Writing Big Year: What a train wreck!

Whatever shape or form this Big Year had on January 1, I’ve abandoned it for weeks, weeks on end. Book progress has inched forward at a rate so glacial that I’d need another century to reach publication.

Does this have anything to do with the success of my Fitness Big Year? A sleepless night has convinced me there is a firm connection. Quite some time ago, I switched exercising to mornings, mostly early, and the rewards were immediate in the form of great energy and honest application. I haven’t missed an exercising day in nearly six weeks, and over the last three months, rest days can be counted on one hand.

The idea was that a happy fit body would lead to ease of writing in the remaining hours of each day. Instead, I’m stalled, stuck and wallowing in unproductive activities. Life is sweet but the book is dying.

So . . . I switch back. Rise early, Andres, and work until noon. No distractions. Set goals and get stuff done. Today is Day One.

Photo credit: National Library of Australia Commons via Visual hunt / No known copyright restrictions

Fitness Big Year: The pleasure of it!

The big push to hit 2017 targets is on! 45 weeks of focus has acclimatized the body to 110 kms of cycling a week (not far, really, but enough for me right now) and 30 kms of familiar-but-still-tough jogging. Strava tells me I’ve managed nearly 3,300 kms of cycling, 800 of jogging. To hit 4,000 kms/1,000 kms, I can’t miss a week or even a day between now and New Year’s Eve.

Ordinarily I’d be stressed by this pressure. The funny thing is, I’ve begun to enjoy even the running (who could not enjoy a bike ride?), and when I say enjoy, I mean relish . My once-reluctant body tells me it needs and celebrates each day’s workout. Who would have believed this year’s “fitness” focus would come to such a welcome juncture.

All of this mentally prepares me for 2018. For once in my life, maybe I can be ambitious!


Dispatches from the Land of Steady: November 15

Not sure if any sleep came to me last night, worrying about the book’s lack of progress.

I used this eloquent (some would call it wanky) notion of a “dispatch from the land of steady” to tell myself to stay the course, to just turn up every day and quietly work onward. It worked for a while in the winter months. But this device has run its course. I’m not steady, not at all.

There will be no further Dispatches.

Rock Music Big Year: Ben Ratliff’s take on modern listening dilemmas

Where the heck is my music listening mojo? Even after listening to over a hundred albums this year, as assiduously as possible, the old magic hasn’t returned. Music critic Ben Ratliff has a fascinating book out about how music listening has been revolutionised by digitisation and streaming. His title says it all: Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen in an Age of Musical Plenty.

Classifying by genre has lost its organizational power, the unifying concept of the album is dead, and there’s no longer any point in being a completist and collecting your favorite artist’s output. We can listen to anything ever produced, any time, anywhere. Ratliff is a splendid writer and I found his twenty ideas, often radical, on how to find connections between one song and another, fascinating. If you’ve an abiding, serious interest in modern music, do check out Every Song Ever, you’ll sink into the read.

But you know what? None of the twenty nifty assists this floundering soul.

Big Decade: Choosing between fascinations

I came to Netflix’s Mindhunter series fully primed by a long-ago fascination with killers and evil in the world. This interest was, it has to be said, fully naïve: what on earth do I know about violence? Why does a sheltered geek get drawn into such dark topics?

I came, I saw, and I was conquered. That is, the series held me spellbound. The experience has resurrected a deep need to write fiction exploring, in some fashion, a horrid facet of humanity that I personally know nothing about.

Of course, right now there’s no way I can pursue these rekindled embers. The lumbering nuclear book holds sway. But I earmark the urge: soon enough, I’ll dive back into evil. Again, I ask myself why? Again, I have no idea.