jason erik lundberg
writerly ramblings

year in review
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I'm not one for year-end wrap-ups much, but I like this meme, nicked from Tim's journal.

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?

Got married. Helped organize a literary festival. Visited the West Coast. Finally wrote a story that proved to myself that I was "getting it."

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I'm not sure I really made any resolutions, other than the usual ones (get in better shape, sell some more fiction, &c.), and I haven't yet thought about them for this year. A later entry, perhaps.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I guess it depends on how you define "close." Elizabeth and Mike Jasper are good friends, and their baby is due any second now (go Drew!). The following three ladies are more of online friends, but still friends, and gave birth this year: Haddayr Copley-Woods, Theodora Goss, and Rachel Heslin. I think that's it.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?

None this year. Hopefully Singapore and/or Hong Kong next year. I did get to go to Wisconsin, New York and Oregon this year, so I at least got out of the state.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

A good idea of where I'll be attending a doctoral program. A professional fiction sale. An iPod.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 13 is probably the biggest one, since it was our wedding. February 14 was also a pretty great day, but only Janet and I know why.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Juggling graduate school, wedding, literary festival, thesis writing and applying to doctoral programs without spontaneously combusting. Along with that is editing Scattered, Covered, Smothered, of which I'm immensely proud.

9. What was your biggest failure?

The only thing I can think of is getting food poisoning in Bali and not getting to meet Janet's extended family, after they went through the trouble of getting together and throwing a party specifically to get to know me. Though I guess this is more a failure of my body than of me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

The aforementioned food poisoning, along with a few really nasty sinus headaches.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My iBook. It has been supremely useful since my VAIO died, and it introduced me to iTunes, which has ruined my wallet forever.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I would have to say Jeff VanderMeer, for all his advice about editing, publishing, and marketing an anthology. He has also been great about making me feel included in the community (he set up my little corner of the Night Shade board), and has never talked down to me as a fairly neophyte writer. Jeff treats me with respect as a writer and a person, even though he could easily and justifiably be aloof and puffed up by his successes. He's been a supreme friend.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

It's hard to narrow this one down, since I'm generally let-down by humanity at this point, but I'd have to say our President and his cronies are at the top of the list.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, tuition (though this is deferred thanks to student loans), and publishing costs.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Janet's arrival in February, the wedding, editing and publishing the food anthology, getting to interview Zoran Zivkovic and Daniel Wallace, visiting my sister in New York, and patronizing a futuristic automated pay-toilet in Harold Square.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?

A Perfect Circle's cover of John Lennon's "Imagine." The same words, but sung and played in a more minor key, much sadder, much more of an indictment against our government.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

A year older. Much happier, now that Janet is here and a permanent presence in my life (long-distance relationships are hard). More successful as a writer. Still in graduate school, but almost finished with the M.A. Confident that I can handle whatever life throws at me.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Exercising. Writing. Reading. Hanging out with friends. Learning Chinese (I really only know one phrase, and how to say "you"). Cooking. Playing with the hamsters.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Getting stressed out over things that I had no control over. Buying books which I now have little to no space for. Putting off assigments until the night before they were due.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

At my parents' house with my wife, my parents, and my sister.

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?

I fall in love with Janet every day. She continues to surprise me and make me so thankful that we found each other.

23. How many one-night stands?

None. I never had any of these before I was married, and certainly won't now that I am married.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Desperate Housewives seems to be the new favorite, followed closely by Boston Legal.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Not really. I guess I hate the same amount of people. :)

26. What was the best book you read?

This is a toughie, since I read a lot of really good books this year. But I think the one that truly opened my eyes to style was You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers. After reading that novel, it finally clicked to me how personal voice can be used in a story. I'd been exposed to plenty of great stylistic fiction in the past, but this was the first book that turned that little key in my brain, that demonstrated how I as a writer could tell a story. It opened my eyes, and it was after this that my style went from good to really interesting, and I think these are the best stories I've written so far.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Not really any big discoveries this year, just more of the same great music I usually listen to. I did discover Tomoyasu Hotei, who did "Battle Without Honor or Humanity," the kick-ass "walking song" in Kill Bill, Vol. 1, though I didn't go nuts over the rest of his music.

28. What did you want and get?

An iBook, and fiction sales to some nice markets.

29. What did you want and not get?

A change in Presidential leadership, an iPod, a professional story sale.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Incredibles, not just as an animated film, but as a film, period. I also liked Hero an awful lot.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29. The night before my birthday, Janet and I went to Tripp's, and I got my usual, chicken cordon bleu, which only they can prepare correctly. On my actual birthday, my parents took us out to The Melting Pot, and we had some delicious fondue.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Winning the NCSU Short-Short Story Contest, though I was surprised and flattered that my submission even made it to the finals. I really had a good year, and am pretty happy with where I am right now, both in my personal and professional lives.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?

Poseur Chic. I suppose. I don't know, what do you think?

34. What kept you sane?

Janet. Hands down.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I find myself not fancying the celebrities much anymore, now that I'm in a stable relationship. Though Aishwarya Rai is certainly pretty easy on the eyes.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The presidential election.

37. Who did you miss?

My sister, Kristin; we went up to visit her at Thanksgiving, and she's been back home a few times, but it never seems like it's enough. A lot of friends who've moved away, Duc and Katie in particular. And everyone I've gotten to meet in person at conventions or short visits (Jeff, Tim, Heather, Jenn, Greg, David, Ben, Mary Anne, Susan, Christopher, Gwenda, Alan, Kristin, Barth, Christopher, &c.) who I immediately miss after I am out of their presence. My Clarion pals.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Daniel Wallace. I contacted him as a guest for the NC Lit Festival, and jumped at the chance to be the liason for his speaking event. He signed books before the event, and I got to talk to him for a bit, and asked if he wouldn't mind being interviewed sometime. This led to the Strange Horizons interview, where I learned the major publishers weren't stepping over each other to publish a collection of his short fiction. Based on this information, I offered to publish a four-story chapbook, and he thought this would be cool. It will hopefully be coming out in late January, called Off the Map, so stay tuned to the Two Cranes Press website for the most current info.

Daniel has been an absolute pleasure to talk to and deal with. He is extremely personable and funny in person, and his enthusiasm is infectious.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:

Not sure I really learned anything valuable in life that I didn't know already. But there are things I keep in the back of my mind: treat others well, allow for time to relax, be observant of the world, show patience, stay current on world affairs, always push myself in creativity and production. Avoid complacency. Say "I love you" every day.

Now Reading:
The Whirligig no. 9

Stories Out to Publishers:

Books Read This Year:

Zines/Graphic Novels/Fiction Mags Read This Year:

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