Small Realities

Inside the mind of Lance Schonberg

Ending 2010, Beginning 2011

So if 2010 was the Year of Creation, what will 2011 be?

Yes, I haven’t finished everything that was on the list and it’s become known as the Year-and-a-half-or-so of Creation (16 official Acts complete and 11 more in various stages).  2010 has been a difficult year in some ways, filled with delays and false starts (here’s hoping for better in 2011).  I will get to everything on the list eventually, and I’ll throw up a progress report now and then until everything’s done.  It’ll all still happen, just not as quickly as I’d originally planned.

But how am I going to stretch myself in 2011?

I’m not going to stop writing, though we’ve already established that it’s not going to be a hugely productive writing year since I’ve got a family, a full time job that pays the bills, and a part-time job as an editor that needs more time than I’ve been able to give it over the Christmas season.  So I will be writing, just not as much as I’d like.  That said, and many writers among you may be startled to learn this, there is more to life than writing.  That was part of the original impetus behind the Year of Creation, pushing the creative boundaries beyond the written word.

But there’s even more to be found in the world than creation, more than creative projects.  There is certainly creation, but there’s also learning, experience, adventure, pushing your limits, and a host of other things that make up love and life.

I’m a firm believer in the holy trinity of self:  mind, body, and spirit.  Sometimes it takes more than one activity to satisfy all three and variety, as the cliché goes, is the spice of life.

2011 will be the Renaissance Year.  It’s time to broaden my horizons, to do more than just sit in front of a computer and type (though there will be quite a lot of this), to begin digesting the world.

What have a got planned?  Far too much, probably, but that’s okay.  There’s another cliché that runs something like, ‘One’s reach should always exceed one’s grasp.’

Language:  I speak English reasonably well, but my grasp of language beyond my native tongue is a bit sad, really.  I’ve always said that I’d love to be multilingual, but somehow I could never be bothered to put in the effort.  I do speak a little French and understand a little more.  And since I do live in a bilingual country, it’s time to push that out to where I can do more than just pick up the gist of a news report on Radio Canada.

More Language:  I’ve also decided to try to add the basics of both Danish and Japanese to my brain.  Very basics, probably.  Danish as it’s the language my father spoke as a child and Japanese because I’ve been interested in it for a long time and karate (more on that in a couple of paragraphs) has brought that interest back up to the front of my mind again.  I don’t fool myself that I’ll ever be fluent in either, but I’d like to visit both countries someday and it might be nice not to have to act the complete tourist.

Music:  as a kid, I played saxophone in the school band.  Every couple of years, I think about it hard enough to start pricing instruments in catalogues or on E-bay.  I’m going to buy one this year and try to remember where my fingers go.  Youtube will help.  The goal: to be able to play the saxophone part of “Maneater”.  Sing along.  You know you want to.

Karate:  in April, I began taking karate classes with my son.  My oldest daughter later joined in and my wife starting coming with us recently, too.  Karate has rapidly become an important part of my life.  I’m not going to set a belt colour as a goal or anything like that – I’ll grade when I’m ready and pass or fail based on what I’ve learned at that point – but I’m adding a new blog to my writing rotation:  Walking a Martial Path, Journey to Shodan (because I have decided I do want a black belt) will not be a training log, but a series of bi-weekly mini-essays (probably in the 250-750 word range) covering a large range of my thoughts and ideas related to karate and my study of it.

Running:  I have a confession.  I used to be a runner.  I’ve run a half-marathon and several full marathons, but they’re all a few years in the past.  My interest has waxed and waned over the years and I’m currently pretty far from marathon shape.  With everything else going on, there’s no way I’m going to get back to that level of running fitness this year.  A half-marathon very late in the year might fit the bill for a long term goal, but we’ll see.  Really, I’d be happy to be running 5k a couple of times per week again.

Triathlon:  I’ve said several times that I want to run an Iron Man Triathlon some day.  That’s a huge goal, but maybe a summer sprint distance triathlon (on the order of 750 m swim, 20 km bike ride, 5 km run) is a good step along the way and there are several convenient to where I live.  My swimming may need some work, though.

Science:  I miss science class.  That’s silly, isn’t it?  It sounds even sillier to say that I want to contribute to the sum of human knowledge, but there’s the concept of Citizen Science that lets the non-professional scientists among us do just that.  I’m going to choose 3 short-term and 2 long-term Citizen Science projects to participate in for 2011, though it’s possible one of them might be of my own devising.

Philosophy:  I’ve had some philosophical ideas on the nature of human perception of the universe rolling around in my head for a few years now.  It’s time to get some of them out into the keyboard.  There will be at least three essays of as yet undetermined length.

History:  I’ve been slowly building my family tree for the last fifteen years or so, beginning with my grandparents and working outward from there.  Along the way, I’ve learned small chunks of the regular variety of history and some of these things have been really interesting, enough that I’ve done additional reading on my own and then branched out to periods in human history that I’ll never find relatives in (my current fascination of Ancient Greece, for example).  Three essays, no idea how long or what the subjects will be at this point.

Writing:  Fiction writing will, of course, continue.  My plan for 2011 includes working on whatever of the YoC stories remain, putting them together into a collection of semi-related-by-a-vague-theme short stories, and a novel.  NaNoWriMo again?  Probably not this year, but you never know.

Self-Publishing: the wildly popular drabble-serial “Thorvald’s Wyrd” will become an e-book, a 10-12 episode podcast, and possibly an actual print book via Createspace.  Other stuff may be pending.  We’ll see how it goes.

To be honest, I’m cheating a bit.  I’ve already started the language lessons, via podcasts and audio files in the car.  Actually, that’s the same way I’m getting my Greek History fixes right now.

And, of course, I’ll try to carry the kids along for as many parts of the ride as they’re willing to bear.



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