I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I have enough opportunities to flagellate myself year-round without the added pressure of being aware I haven’t lost twenty pounds in two weeks, am more likely to be killed by a terrorist shooting lightning bolts out of his fingers than I am to get married,* and my chances for winning an Edgar Award are slim to none. In addition, in our gotta-have-it-now society, it’s easy to think if you don’t succeed in the first month, you might as well give up for the whole year. A few years back, I decided it was better to set goals than to make resolutions, and ‘they’ say it’s actually better to set concrete goals with discrete steps than to just say, “I want to lose a hundred pounds”, but it still didn’t spur me to actually meet the goals on my list. The last week or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about missed opportunities this year, and I’ve decided to revisit the idea of setting goals for next year. Some of them are concrete, such as losing weight (or inches in my case) and publishing a novel, but others are more nebulous like setting better boundaries and not being so hard on myself.
I’ve been reading some of my unfinished (and finished but not completely edited) novels, and they’re pretty good. They’re unique just by the dint of the protagonists being Taiwanese American bisexual women** like me. Toni Morrison said:
If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.
This is why I started writing prose in the first place, and I resent anyone who tells me that my writing is too niche or that I shouldn’t always write about Taiwanese American bisexual women.
But I digress. My point is that my novels have some value just because my protagonists are not ones you see every day or at all, really. Beyond that, my writing is solid. I write mostly mysteries, and I have a good sense of pacing and characterization. My dialogue is pretty spot on, and I’m really good at planting false, but believable clues. I’m weak on description–I hate scenery with a passion, and I sometimes bog down my writing with too much minutia. Still. I find I can breeze through one of my mysteries and still be engrossed in it. I’ve also notice that I’ve been writing different versions of essentially the same story for several novels. I’m currently working on two different trilogies–I like trilogies for some reason–and I’m trying to decide which one is better. Also, more palatable for a wider audience.
When I write a trilogy, I usually have some idea of the second and maybe the third as I near the end of the first, which is good because I can then go back through the first novel and plant seeds for the second and third. When I write a novel, I have the general outline in my head before I even start writing. Mostly. Usually. I don’t outline on paper because I find it to be a waste of my time. If I’m going to write something down, it’s going to be the actual novel. I usually know who the killer is from the very start, though I have changed the villain in a novel once or twice while writing it. Lately, I’ve been toying with the idea of having a different protagonist for each novel in the trilogy, and in an earlier trilogy, I was going to kill off the protagonist of the second novel.
That’s verboten, by the way. Killing off the protagonist of a mystery novel. Then again, when I first started writing mysteries, I took a class at The Loft given by a famous local mystery writer who taught us the how-tos of writing a good mystery novel. She had us bring in a scene or two from our own novel, and two things she said about my writing have stuck with me. One, that it was noir. I know my writing is dark, but I wouldn’t call it noir. Mostly because I think of noir as things writing in the fifties, portrayed in black and white on the teevee machine or in the movies. Two, I had several scenes in which the main protagonist of the story (I wrote it in first person) was not present. She said I couldn’t do that. I didn’t say anything, but I privately disagreed. A few years after the class, it became common practice to do this, and I felt vindicated after the fact.
Anyway, I’m still toying with the idea of writing a series in which the protagonist is killed at some point.I remember reading that Ed McBain of the famed 87th Precinct series wrote the first book and killed off the protagonist, Detective Carella, in the first draft. His publisher balked and said he couldn’t do that, so McBain rewrote it so that he was shot, but not killed. McBain did it in part because cops get killed in the line of fire, and he wanted to make sure people understood that, but also because he didn’t intend to have only one protagonist throughout the series. In the interview I read, he said his publisher had been right, but how cool would that have been? Pretty damn cool, says I. I started a trilogy with two different protagonists for the first two books, and I was planning to kill off the second protagonist, but I never finished the second book (or, obviously, the trilogy). With the two trilogies I’m working on now, I see that as a possibility in one, but not in the other. Anyway, I will be finishing one if not both of the trilogies. Rough drafts for all the novels, and publishing-ready for one. I want to finish the first trilogy, rough drafts only, by the end of April.
Next up, I have an anthology of short stories which I’ve set in a dystopian America which has made abortion illegal. I started it for what should be pretty obvious reasons–we’re heading in that direction. Abortion is already de facto banned in many states by the plethora of anti-choice laws that have been passed, and it’s difficult in most states to get what is a fucking legal procedure because of the power of the anti-choice bloc. I started writing the story because I was discouraged from blogging about all the anti-choice bullshit laws and felt I could release my rage in a creative way. I stopped because…I’m not entirely sure. Anyway, I was reading a few of the stories, and they’re still good–and relevant. I need to write a few more, and then I need to edit the whole collection. Then, I need to figure out if I want to self-publish or try to interest an actual publisher in publishing the anthology. I want to finish writing all the stories by the end of February.
Three, I want to lose ten inches. Not pounds as I can’t get trapped in that mentality again, but inches. For whatever reason, i don’t get as obsessive about the measuring tape as I do about the scale. I can measure my boobs, waist, and hips once a week and not be tempted to cheat and do it more often or get too bummed out if the numbers don’t go down. Then again, full disclosure, last time I dieted and used the tape measure, the number usually went down and only plateaued for a week at a time. I’m not going to count calories or ban certain foods or set an exercise regime because as I’ve written before, that way is sadness and misery. I’ve cut out chips and baked goods from my diet. Not banned, but just decided I didn’t want to eat them any more. I recently bought some cookies for Christmas, but once they’re gone, I won’t be buying any more. I’m trying to eat less meat than I have been lately,*** and I’m adding fruits and veggies back into my diet. I am doing some form practice at home, be it Solo Form or Saber Form (so far), along with a few stretches, and I will soon be adding the taiji weight set to the mix.
I want to get laid. It’s been a while, and sex is very important to me. I’m a much happier person when I’m getting sex on a regular basis, and my emotions are more stable. The problem is that I don’t exactly want a relationship in the conventional sense. I don’t want to live with someone romantically, and I never ever ever want to get married. Ideally, I’d be able to find someone(s) who’ll want to watch games with me, maybe go out to dinner once in a while, fuck, and then go home. I know that I have to be more proactive because I’m not going to meet people while sitting on my couch. Correction, I could, but I’d have to join an online dating site in order for that to happen. I’ve had bad experiences with online dating–not in meeting horrible people, but in the casual racism/sexism I run into. If I’m looking for a dude, the fact that I’m an Asian woman triggers all the fetishizers. The last time I tried online dating, I got, “I loooooove Oriental gals” even though I specified that I was not interest in fetishizers. I got dick pics a plenty as well, even though I also specified I didn’t want those. The problem is, I can’t fuck someone I think is stupid, ignorant, or mean. I was once going to have sex with the most beautiful man I’ve ever met in my life, I mean FOINE, and he started talking baby-talk to his boyfriend.**** The more he did it, the less interested in him I became. Fortunately, he quit before I decided to bail on the encounter, but it’s always been a problem with me.
It’s also a problem that I’d rather just be alone than deal with small talk or inane social interactions. When I used to date, I hated it. I hated dressing up and making awkward attempts to find out about another person. “My favorite color is black. What’s yours?” I really liked it when we reached the sweatpants stage of the relationship, which, to be honest, was about two dates in for me. In addition, I’ve had very few sex partners who’ve been able to keep up with me, so it’s always a disappointment. I’m very frank about my libido–I could have sex every day and still want to masturbate afterwards. I tell that to perspective partners, and they’re always like, “Oh, yeah, me, too.” But, they rarely match their actions to their words, and I gradually figured out why. Most dudes are used to women who don’t want sex as much as they do, so they (the dudes) mistakenly think that they want sex A LOT even if it’s two to three times a week. When I tell them that I want sex every day, they don’t believe me, and then they’re intimidated when it actually turns out to be true. Ironically, the one woman I was seriously fucking was one of my few partners who had a libido as high as mine. I know it’s a small sample size, but I’ve heard from other female friends that they also have a higher libido than their male partners, so it’s not like I’m completely alone.
I know that Alan Rickman is not going to just fall into my lap (oh, how I wish!) and that I have to actively seek out a sex partner, but I’m not sure what is the best way to do that. Like I said, online dating is not my cuppa, but I’m also not one to actually leave my home when I don’t have to. I’m seriously perturbed that there isn’t delivery sex the way there is delivery pizza. I should be able to call 1-800-PAID-SEX and have a young, hot, nubile young thing delivered right to my doorstep, replete with pepperoni and sausage. Can I get a what-what??
OK, those are the concrete ones that I can think of off the top of my head. I’ll hit the mental issues in my next post.
**I take issue when people sneer at minorities writing from their perspectives. It’s called niche and we’re told to get out of our skins, but white people, especially men, do it all the damn time, and they’re lauded for presenting the universal experience. Write what you know is a truism, and what I know is being a bisexual Taiwanese American woman.
***Practicing the Two-Person Form in taiji makes me want to eat meat all the time.
****Ah, youth. I remember those crazy days.