Why I Stopped Reading George R. R. Martin

This is not a post about how George R. R. Martin is a bad writer, or his books are lousy. Nor am I here to trash people who love George R. R. Martin and say they have no taste.

This is a post about how, if you don’t want to invest the amount of time required to enjoy his books, or the investment required does not justify the reward for you: it’s okay.

Now, before you go and say I didn’t give it a proper chance – I got to the end of book two. I think I probably read more material written by GRRM than some authors ever publish. I really wanted to like it, and to an extent I did (though, IMHO, he doesn’t write female characters as well as some people think he does). It’s really not the content that bothers me, and I did appreciate his skill in constructing a climax to a scene. I *can* see why he is well loved. And if you’re one of those readers who love him, all the power to you, go enjoy. (What, you’ve read book five and there’s no more? Well, uh, sorry, I got nothing for ya.)

It’s not even because I read it at a time when I was a tad disillusioned with epic fantasy. I read other epic fantasy before and after, and enjoyed that.

My husband has read the first four books, and he’ll go on about how much he enjoyed them. He convince me to start reading them. He has the fifth book in his possession, and has not finished it. He’s tried several times to get into it, and just can’t. He says he got to the part where (yet another) new point of view character is introduced, and he couldn’t get past that point.

What it is, is a severe inefficiency of prose. The only reason I got through book one is because multiple people told me “You have to give it at least to page 100, and then it gets good.” Okay, I gave it to page 100. It actually starts to get good at, I believe, page 81, but that’s neither here nor there. And then I thought, “Okay, we’re getting into the swing of things now, right?”

Nope. Every scene takes forever to get going. It’s like he’s starting things from scratch every time. There’s *so* much buildup.

Speaking of buildup: Arya. She learns sword fighting in book 1. Somewhere in book 2 she gets her sword taken away, and hasn’t got it back yet. Then she’s got another plot line starting with this magician, implying she’s going in a different direction than the sword fighting thing. But it all feels like up to where I left off everything to do with her has been setup. The problem is the whole I-made-it-to-the-end-of-book-2-and-we’re-still-in-setup-mode.

Which results in me losing faith in the author. And I know people are going to run up to me screaming, “Oh, but later she ______!” Only, again, I got to the end of book two. I’ve given it a fair shot, and it’s failed to convince me that this character’s plot line is going to progress at a satisfactory rate. I’ve given up. I no longer care.

Then those people will say, “But…but…You’re going to miss out on all the awesome events that happen later! It gets even better in book three! You stopped at the wrong spot! Sansa gets less pathetically annoying!”

And to that I say, “I’ll watch the TV show.”

See, since I did get as far as book 2, I know exactly how true to the books they were in the first two seasons. And the parts they changed were changed for reasons that made sense to me from a storytelling perspective. They’re true to the characters and the spirit, and any changes to the plot are minor adjustments to make the telling more efficient (see that word? *efficient*) or in some cases to add interest to sections that were not as exciting in the books, like the dragons being kidnapped, or something that was implied, but there were not POV characters to tell the tale, like Renly and the Knight of Flowers hooking up. They’re taking all the awesome stuff and condensing it so that it’s a steady stream of awesome, instead of a dragging scene, dragging on, dragging you along because you know when you get to the end, *something* will happen, and you’re waiting for that little bit of payoff at the end of the scene. I think Daenerys is a psychopath, just like the rest of her family, and people just haven’t realized it yet because she’s doing nice things for brown people. I’m waiting for her to go off the deep end.

And like I said, I was enjoying it. Tyrion is awesome. Tyrion and Bronn are golden. I liked Arya. It’s just, I wasn’t enjoying it enough to keep investing the amount of time it took to get to the good parts. YMMV.

It’s just that I know there are books out there that I will enjoy more thoroughly than that. Even within epic fantasy. You don’t have to resign yourself to slogging through a book to enjoy epic fantasy. It’s like eating ten bowls of chicken noodle soup with one tiny piece of chicken in it, versus a one bowl with lots of chicken.

And saying that is not saying that GRRM is a bad writer. He’s obviously a good one, to have managed the success he has. There’s lots of people for whom this is just their cup of tea, and to them, all the power to you – enjoy. And I applaud GGRM for his success. My criticisms are as a reader, not as a writer. It’s personal taste. Chacun son gout.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say. Lets see how many page hits I get for dissing the Martin.

Flying Different Aeroplanes

I haven’t flown that many of different aeroplanes – comparatively – so far, but I’ve flown a few. After doing my first 75 hours just in a cessna 152, it’s been fun to get used to different ones.

The first one I transitioned to was the Cessna 172 – the 152’s big brother. Just a bit bigger, and almost the same in every way. Goes a tiny bit faster, and floats more over the runway when flaring, so my landings tended to be a bit long at first, but it’s gotten better. It was a bit strange to be in control of a bigger plane – kind of like hopping from a car into a van.

Then they introduced me to the other 172 with the fuel injection engine. Starting it is a bit different, but if you follow the checklist, it’s not hard. I’ve done both cold and warm starts on it now, and have no trouble. For some reason the controls on that one react a bit more smoothly than the other 172’s I’ve flown, and it’s my favourite 172 to fly.

And then there’s the Citabria – the taildragger. I love that one. My instructor does too, and when I couldn’t figure out what it was about it that made me love it, I asked her why she did. She fumbled for right words, and I said never mind, I know exactly what you mean. It’s more responsive than a 152 – makes the 152 seem dopey.  It doesn’t have a lot of the things that make the 152 a very forgiving plane for students training, but that makes it more maneuverable and quicker to punish a pilot for poor technique.

And most recently, I’ve got to fly a Cessna 150. It’s more responsive than the 152, more like the Citabria in the air, but still has a good degree of forgiveness with landing, being tricycle geared. This venerable old lady is venerable. This plane is older than my Dad. Sensitive about the carburetor, likes lots of carb heat. Prone to engine failures on takeoff if carb heat is shut off too early. Yay. But it’s been good to learn that. A lot of people would likely brush it off as a lousy plane, or broken and needs fixing, but it’s perfectly fine as long as you know what the plane needs. She just needs love and attention. And lots of carb heat.

Those, and one day Jill let me do a couple of touch and goes on her Land Africa on skis. The skis make taxiing interesting – no brakes, and the turn radius is a *tad* wider. But as far as takeoffs and landings, the thing is like riding a horse. When I first saw it, I saw the slats on the front of the wings and said “That must lower your stall speed.” And Jill said oh yeah, it does. It’s stall speed is so slow that when you land it just kind of plunks down. And on take-off, Jill just yanks the stick back at a speed that, in a 152, all you’d get would be a tail strike. But the Land Africa, she just leaps off the runway like she’s trying to jump over something.

Planes aren’t like cars – you might legally be able to hop into any single engine piston aircraft below a certain weight, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Going from a tricycle gear aircraft to a conventional gear aircraft is at least as challenging as learning to drive standard, likely more. And they may be standardizing a lot of things in aircraft now, but there are so many old aircraft out there, you have to be able to adapt to new things. A lot of private pilots will be at a school that only has one or two planes, so they get used to those ones, and seldom fly anything else, never having to adapt even to a different plane with the same model even. One 152 might have different radio or instrument types than others, and I think learning all the different planes that Harv’s got, even if it’s mostly 152’s, I think it’s been good to keep me from getting complacent. Some have different propellers and thus, different climbing characteristics, or one or two has flaps that the lever slides down so that you have to be careful it doesn’t go straight to twenty degrees when you only want ten.

I thought I’d look through my log book and see how many individual planes I’ve flown now. The number is twenty. Twelve different 152’s, four different 172’s, two Citabria’s, a Land Africa and a 150.

Anyway, I’m not sure what model I’ll end up trying out next. It depends on how quickly I get through my cross country flying and commercial license, and onto my multi rating – then I’ll be flying the Piper Seminole. I’ll be doing most of my time-building in C-FLUG, but the weather has been terrible, and I haven’t been flying in weeks. Getting twitchy.

Chocolate, Nuts, and Raisins: An Aspie Post

I haven’t posted much about being an Aspie. A friend heard me use the word, and asked about it, because she hadn’t been sure if it was a word that people with Aspergers considered insulting. If it is, I’ve never seen an Aspie who considered it so. I don’t know if it was Aspies themselves who started using it first, or the Neurotypical community, but the Aspie community has taken ownership of the term. Part of the reason, I’m sure, is the fact that Aspies are struggling for acceptance of what they are, and therefore aren’t sensitive about being recognized as having Asperger’s syndrome. You can’t gain acceptance for what you are if you’re ashamed of what you are.

But also, “Aspie” isn’t a word that’s used as a general insult. I think possibly by embracing the term and not reacting to it like it was an insult, the Aspie community has maintained control over it and the meaning it conveys. When it’s understood at all, it’s understood to mean “a person with Asperger’s syndrome” and hasn’t ended up gaining any extra negative connotations the way words like “retarded” (which was once a politically correct term) has collected.

Anyway, in this post, I’m going to kind of try and paint a picture of Aspergers syndrome for you. I’m not trying to show you how terrible it is, or how much I suffer, or what other people have to deal with to be my friend, or even paint a complete picture. Just a little bit of insight on the sort of things my friends notice when they get to know me really well.

I don’t like certain things mixed with other certain things. As a child, I would carefully separate the peas on my plate from the mashed potatoes. Foods dished out of different pots would not be on the fork at the same time. I didn’t like foods served at different temperatures to touch. For example, if salad was served on the same plate as cooked meat or vegetables, I didn’t like them touching. Salad is a bunch of things mixed, but they’re supposed to be mixed, so it’s fine. But I prefer not to get any salad dressing on anything it doesn’t belong on.

And honestly, it’s not about taste. It’s all about organization. And I’m not that bad – if things touch, I’m annoyed. But I’ll eat it. I generally re-separate them if it’s feasible, but it’s not the end of the world, and I generally don’t say anything. I’m not such a severe case as I would have some kind of crazy meltdown over stuff like this.

Nathan once made macaroni and cheese for me, and cooked frozen vegetables in it. He says he knew something was wrong as soon as he saw my face when he brought it out. It took me like, ten minutes to pick all the vegetables out and eat them, and then I ate the pasta. The friend I mentioned before was observing me putting blueberries an whipped cream on french toast she made me, and realized that I was arranging the blueberries in such a way that I could get a blueberry in every bite as I cut it into pieces later.

One day, my friend was commenting on how she hated chocolate covered raisins. I replied that I like them.

And she was like wait, what?

See, she knows me pretty well, and knows I don’t like chocolate with nuts or dried fruit in it. And I explained, chocolate covered raisins aren’t raisins in chocolate, they’re chocolate on raisins.

That’s the point where I think her head exploded.

It’s two things that are such different textures – one you suck on and one you chew, and then I don’t know how to eat them together. And they’re never evenly distributed through the chocolate. One bite might have two peanuts in it, and another one might not have any. So, if someone offers me a cadbury fruit and nut bar, or almond bark, or chocolate with candy cane in it, I’ll usually politely decline. Unless it’s one of those situations where refusal would upset someone, in which case I’ll take it, suck on it until the chocolate is gone, and then chew the rest. It’s not a huge deal.

Then there’s chocolate covered raisins. The chocolate on them is never so thick that it’s worth sucking it off, so it’s easy to chew them without having to suck the chocolate off. But most importantly, there’s a more or less even distribution of chocolate and raisin in each bite.

Now, keep in mind, I don’t normally consciously think about these things, even as I’m arranging my skittles in lines by colour. I just do it. I don’t freak out of suffer unduly if I’m prevented from doing it, it’s just a tendency. Kind of like how when you smile at someone, they tend to smile back. It’s not about Aspergers being a terrible thing I suffer from, and it’s not about me being better than other people because I have Aspergers. It’s just me.

The frustrating thing is that there are people out there who won’t accept this is me. They want me to be normal. It doesn’t matter that none of this hurts or even affects them. It makes them uncomfortable that I’m different. They see it, and when they see it, they think there’s something wrong with me that needs to be fixed. I’ve been called a retard by someone like that, who was just that frustrated that I couldn’t just be normal. Who made fun of me as he watched me eat a sandwich because I was spending more time than he thought I should deciding where to take the next bite. I’ll let the internet pass judgment.

Sure, I could refrain from doing it. Force myself to mix my vegetables with the potatoes. It’s not like it would cause me to have some kind of breakdown. But here’s the thing: why the hell should I? It would take a huge mental effort to constantly remind myself to not do those things, and I would slip up regularly. Why would I go to all that trouble just so that you can watch me and not notice that I’m a little bit quirky? Just so that I can pretend to be some silly ideal of normal, as if it would make me healthier or happier? It wouldn’t.

But it makes me more grateful for the people I have around me who do accept me. I don’t need people to put on an Aspie pride parade for me. I’m perfectly happy just being Lindsay, and being allowed to just be Lindsay and not be made fun of for being Lindsay. That’s all Aspies ask. Is it really so much?

The Adventurous And The Anxious: Thoughts On Passengers

I’ve had my licence for a little while now, and that means I’ve had some time to take a variety of passengers out flying with me now. I’ve obviously been a passenger in a plane before, but being the pilot and having a passenger is a little different perspective. Because then you’re recognizing that this person you’re taking flying is someone who cannot take over flying like your instructor could.

And believe me, they know it too. They know very well that they’re putting their life in your hands. It’s a huge gesture of trust and confidence.

Some ask lots of questions, some were very quiet. Most passengers are fairly quick to clue in when someone says something on the radio, that the pilot needs to hear it, and they stop talking. One interesting observation: when I say “Okay, I’m gonna be concentrating on landing for a couple minutes,” suddenly passengers are dead silent. In the plane, I’m the boss and most people seem get that pretty well. I’m a pretty laid back person, and don’t often take charge, so people are often surprised when I’m put in a role where I’m in charge, and have no trouble telling people what to do. People have observed that my whole demeanor changes. Being the pilot makes people in the role of passenger automatically look to you for direction, and taking that role has come more naturally that I thought it would. 

Some friends were terribly excited to go flying with me. There’s certain things (things that are still perfectly safe) that you can do with an aeroplane, that you’ll never see done in a commercial flight, like demonstrating the rudder by wagging the tail, or what our aerobatics instructor calls a “seat-belt check” (nose up hard for a second or two, then nose down hard to pull negative G’s. If your head hits the ceiling, your seatbelt isn’t tight enough.) Things that would frighten a nervous flyer, but for someone comfortable with it, can be fun. I’ve had some of my friends giggling like kids in the passenger seat.

Of course, not everyone’s happy to hear you say “Hey, you wanna see something cool?” I’ve been upfront about asking what my passengers are comfortable with, and explaining what we’re going to do before I do it, and what they’ll experience. Also, when you get your licence, your instructor is very clear on what you’re allowed to do with passengers and what you’re not allowed to do. Spins, for example. They’re an aerobatic maneuver – Harv’s 152’s are all insured for spins and we spin them in training. I’m allowed to do spins solo – in fact, as far as I’m aware, there’s no restriction on aerobatics maneuvers when a pilot is flying solo, with no passengers, as long as the plane is capable of it, you recover before 2000ft AGL, and the owner of the plane has it insured appropriately and is okay with you doing it. But you can’t do aerobatics with passengers unless you’ve done ten hours of aerobatics with someone who has an aerobatics instructor rating, or twenty hours of aerobatics solo.

Generally nobody gets caught doing things they’re not supposed to unless they crash. But quite frankly, I don’t see any point in doing anything I can’t brag about. Like, when my instructor said I should practice spins solo, even, I guess no one had ever actually said I couldn’t go do spins solo, but if I was going to, I would have wanted her to know before I did it, so that I knew I wouldn’t get a finger wag or anything. When I was taking one passenger out early on, and it was one of the ones who was comfortable with flying, and I wanted to demonstrate a stall, I even checked before hand with my instructor to make sure that would be okay.

I think I was a little bit afraid at first, when I got my licence, that my friends and family wouldn’t have enough faith in my competence as a pilot to go flying with me. I needn’t have been though – anyone who knows me, the better they know me, the more they have confidence in me. This is in fairly stark contrast to some of my family that I’m less close with, and who knew me better around ten years ago. In the last ten years I’ve blossomed as a person, and since moving to Winnipeg, made a lot of new friends, so most of my friendships are less than ten years old. There’s one main exception, and he was happy to go flying with me.

Family who knew me better before – strangely don’t seem interested in going flying. Some (a lot) of them cite being afraid of flying, some won’t even talk about it. There just seems, you know, to be a disproportionate number of people in my family who are now afraid of flying. My mother, off in Australia, tells me she worries about me flying, that I’ll end up getting myself hurt.

My husband reminds me that the people who know me, are the ones who have confidence in me, and it’s true. Nathan, as in a previous post, was my first passenger, but it was also his first time flying, so he was understandably nervous. He made sure he told me several times that the anxiousness was over the flying thing, not over any lack of confidence he had in me. After all, he was coming up with me, wasn’t he?  As much as I sometimes wonder if they’re saying “I have complete confidence in your piloting ability” as much to convince themselves, actions speak louder than words, and they are in the plane with me of their own volition.

And then there’s one friend who’s afraid of flying. She’s been on big jets, and I know that’s a lot easier for people afraid of flying to deal with. She says she has an easier time of those, considering she can remind herself that most plane crashes involve small planes. So going up in a small plane – she hasn’t quite got there yet, was how he put it. It wasn’t a hard no, though. She said maybe someday, if she can screw up her courage. And seriously, that someone afraid of flying would even consider going up with a relatively new pilot, is a huge vote of confidence.

In conclusion, taking passengers is fun. To all my passengers, I love sharing this mad little dream with you and it’s been an honour to be your pilot.

Book Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

This is a companion book to Wein’s book Code Name Verity, which I loved, and which was one of several things that inspired me to take up flying. Apparently I’m not the only one to start taking lessons after reading it, but I’m the only one the author knows of who’s gone on to get my licence, and she was quite tickled over it.

Anyway, as a companion book, and not a true sequel, it has a different main character, and can be read without having read the previous one. There are a few recurring characters, and it takes place chronologically after Code Name Verity, but it contains minimal spoilers.

In this one, Rose is another ATA pilot, who gets intercepted over france and taken to germany. She ends up in one of the concentration camps, Ravensbruck.

The story begins with Rose writing down her story, much like Code Name Verity did. One of the weaknesses of that format is that you know the character is going to live. In the opening, she’s back in Paris, shortly after her escape. (This wasn’t the case in CNV, as the characters were writing things down more or less as they happened, and there was still uncertainty on their survivability.) The suspense still there was whether her friends escaped. These friends are people you haven’t met yet, but as the story goes on, you do, and then the reminder that the main character doesn’t know what happened to them or if they survived means more and more.

The description of the conditions in Ravensbruck are suitably horrifying. One of the things mentioned early on is the fact that the information coming out of the camps is so horrifying that western Europeans and Americans don’t believe it. They literally didn’t believe it. The stories about the women who were experimented on, the starvation, mass executions, etc. And the Nazis, of course, are trying to hide it, by killing these women they experimented on before the allies can rescue them.

Rose, as she writes, is suffering some pretty severe PTSD. In some ways it made it even harder to read than CNV because I get the PTSD. Maybe nowhere near as severe as Rose would have to have suffered from it, but I understand. I’ve been there, with the nightmares and the waking up not sure where I am, and the panic attacks when someone calls my name or opens the door, or pulls into the driveway. So I get why she’s reluctant to testify in the war crimes trials, which, reading other reviews, seems to be one of the things people have complained about being disappointed by.

Another thing that made me think as I read it, is having just finished the Hunger Games trilogy, and comparing it to Rose Under Fire. In the Hunger Games, Katniss’ suffering and mental breakdown gets a little tiresome and boring. So I had to think to figure out why that doesn’t happen in Rose Under Fire. Rose goes through likely more trauma, sees more death, than Katniss. Why is Rose not annoying in an endless train of poor me‘s? And I think it’s because Rose is constantly reminding herself that she’s not one of the women who got experimented on (the experiments had stopped before she was taken prisoner.) She has people around her who have suffered more and longer than she has, so a lot of her descriptions of suffering are not “poor me”, but poor them. The times when she’s so badly hurt she can’t actually do anything but lay there and feel sorry for herself are mostly glossed over.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. It was cathartic.

My Painfully Shy/Attention Hog Split Personality

Last spring at Keycon, I had people I had never seen before come up to me and say Hi. They knew my name – knew me from my blog. It was a weird experience. I mean, that’s the point of the blog being public – getting attention, and getting attention from people interested in reading what I write when I get my novel published. I know there’s a certain amount of danger – there’s weirdos out there, but I figure if I plan on being a published author, I’m eventually going to have to bite it and have my picture associated with my name in public. I’ve drawn lines of course – I don’t put my home address or phone number out there, or even my email address – the contact me link on my site just has a form, and doesn’t give my email address. I stopped at giving my home city, and the airports I’ve flown out of, and what conventions/conferences I’ll be at. I’m not a paranoid person – I think I’m being reasonable.

It was just kind of different, to be recognized. And now that I think about it, kind of cool to have a male approaching me to say hi with interests other than hitting on me. It wasn’t just the blog at Keycon either, I did a few panels and it seems when you get up in front of a crowd, it changes how people treat you. You’re no longer a random face in the crowd, you’re the woman who discussed Dieselpunk intelligently on the Steampunk/Dieselpunk/Cyberpunk panel, and did the panel on flight, and was the organizer for the short film viewing. And then people talk to you.

I do fine in conversation mostly – when it’s answering questions about things, I’m fine. When I’m put on the spot to come up with something to say, like at the Women In Aviation gathering with the First to Solo award presentation, I freeze up. Deer in the headlights.

I’ve gotten over a lot of being painfully shy. I used to be so much worse. Though, I don’t actually remember being shy, so much as just knowing if I was the centre of attention, it was because I did something wrong, or stupid, or people were just picking on me for no reason at all. I was bullied as a child, and that always leaves scars.  When I’m put on the spot and am not prepared with something to say, then I’m suddenly afraid that whatever comes out of my mouth is going to be stupid, or come across horribly wrong.

Conversation – much easier. It distracts me from the attention and I can focus on the subject matter of the conversation. And yet, I love attention. Just not negative attention. I like having done something well, or made something I can show off, and being praised for it. I might be terribly nervous getting up to perform in front of an audience, but the applause at the end makes it so worth it.

I see-saw between being shy and being an attention whore. It came  on my again when I got to spending more time at Lyncrest, and C-FLUG, and Jill, and the other women involved in C-FLUG. Some of them were at the First to Solo award presentation and knew me from there. Some had seen my picture in articles, but it was again with the people coming up to me that I had never seen before, or if I had they were someone in a crowd, but they knew my name. And one day Jill commented about how wonderful it was that I was getting all my flight training down in my blog. I said I’m never sure if there’s anyone around home who reads it, and she said “Oh, we all do!” And then I was feeling all shy and bashful again.

It does sometimes feel safer to write about things when I’m not likely to ever meet the people who read what I’ve written. I love getting comments on the blog (I have a friend who has promised to troll my site, but has never actually done so. I’m disappointed.) But most comments are from people I haven’t met in person. Then at Keycon I met some of the people who’ve commented on my blog, and it was weird and cool. And now there’s people who know me from an entirely different circle. I don’t think I’m trying to make a point with this post. I’m just rambling an thinking thoughts.

And sometimes I do pour my heart out here, and I’ve never once had anyone leave a comment that made me regret it. I treat the thing like a journal, and the difference between a journal and a diary, is a journal is written for someone else to read at some point. I kept a diary for a few years, but it was hard to motivate myself to write anything that wasn’t intended to be read by someone else, either for entertainment or educational purposes.

But while I feel free to let myself be vulnerable here, there are certain things I hold back. Mainly anything that I think might embarrass people I care about, or who didn’t – you know – ask for it. This isn’t a platform for me to lash out or take revenge. It can sometimes be hard to avoid, because my writing is always influenced by my own experiences, and also, I do want to let others who have gone through the kind of things I have know that they’re not alone. So I’m torn sometimes, on how much to tell. But I’ll deal with those things as they come up. Negativity attracts negativity, and I want this to be a positive place.

New Year’s 2014

The Traditional New Years post. Lets start with last year’s goals and how I did:

– Get a good ways into revisions on another novel. This is going to be either Handless or The Box – I haven’t decided yet, but once I do, it’ll be a shit ton of work. – I did none of this. 

– Win Nano for 5th time running. – nope. 

– Reading goals: mixing it up this year – I want to read at least one debut novel within the year it was published (missed this one, by 8 days – Thunder road was published on sept 4 2012, and I finished reading it on sept 12 2013), at least one aurora eligible novel (Got this one), at least one novel written by an author I know in person (got this one), finish at least one series I started reading (likely the hunger games trilogy, I’m on the last one)(Finished the Hunger Games), and at least one classic novel (I think The Warlord of the Air qualifies.)

– I’ve decided what I want to be when I grow up. Which is good, because I’m twenty-nine and that time rolls around faster than you know. I’ve never been entirely happy with the tech support job, and there’s obviously a good chance that I may never be able to quit my day job completely. I need a day job that I have some passion for. Towards that, I resolve to start flight school. This will likely start in april, when my hours at work go down, and the integrated courses start at Harv’s Air. – The integrated courses didn’t work out, but that’s not a big deal, and didn’t stop me. Got my private licence in three months and am time building for my commercial. 

That last one is huge and has swallowed up everything else.

Anyway, I also get to give myself kudos for other things I’ve done this year. Mostly flying wise. There’s been a lot of firsts.

I started lessons – that in itself is a big step. Then there was my first solo, and then winning the first solo award. And getting my licence. Taking my first passenger flying, for his first time. Doing short little cross country flights, and building up to longer ones. Getting comfortable with being in Class C airspace. Taildragger checkout. Night rating. Being told I should go practice spins solo.

I became the legal owner of my first car. It’s a 93 Buick Le Sabre, originally owned by my grandfather, inherited by my grandmother, gifted to my father, and then gifted to me. Legally gifted to me. It’s coming out of my inheritance from my grandma, who’s 93 and still kickin’, but she wants to give us grandchildren the help we need when we need it most, and I’m living at the far end of every bus route right now, and there are no buses that will take me to St. Andrews to go flying, so I need a car right now. It gives her a lot of satisfaction to be able to be here to see the things she’s given her grandchildren put to use.

I also got a good ways into a new YA novel, called Skybound, and have ideas for books two and three in the trilogy (The Onesky Trilogy). And titles. Kickass titles, to be revealed as I write them.

My finished novel, recently renamed “Redwing”, is done the most recent round of revisions, and at Keycon an editor invited me to submit it, based on the opening page.

Also at Keycon, did some panels, got some attention, had people chasing me down to ask if I had anything published that they could buy, based on hearing me participate in a panel on dieselpunk.

Wrote a couple of short stories – though still working on selling them.

Overall, I’ve done pretty good, so I’m not going to beat myself up over not getting into revisions or winning Nano.

Also, I have succeeded in not killing myself or anyone else.

It’s been a good year. For a lot of it, I felt like I was running full tilt because if I stopped, the fates would notice I was happy. Because this is me, and Lindsay’s supposed to be happy with simple, small pleasures, and learning to fly is far too big to escape their notice. And as I kept going, I started to think if I just keep running, maybe fate won’t catch me. And eventually I got  to the point where I had it set in my mind that I was stronger than whatever had kept me from chasing my dreams in the past. And I started to realize what had kept me from it in the past was my own belief that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I’d internalized the many times my mother told me, “You don’t always get what you want.” (That line made it into Skybound.)

Every time I’ve ever really wanted something, I’ve had to fight for it. And I think I always knew this one would be a big fight, and maybe I was just waiting until I had the strength for it, because it was a fight that would break my heart to lose.

So this year’s goals (calling them goals, and not resolutions, because that sounds more positive – it’s about accomplishing things, not resolving to stop doing things):

– Reading goals: Read a novel eligible for the auroras and vote in them. Read a debut novel. Read an author I haven’t read before. Read another book in at least one series I started. Read a novel by an author I know in person.

– The usual: Stay happily married and not die.

– Get my commercial pilot’s license.

– Get my multi-IFR rating.

– Finish Skybound.

– Get a solid start on revising another novel.

Humble goals, I know. I think I succeeded in taking 2013, kicking it in the balls and beating it senseless until it cried. In 2014 I hope to start getting some career things straightened out, and of course I’m always hoping to hear back from agents. Wish me luck on soaring through 2014 safely.