2014 Goals

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In many ways, I feel like this year has gone by so fast. For the most part, it’s probably because I’m really enjoying my life and time flies when you’re having fun. I looked at the goals I set for myself this past year and I didn’t do all that bad. Some, of course, I didn’t even come close to accomplish and others I nailed.

So the disclaimer in all this is that I do not do New Year’s Resolutions. I set goals so that I can feel a little bit more accomplished by the end of the next year. I only completed 60% of my goals from last year but I suppose that is better then zero. I will try to do better for 2014. I will set ten personal goals and move from there.

The absolute number one goal for next year is get this novel published. I can’t stress that enough. I have put a lot of work into this book and I’m looking forward to this process being over. There are so many things that will go into this (like designing the cover, getting an ISBN, and getting an editor) and I’m ready for it. The one thing that I cannot let interfere with this process is fear. Trust me, I have a lot of it but I’m pushing through it.

Despite all my novel writing, the change in websites, and the multiple Huffington Post entries, I still think I do not blog enough. I have so many unfinished blogs that it is not even funny. Lately, I have gotten either easily distracted or have been too damn busy. My former life in Central NY was not like this. I just need to blog more.

Writing is one thing but reading more is also another goal of mine. For some reason I fell off with this and I need to get back on my reading habit. I really felt it after seeing Zadie Smith talk at Barnard College a few months back and than it was solidified after seeing Junot Diaz speak with Toni Morrison. Now that I have an upgraded Nook, I will be taking reading more seriously. I think I will try to read about 14 books next year.

I ‘m also getting old. I turn 40 in June and I have no idea what I’m doing. I would like to do something awesome for my birthday but I just can’t fathom what that would be. Perhaps a huge celebration? Who knows? What I do know is that I need to continue to exercise. I fell off that wagon too. I have always said that a 5k is in my future and I think in my 40th year, I should just do it.

This past fall, I started going to church again. Much of that had to do with trying to be the god father to my niece, Maya. I found myself getting up early on Sunday and going to mass and it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, once Maya got baptized, I stopped going so I think it would be a good idea to start going again. Maybe not every Sunday but maybe twice a month.

The reason for wanting to go back is that I did feel at peace when I was in church. This was more about my own faith with God rather than the church itself. It has also made me think about volunteering and donating more to the neighborhood or just in general. Of course donating is always a little hard but as I continue my debt reduction things will get easier. I’m just happy that I paid off my car this month.

I have been in NYC for almost a year in a half now and I’ve returned to my old ways as a New Yorker, which means that I don’t visit other things unless food is involved. I feel like I need to explore NYC more. I was in the Williamsburg section Brooklyn a few weeks ago and it surprised me how nice certain parts of BK can be (yes, that is the Bronx in me talking). I also went to the Linkedin office a few weeks ago and they are in the Empire State Building which made me realize that that was the first time I’ve ever been in there. Yeah. I have to do better. lol

Finally, I need to visit my dad. I have not been to Florida in years and I need to go back. It just so happens that I will be heading to a conference in Orlando in April. Plans are not finalized but I look forward to the confernce that will turn into a family vacation. Disney is calling my girlfriend’s name.

I hope you all have some goals to set. Once you set goals then you are ready to achieve them. The picture above is from the article Life: Why Should You Set Goals for 2014? Read it. Happy Goal-Setting!

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Every Word is a Revolution

20131217-120900.jpgEvery word is a revolution. When someone asks me what my take away was from watching Junot Díaz talk with Toni Morrison last week, that last line is the best way to summarize it. There are few times in life when you realize you are in the presence of greatness. I have had this privilege a few times by simply being in the room with great literary minds. Yet, nothing really prepared me for this particular discussion at the New York Library.

I’m not going to go into an expansive breakdown of this discussion because I will not do it justice (which is why I just attached the link below), but rather, it is best for me to be reflective on how this event should reshape the life of writers. What is interesting to me is how unapologetic words from these two authors can be. I feel like I’m someone who says sorry too much so when I read their words and hear them speak, it’s like a tiny revolution. The reality is that I want to write my fiction with no apologies. It should be harsh at times and hard hitting. Yet, there is a serious fear factor in all of this. There is a little person on my shoulder telling me that I am not good enough.

As I sat there and watched these two legends speak, I began to wonder if there were feelings of doubt that snuck into their thought process. I do recognize their humanity but the aura around them glowed with divinity at least in the realm of the written word. Toni Morrison was that author that Professor Mays at Syracuse University championed. I took a class solely on her and it took me way too long to realize how great she really she. Song of Solomon is one of those books everyone needs to read. So seeing and hearing her talk about books I’ve read a long time ago along with her thought process was indeed axis shifting. Yet, that confidence she has makes me believe that whatever fear she may have had was put back into her work. I plan on reading her works again. Now that I’m older I think her words will mean even more to me now then they did then.

The same goes for Junot Díaz. He writes like he talks and it’s truly amazing. He has changed the game for me. I became used to reading narratives where the voice is so very formal and even if the protagonist curses… it’s still formal. But when this man stood up in front of a large audience in Syracuse a few years ago and read one of the dirtiest passages in The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I knew this man gave zero fucks about what people thought about him and his work. That is an inner peace that he has with his work and the central place that I want to get to.

That is why every word is a Revolution. This goes far beyond just writing something that I consider to be special. It is more about reaching a point where I have a connection to a audience that is beyond the norm.

Inside My Head

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So many things going on in my head. I feel almost overwhelmed with creative energy over the last several weeks. I am not sure where exactly it is coming from but it makes me think a lot about where I want to be and where I do not want to be. I have been in a place where I can be the best of me and I have been in a place of pure complacency. Yet, there is a feeling that is driving me and I will try very hard to go with it.

Let me just say that this is my second attempt to write this post considering that I lost the first blog after I had written the entire thing. So I am a little sad that all that this will not be the same thing I wrote a few days ago…

Perhaps it is New York City. I think about the those athletes who are either free agents or traded from one team to another and they have incredible success. They light the place up because the change of scenery was good for them and their competitive juices. I am starting to feel the same way because this is such a fast paced city. You need to be doing something or you are really doing nothing.

I think the move to a new apartment may be considered. A brand new space with a brand new beginning. I think there is so much potential that it gets me excited for what could happen next, not only in my personal life but in my creative life as well. Just living in a buzzing neighborhood is enough to know that being complacent is not an option.

Maybe it is the goals that I accomplished in the past that has made me hungry for more. There is something about doing what you would you said you would do that just feels good. It gives me a sense of purpose to really believe that I can do anything I put my mind to. It may also be moving blog sites too. I haven’t written this often it quite some time.

It could always be Junot Diaz. I know that may sounds a little weird but after reading his last book, This Is How You Lose Her, it gave me the sense that I can do what I want to do. His writing speaks to me on many levels. I am not merely talking about the subject matter but rather the way he says the things that he does. There are the little nuggets of information in his books that makes me realize exactly what his intentions are. Then there are the things he doesn’t say with his writings that just as profound. I feel that I have a vagueness in my style and I hope to cultivate it even further.

The problem with all of this is that while I have started writing (8 chapters of a book if I may be precise), all the rest of it are inside my head. That is kind of funny when I think about it. Inside My Head being the title of my former blog. I named it that because I felt the words to my existence were trapped within my brain and I just need to get all the thoughts and emotions out. Now the only thing I have left is the creative side that I need to pull out.

Yet, as always, there is the fear that motivates me as well as holds me back. I am motivated by it because I do not want that complacency that I felt in Syracuse to come back. I have always told people that that Syracuse has a way of sinking it’s claws into you and not letting you move. I felt that it took me way too long to move on from that city, Yet, I am held back by fear because quite frankly, new things and potential success can become frightening prospects when you consider that failure can and will be involved. However, there is only so much I will allow fear to hold me up. It may delay things but I have seen that overcoming fear is not as hard as one would think.

Is Monogamy Dead?

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It has been a long time since I have written anything about relationships. Most of my entries have been when I was single and newly divorced. So when my woman and I were talking about how monogamy seems to be something in the past, I knew that was my opportunity to really write about something about men and woman as I once used to.

I have been in a book club for about 2 years now, maybe a little longer, and we have read many things. Last month the choice was This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. I’m not quite done with it yet (I know…it was LAST month’s book), but there are some major themes here about relationships. Clearly the title gives a hint about what this book will be about and I will try not to talk too much about the contents of the book so that you can read it for yourself.

One question that may pop into your mind when reading this book may be, “Is Monogamy dead?” The book is a series of short stories that are about the different ways a man can fuck up his relationships. One can go deeper and say these are different ways a Dominican man has fucked up this relationships. Which ever case it may be, it leads to serious thoughts about the thought process of a man and how he perceives the women he loves and the women he cheats with.

As I read the book, I do not view myself in any of these scenarios. Another words, I personally do not believe that this is a representation of every man. I do, however, think that it describes many guys and how they think about love and life. What we see here is that the man in the stories often loves the woman he is in a relationship with but still chooses to go and cheat anyway (knowing that it is wrong). Some reasons for this are stated and others are ambiguous to suggest that some times men do not even understand the things they do.

Thinking about real life outside the context of this book, we are subjected to constant stories about divorce. Normally, it is on the Hollywood scene where marriages seem to last less than 2 years, but realistically, divorce has always been on the rise. What is the reason for this? Is it that monogamy is slowly become a thing of the past? Clearly I cannot answer these questions because I truly do not know. However, I do feel that the world is a lot less smaller than it once was. I also think that women are more empowered to make critical decisions about their life and their mates.

This is not say that Feminism has killed marriage. Nor is it to say that it is always the man that is fucking up the relationship (although we do not do ourselves any favors). I think we have more choices than people did 100 years ago. Strictly speaking, I am referring to life within the United States and I can tell you that this country is all about about choices. Women are career oriented with goals that include being as successful as possible. Their grandmothers never had that ability. Many times we look at the elderly who have been married for like 50-70 years and we are all wonder how in the world did they do that. Many people say it is true love. I think it might be true tolerance.

The older generations didn’t believe in divorce as much. I am quite sure there were a number of indiscretions that men have had in which his wife just dealt with it. That is not the case any more. Women can choose not to deal with it and find another mate. The reality is that monogamy is billed in the country as something we need to attain and retain because family values are part of the American Dream. Think about that for a minute. Most people are looking to get married, get a house (or condo), have 1.5 kids, and a pet. Nothing at all prepares us for divorce.

With that being said, my own divorce was something that I take much responsibility for. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in monogamy, it was that I was too immature to really embrace it. This is what really lies within the center of man. There was never a point where I told myself that I would have to deal with being with the same women all my life. I never freaked out about that. However, for some reason, I always knew that I would eventually get a divorce. I was just lying to myself about it. I always had a feeling there would be a wife number 2. Perhaps that was my experience with the rampant divorce in my family, or maybe it was something deeper.

Does this mean that monogamy is dead. I don’t think so. I can go on Facebook right now and point out at least 15 -20 couples who seem genuinely happy. Those people who have been either married longer than I was or perhaps seem more together than I ever was. I think that monogamy is still there, we just tend to focus on the divorces and the break ups. Yes, men are assholes but that has to do with our own issues that women can’t really fix until men are ready to be fixed.