Freedom, Vacation, and Compulsion

Compared to my friends on the tenure track, my deal isn't as sweet, but compared to my friends suffering through the adjunctification of academia, my life is pretty damn good.  So, I finished reading and grading 60 final portfolios two days ago after reading 60 advocacy projects the week before, which means I'm now free until classes start in the fall.  That's to say, I'm fucking free for a few months!

Last summer, I made the colossal mistake of playing it by ear, which got me dropped in a wormhole.  One minute I was playing video games obsessively on my PS4 without a care in the world, spending my free time mindlessly like a rich baron, then my fam came up for a long weekend, then LB's fam came from Chicago, then LB and I went to Scandinavia, and then the next thing I knew, my summer vacay was fucking gone.  Suddenly, I was psychologically preparing myself for another year of teaching, my first paid summer just a tiny dot in my rear-view mirror.  This summer, I vow (strong word, I know, but I mean it) to not let this summer slip by.  Yes, I'll sleep in and enjoy my time off like a profligate Beverly Hills lawyer watering his lawn obsessively but this time I want to find a good compromise between wasting the summer away and scheduling the shit out of it. 

These are my goals for this summer:

1.  Play the second and third Unchartered Remastered Nate Drake games and remember why I was once so obsessed with Indiana Jones as a kid (well, minus the Temple of Doom, that one totally sucked)

2.  Play Final Fantasy X-II in time for the epic release of Final Fantasy XV that was supposed to come out like ten years ago

3.  Finally play Raymond Legends (it's been in my wishlist for years now)

4.  Begin working on my second LP, which will be mostly post-rock instrumental music (piano, strings, and some beats)

5.  Since LB and I will be back in Vienna this summer for a few days, I'd like to study German this summer

6.  Study 日本語

7.  Run three times a week, lift weights twice a week, and possibly (but not realistically) take a spinning class

8.  If a manuscript of mine gets accepted for publication soon inshallah, then revise that for much of the summer first and foremost (still waiting to hear back from a few presses).  Either way, revise my manuscripts and work on my third novel

9.  Submit short stories and lyrical essays to journals

10.  Invest in my wardrobe some more because you know, I don't already have enough excuses to buy shit online (or enough button downs, for that matter)

11.  Meditate regularly

12.  Stop going to be bed at 4 in the morning

13.  Get some new ink on my right arm

14.  Blog more often

15.  Read the complete graphic novel series about the Shōwa period by Shigeru Mizuki

16.  Read 1-2 books by Susan Sontag

17.  Read another novel by Zadie Smith

18.  Read another novel by Salman Rushdie

19.  (Re)-read one "big book" this summer:  the choices are DFW's Infinite Jest, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, Ulysses by James Joyce, or Underworld by Don Delillo.

20.  Finally read Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist

21.  I know this is a stereotypical LA thing to do, but maybe whiten my teeth because I drink so much fucking tea, it's ridiculous

22.  Stop making so many damn lists . . .. 

Going All Out

After a concentrated two weeks where LB and I saw both our families back to back, I'm finally getting back in the groove with my writing, revising, and submissions.  And today I've realized that I'm going all out.

Recently, a bunch of my friends have been getting agents, then two-book contracts, thereby fundamentally changing their literary careers in the span of literally one year.  A boy can only dream . . . Of course, because I'm human, I've been waiting by the phone too for the same phone call, waiting for the same miracle to magically transform my writing career into a solid object, but so far, I've been mostly stood up by publishing industry (literary journals have been much kinder to me).  Agents are happy to tell me how talented I am, but their rejections are always about the fit.  Truthfully, it's hard not to feel bad about yourself, especially when you stroll through the local bookstore and you see straight up shit on the coop.  But I'm an eternal optimist, obviously delusional, and also very stubborn, so I'm not giving up.  Not when I'm so close.

This leads me to the whole point I was making before I digressed earlier.  Now that I'm back in action, I'm going all out, man.  I'm submitting queries for NINJAS to a bunch of new agents soon (I'm still waiting to hear from three agents who are reading full manuscripts, but the longer time passes, the less hopeful I get).  If Kaya rejects AMNESIA (they're taking their sweetass time, by the way), I'll send a query for it to fifty agents the next week.  I just sent out several novella manuscripts to Plougshares and the Massachusetts Review.  I'm also sending one of my best (and fave) short stories to several literary journals.  Lastly, I'm sending my memoir to a few indie presses that I think would be a good fit aesthetically, conceptually, and structurally.  Instead of staggering my submissions as I was forced to do during the school year, I'm now going full force.  And that's not even including a screenplay I'll start revising/continuing this weekend about two bike messengers in DTLA.

And it don't stop . . .