Looking Back, Looking Ahead

December is a time of reflection for me.  Sometimes, going back to see where I have been helps me better understand where I am. I found myself digging back into my writing archives, and rediscovered an old story that has been perpetually on the back burner, not quite forgotten but not getting any attention either – the novel this blog is named after, Life in Sixty-Four Square Feet.

The story follows thirty-five year old Bobby Bocks who embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Coming to terms with the failure to take charge of his own life thus far, he becomes determined to do something memorable. He leaves everything he knows behind to join an expedition to summit Everest, clear in the understanding that this is a dangerous undertaking but also aware that he is dying of an inoperable brain tumor, with less than a year to live.

I found a number of themes laced throughout the story and thought they were timely, considering the upcoming New Year, with new plans and resolutions.

Listed below are some of the quotes from Bobby Bocks that I thought were memorable but not particularly profound. They might read a bit like Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts, but I liked them. Definitely a repetitive theme, here:

  • When you die, you will be put in a box. Don’t live in one, too.
  • The world does not need designer chop sticks.
  • Do not confuse having a career with having a life.
  • You are not the things you own.
  • Live your life like you are dying, because you are.
  • What are you waiting for?
  • Do not be a passive element in your own life.
  • Love someone completely.

Like I said, Jack Handey, but I liked them.

Reflecting on 2012, it’s been a lame year for me from a Writer’s perspective:

  • I drafted Undertaking Hartford and then proceeded to whine about how messy it is.
  • I published the anthology, It Didn’t Happen That Way – Untrue Stories, Vol. 1
  • I had three stories published on external sites.

That’s not much for a whole year. I got sloppy with my own writing habits, sometimes allowing myself the luxury of not writing, just because the words were not immediately there, ready to be recorded. That’s unacceptable, starting now.

Of the quotes above, my theme for 2013 is: What are you waiting for?

I must get sack to the wall and complete Undertaking Hartford, and if dear, patient Kate is still willing, will work with her on Monster Comes next. I’ve also told my son I was writing this one, so I need to knock it out. I want to shop Hartford around and see if an agent thinks it is worth their time.

OK, that is three pretty big things I’m setting as goals for 2013. That’s a start.  Maybe, just maybe, I will get back to Life in Sixty-Four Square Feet and see if the market is warmer on the concept than it was a few years ago.

So tell me, how are your plans for the New Year coming?

No, really.  Tell me.

© 2012, Mitch Lavender


8 thoughts on “Looking Back, Looking Ahead

  1. I really liked your anthology (which reminds me, I must do a review on Amazon) and, hey, you wrote a novel – that’s pretty good going!

    I think ‘what are you waiting for?’ is a great theme to kickstart the new year.

    I have a very sore head today as I was still deep in conversation with my sister and a cousin at 4am round a tableful of wicked wine, so I’ll have a think about your question and come back. I can’t think as far ahead as this evening, never mind 2013.

  2. Mitch,
    Although you feel you haven’t written much this year, I have to tell you, you are an inspiration to me. I talked to Cliff about self-publishing my short stories, just to get the ball rolling and he said, in his careful engineer’s logic, “You can do that. Check out the costs and so on. However. I want you to know I think your self-image issues have re-surfaced and you are afraid someone will not like your submission. That will translate to you that ‘My stuff sucks.’. I’d like to see you take the chance.”

    So, here’s what I want to do. I want to submit some stuff to outside sites.

    I want to edit “Lady Sarah’s Sojourn”. I have feared you guys on Splinters would think it fluff. But know what? I loved it. So, I am going to work on it–after I join Romance Writers of NC. That’s a biggie–because the next step is national.

    You asked.

    And–Jack Handley was funny. Your comments are clever, but so very true. Loved them,

    And I haven’t been near wicked wine. today.

    • Cliff sounds very cool and supportive. Fear of rejection is something you have to get past as a writer. It happens for many reasons, and many times, some of reasons have nothing at all to do with the quality of your writing or story. Publications are on hard times and readership is down all over. I do not envy a publisher.

      And I don’t get why you think your story is fluff and would be reluctant to share on S4A. I’d say nothing gets more transient than zombie stories, and that is exactly what I’m working on. I share pieces of it. As long as I’m out there, there will always be someone doing more fluffy pieces than you. 🙂


  3. First: your comments are deep thoughts, but they aren’t facile nor are they making fun of anyone. I liked them.

    Second: you are an inspiration. You may feel you haven’t written much this year, but you aren’t the Energizer Bunny (Thank God because if you were I’d send a hit squad to Texas). And you have a life with complications and difficulties. I know how this goes because I really haven’t written much.

    Third: here are my plans: 1) join Romance Writers of NC. Stop worrying that Splinters will think my writing facile. Write what I love.
    2) Edit my NaNo book–I loved it and it has the potential to make it in the market that wants trilogies.
    3) Stop listening to the idiot Self-Image Issues. Listen instead to Cliff. Take the chance and believe in my craft. I won a Hemingway’s Rules contest, didn’t I ?
    4) Write everyday–even if it’s the grocery list.

    Thanks, Mr. Lavender.

    • Twana,

      If you’ve found that romance is a genre you love writing in, go for it. It is a legitimate market and has a large, loyal following of readers.

      No, not everyone on S4A will read that sort of story, but that’s OK. Some don’t read my horror genre stuff, and I usually don’t comment on the Haikus and whatnot because that’s not my kind of thing. And that is all OK. Someone will. The Romance writer’s group sounds like it might be a good fit.

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