2012: The New Year's Aspiration Scorecard

on Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I really don't know why I bother setting goals for myself each year; I clearly do very little to achieve them. This year was no exception. I completely disregarded them all in favour of a characteristically lassaiz faire approach to reading and writing. I'm almost reluctant to write this entry, but if I won't whip my own back with stinging nettles, who will?

1. Read Less, Write More. Not a complete failure. At 120-odd books and still counting, I'm down on my usual average so that's something. I also did a fair amount of writing albeit not quite as much as I'd hoped. My self-imposed deadline of September 30 flew by without so much as an ink splotch but I am making progress (more tortoise than hare-like, it seems). Looking back, 2012 will be remembered as a year cushily spent resting on my laurels. My two published stories enjoyed quite a prolonged life - publication in The Age, Best Australian Stories 2012 and Award Winning Australian Writing 2012, licensing by the ABC to be read as a radio program, participation in my first ever writers' festival, public readings, etc - and I was quite happy to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Alas, the fire has now been reduced to its last few embers (or ash, to be more precise) so 2013 is going to have to be a much more productive one if I don't want to feel totally stagnant this time next year. But there I go putting the cart before the horse again...

2. Stop Being Such A Lit Wanker. Genre fiction and graphic novels didn't exactly feature heavily on my 2012 reading list but I did make a fairly decent showing of trying to read a bit more of them. For the most part they were enjoyable (special props to Lost Dogs by Jeff Lemire, The Postman Always Rings Twice by James Cain and, yes, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn) so there may still be hope for me yet. Don't hold your breath though. I'm still a total wanker.

3. Smell The Roses. End-of-year rush aside (I'm trying to rip through ten more books before NYE), I think I did a pretty decent job. And even though I'd like to credit a concerted effort on my part to stick to at least one of my New Years Aspirations, I simply cannot. Any success on this particular point stemmed from serendipity, not design. I read as I usually read. Sometimes it was slower, sometimes faster. A busier law calendar certainly contributed, as did my 2012 tendency to travel whenever the opportunity arose. So great success, but not thanks to me.

4. Tangible Aspirations: War and Peace, Sartre's Roads To Freedom, Lev Grossman, Gaiman's American Gods. Here's where I really set myself up for failure. Nope, nope, nope and nope. Holy crap, those nettles sting!

5. Lose 95 Kilos and Exist in A Vacuum. Strangely, I didn't do too badly on this one. I did lose a few kilos and, by becoming ever more hermit-like, existed somewhat in a vacuum (at least so far as my friends were concerned). So bravo me. Successful at the one NY Aspiration that was totally absurd.

Well, that about wraps it up for another year of predictable stumbles. Of course I'll come up with new ones for 2013, but I'm thinking it might be more prescient to set the bar much lower so I can smash it out of the park. Read 25 books? Write half a chapter? Take Louie for three walks? Yeah, I think I can do that.

Be sure to check back over the next ten days as I unveil all my picks of 2012. It's been a great reading year, so I have hell of a lot to say about some truly remarkable books!


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