Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nothing solid

My mom met a Buddhist psychic who told her that my new house is occupied by the spirit of a previous owner. To deal with this, Mom asked me to keep a Buddha shrine in my home and offer it water and ask that the spirit be cool with us. I'm not a believer, but I am doing the offering and the chant because I find comfort in the ritual.

As we approach the year of the Horse, Mom read that I (being born in the year of the Horse) will have to deal with a house fire and a break in. To combat that, I had to light incense to the Buddha and then go vegetarian for three days. The vegetarian rule is fun, and I'm on the third day now.

Yesterday, I also decided to do a juice fast, which was something I had never tried before. I'm not sure that it should be called a fast, because I didn't exactly feel like I was fasting at any point in the day. The juices got boring by about noon, and though I wasn't hungry, I found myself craving cornbread by 7 pm, which I didn't give in to.

That's that.

Books I've read this year are listed below. I kept the list because of Scott G. F. Bailey. I was surprisingly varied in my choices this year, mostly because I read a lot more than I usually do.  The Last Samurai still stands out for me because it was clever and emotional.

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Story of the Night by Colm Tóibín
The Last Samurai by Helen De Witt
The Laws of Evening by Mary Yukari Waters
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Astrologer by Scott G. F. Bailey
Betrayal by Harold Pinter
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Light Years by James Salter
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
Go Home, Miss America by Scott G. F. Bailey
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
White Noise by Don Delillo
Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
The Interesting by Meg Wolitzer
The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

2013 was not a productive writing year for me. I think balancing writing and reading was a challenge, especially given that my last job got really stressful near the end, and then I changed jobs, and then I was shopping for a new house. I was also so motivated to read more than ten books this year that whenever I had spare time I picked up a book rather than working on my own.

This year, I want to dedicate half the year to reading and half the year to writing. I haven't decided how I'll break that down yet, but so far I've been mostly writing for the last couple of weeks. I'm working on two books:

Sister Soul - a fun book I'm writing for my Sister-in-law and her sister


The Pagani Project - With this book, I've been experimenting with different points of view and different structures, but I think I'm going to stick more closely to my initial vision and just work on making that vision work.

What's Peanut eating? Pumpkin treats. He got a lot of loot for Christmas!

(Note: I edited this post slightly to include my list of books eaten in the actual post.)


  1. I'll light one of my Virgin of Guadalupe candles for you and the house! Also, happy New Year. I am happy to hear that you're working on Pagani. Though you should change the title to The Pajama Project.

    1. Thanks for lighting the candle, Scott! I also plan to burn some sage as part of a cleansing ritual I saw on American Horror Story, season 1. The cool thing about calling my book The Pajama Project would be, of course, getting to use the nickname Cyberlama in Pajamas.

  2. Hmm; eating healthy cannot be a bad thing regardless of the monitored outcome. I've been eating healthier this last year, but haven't seen a significant weight loss. Perhaps healthy and skinny aren't the same thing?

    Whatever. At least you have a writing plan; and I hope you are flexible in the writing/reading schedule. Some books beg to be read; and sometimes our own writing muse vies to be heard in a writing project. I am sure you will find the balance Davin.

    Life is fun, isn't it :)


    1. Hi Donna! When I was my skinniest, I didn't feel my healthiest, that's true. I'm best when I have good muscle tone, flexibility, and when I can breathe because my clothes aren't too tight. :)

      I'll keep the writing and reading flexible. But one thing I want to avoid is not doing either for several weeks. I can fall into that pattern easily.

      Life! Fun!

  3. Thanks for the updates, Davin. I kind of want to get a little Buddha now! I'm happy to hear you'll be writing more this year, and reading as well. I'm carrying over my goal of reading a book a weekend into this year, but I'd like to introduce a few more genres as well. Last year seemed to be my YA contemporary blitz, since it's not anything I'd ever immersed myself in before. This year I want to add some more adult, some mysteries, and some more literary pieces (especially short story collections ... if you have any good suggestions). :)

    1. I'm happy to hear that you are mixing up your reading more, Michelle! :P Not because there's anything wrong with sticking to one genre, but because I can recommend more books to you. I still recommend Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell as a brilliant novel. For short story writers, I've mentiond Jhumpa Lahiri and Alice Munro before, but I have a new one for you. Richard Bausch. I read a couple of his short stories over the holidays and thought they were beautiful.