Sunday, December 31, 2023

A look back at 2023


Stop the world, I want to get off!

Or maybe just slow the spinning a little bit. I mean, seriously. I've made it through sixty of these solar revolutions now, and I swear this was the shortest one yet.

Still, I have nothing to complain about. Theater is back and bigger than ever, and my playwriting career is thriving.

But how did I do with my goals for the year, which I proudly posted on this page exactly 364 days ago and have long since forgotten? Let's take a look...

 1) Publish four new plays

No. I ended up only publishing one, How to Enchant a Bookshop. And the only other play I finished writing this year (Bringing Down the House) was written on commission so I can't submit it to my publisher until after it premieres in March.

It's not that I haven't been writing. I have. In fact, I'm pretty sure I met my goal of writing 90 minutes every day. If there was a day when I knew I wouldn't be able to write (vacations, Christmas), I worked ahead to make sure I averaged 90 minutes per day.

And yes, sometimes that means writing in the back seat of the car while we're driving to our daughter's place in Tucson or a week at the beach in San Diego.

I just think I'm taking more time to write a play. I'm putting extra effort to develop my characters, and polish the dialogue, and make sure that everything flows in a natural way. I guess I like it that way.

In any case, I'm very close to finishing my latest play, a time travel comedy, so I'll soon have two plays in the publishing queue.

And then there's The Real Reason Dinosaurs Went Extinct. I finished that two years ago but it only got accepted for publication this year and won't actually be published until early 2024.

So I'm really excited for the new year. I may have fallen short in the number of new releases this year, but I've got a great head start on 2024.

2) Hit 10K Steps Every Day

Almost. I missed only 25 days over the year and 7 of those came in January when my smartwatch was new and I was still getting used to tracking my steps. By the time December rolled around, I managed to have a perfect month, hitting 10,000 steps every day. And I ended up with an average of 11,405 steps per day for the entire year. Not bad.

My informal goal of hitting 250 steps per hour (out of 10 hours per day) has been a lot harder to achieve. I only had four perfect weeks during the year, but I quickly discovered that this goal is wildly unrealistic and can actually put a damper on your personal relationship (nothing like getting up from a restaurant meal with your wife to squeeze in those extra 100 steps you need before the hour runs out).

 So while it's important to keep walking throughout the day, and has really helped me feel better and have more energy, I don't want to be obsessive about it either.

3) Work with an Online Italian Tutor

Not even close. I just got too busy. It was impossible to a weekly session with a tutor.

Or at least that's what I tell myself. The real reason is I chickened out. I know in my heart that the only way to become truly fluent in a foreign language is to speak it a lot, especially with someone who's native to the language. I just can't get myself over the hump of actually committing to a particular tutor and meeting time.

But I did continue to develop my reading and listening skills by following a boatload of Italian Instagram accounts.

4) Travel to Hawaii

Nope. It was a simple matter of money. I didn't have any.

But my plays are doing really well this year, and it looks like the royalty check I'll be getting in May will cover not only the usual debts I accrue over the previous twelve months and some desperately needed home improvements, but a week-long trip to the islands. (Thank you, Pioneer!)

We're now planning a trip to Oahu in September, when the weather is perfect and the tourists are largely gone. It's going to be kupanaha.

Wrapping up

So I went 0 for 4--not a great year for goal reaching. But it's not all bad. That's because I managed to achieve two goals that I'd failed to achieve in 2022 and which I'd left off my list for this year.

The first was leading a workshop at the Arizona Thespian Festival. I don't know what changed, but after submitting my Hero's Journey workshop for several years and not getting any response, they finally gave me a big thumbs this year. I've reported on my experience elsewhere, but let me just state for the record that it was well worth the wait.

The second was to see more plays. Similar to my experience with the Thespian Festival, I'd applied to be an adjudicator with the ariZoni Theater Awards last year with no response. Well, for whatever reason, I got accepted this yea. So far I've seen five productions, and while I'm not allowed to express my opinions on them here (the ariZonis are much stricter than Colorado's Henry Awards ever were), I can say that the experience has been a blast.

I finally feel like I'm getting plugged in to the local theater scene. And that's what makes this year feel like a huge success instead of a letdown.

Maybe I'm just bad at picking goals?

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