If anything is the root of modern anxiety it is this: there is always more to do than can possibly be done. Today, for instance, I scribbled out a list of projects I want to tackle in 2022. It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost upon us; that we have been living through a global pandemic for the better part of two years now. That pandemic adds to anxiety, to be sure, but now that our kids have been vaccinated, it has alleviated some of that stress. It is the to-do list, the relentless inbox, the requests at work, the pleas from the kids, to say nothing of the ever-increasing list of books I want to read that add to my anxiety.
Here are some of the projects I would like to tackle in 2022:
Start reading Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best anthologies.
Technically, I’ve already started this. I have this idea of reading all 35 of them. I had one of these volumes in college–I think it was the 10th annual edition–and it amazes me how many writers I eventually got to meet or know. I even met Gardner on several occasions, most notably when Allen Steele pulled me to a room in the SFWA sweet and introduced me a writer that Gardner should keep an eyes on. (I will be forever grateful to Allen for doing this, but honestly, my writing and the stories I tell were never the kind that would arouse interest by Gardner. Still, I was never a regular follower of short s.f. with the exception of Science Fiction Age, which I read religiously during its all-too-brief 8-year run. It seems like going through all 35 volumes of Gardner’s would be a good education on writing short science fiction, now that I am beginning to write again. I am not planning on reading all 35 volumes in 2022, but I’d like to make my way through a few if I could.
Vacation in the Golden Age.
I would like to continue my Vacation in the Golden Age of science fiction. In my original attempts, I got through the first 41 episodes of that series, covering all the issues of Astounding from July 1939 through November 1942. I’ve been wanting to continue this for a long time, but family and work and other obligations have taken precedence. I think in 2022, I may be able to start this up again.
Read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
I’ve been wanting to read this for a long time now. It so long, but from everything I can tell, it is worth the read. This had sort of disappeared for a while, and then, it reappeared, ironically, while I was reading the first volume of Dozois’s Year’s Best series. I read Jack McDevitt’s “Cryptic” in which The Decline and Fall plays a significant role. In that story, Jack wrote the following, which reignited my interest,
Then, in bed, still somewhat dazed, I attempted The Decline and Fall again. It was not the dusty roll call of long-dead emperors that I had expected. The emperors are there, stabbing and throttling and blundering. And occasionally trying to improve things. But the fish hawkers are there too. And the bureaucrats and the bishops.
It’s a world filled with wine and legionnaires’ sweat, mismanagement, arguments over Jesus, and the inability to transfer power, all played out to the ruthless drumbeat of dissolution. An undefined historical tide, stemmed occasionally by a hero, or a sage, rolls over men and events, washing them toward the sea.
Years ago, at dinner with Jack and his wife Maureen, I think we discussed The Decline and Fall. My memory is a little vague because I was having dinner with Jack McDevitt, but Bud Sparhawk was also there and he might remember better than I. In any case, I recently ordered the 6-volume set of hardcover books (I already have the audio version) and maybe I’ll find time to start this project in 2022.
Clean out the storage closet
Downstairs we have a large storage closet that doubles at the utility room (where the furnace and water heater reside). It is packed to the gills with stuff. For a while now, I’ve been wanting to clean it out. My thought is that in the spring, I’ll pick up about 10-15 attic boards and lay them in the attic along the with the boards I’ve already installed there. With the extra cubic footage in the attic, I’ll then review everything we have in the storage closet, getting rid of stuff we don’t need, and moving most everything else into the attic. Once cleared out, I plan to install shelving on both sides of the storage room. On the ride side, the shelf will cover half the wall and be used for extra dry food storage. On the other half of the wall, we will put an extra freezer. The opposite wall will have shelves for things like wrapping paper, tools, and anything else we need infrequent access to. But the space will be clear and organized once and for all.
These are fairly big projects and I have no idea if it is possible to make much progress on any of them in 2022, but it is at least nice to have a target to aim for What big plans do you have for 2022? Let me know in the comments.
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