Some months are better than others (hell, some days are better than others), and I’ve given in to the impulse to react to this failure far more frequently than I should. And my reactions certainly have not been kind at times, a fact of which I am not proud.

What else can I do but move forward?

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