My Year in Art – 2014

I’ve started writing this retrospective each year to disabuse myself of the notion that I didn’t get shit done each year. It helps.



Goals from last year:

1.            Finish writing the first draft of third book in the Arcane Underworld series. Done! And several people who are not prone to blowing smoke up my ass have independently told me it’s far and away the best of the series so far. Hell yeah!

2.            Finish writing the first draft of Working Title: A Quiet Place. No joy. I made 20,000 words of progress here and got a complete, detailed outline built, but I didn’t finish the draft. Part of the problem there is lack of focus—I wrote 10,000 words of something else entirely, for example. Another part of the problem is I got my ass kicked in the time management department this year due to factors I’m gonna say were out of my control to an 80% degree. The third part of the problem is that this book is going to be fiendishly hard to write, if I want to do it correctly, and probably above my current skill level. Gotta keep working that, and it’ll hopefully get there. Bummed I didn’t get this done, but I feel good about getting it done in 2015.

3.            Finish recording Working Title: D&J Laboratories Volume 1. Done! This was a long slog, but I learned a ton about recording in the process, and I’m really happy with what we’ve done. Did not get it mixed yet—we’re 4 songs in. Barring a catastrophe, this thing should release in 2015.

4.            Work up my solo act: Total failure. Well, not total. After a ton of fucking about, I at least have a framework for it now. But I kinda blew it this year in terms of completion. I spent another little while on a hare-brained chase for drummers and a rock band again, and that was a failure. I need to just let that go. I shine in a rock band context, but I can’t hold one together.

5.            Record spoken word album with Dad. Failure. This one’s Dad’s fault. We did play with some ideas and make some progress on how we want this to go—we just didn’t make a whole lot of progress in making it go that way.

6.            Decide to mix WWTWE or abandon it. Success! I’m abandoning this godawful thing.

7.            Work on my drumming. Success! I can’t play a song well enough to record credibly yet, but my groove is getting tighter and tighter, and I can now regularly play in a way that recognizably sounded like music, if not great music.



New goals that cropped up in 2014 for 2014:

1.            Record instrumental album. Failure. I got a bunch of material written and threw half of it out for being terrible. The other half is good, though, and I need to figure out what to do with it.

2.            Clean up my guitar chops. Success (ongoing)! In the process of recording, I noticed several technical guitar-playing things that had either rusted up or had never fully developed. I bought a metronome and put it on the living room table, and I’ve been cleaning up my technique a little every morning. This has already come a long way, and it’s getting better all the time.



2015 goals:

1.            Turn in edits for SPLINTERED and, hopefully, GOMORRAH.

2.            Finish writing first draft of Working Title: A Quiet Place.

3.            Finish writing first draft of Working Title: AVS. Or perhaps Working Title: Haverty. One or the other. Both would be a goddamn miracle, so let’s try to keep this in perspective.

4.            Finish mixing D&J Laboratories Volume 1 and release it.

5.            Record album of old tunes I have lying around.

6.            Keep working drums. Ideally, I’d like to be able to play drums on the album of old tunes, but I think that’s asking a lot.

7.            Finish writing instrumental album.

8.            Keep working guitar chops.

9.            Play one solo show.

10.          Record at least three spoken word/soundscape things with Dad, well enough to release if we choose.