Watts (chipotle) wrote,


I arrived back in San Jose on Monday evening, an uneventful flight but for a tense after-sunset descent through rain and wind. Most of the flight was spent reading a gift book: In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson's novel-length tale of travelling around a fair chunk of Australia. Bryson is a marvelously engaging writer, weaving facts about his subject into his travel stories--very often not the facts that a travel guide would be interested in, which dovetail nicely with his penchant for side trips most people wouldn't bother with. He relates the story of an Australian prime minister, Harold Holt, who went for a swim (while in office) in 1967 in Victoria and disappeared, his body never found--and makes a trip to Cheviot Hill, the site of the disappearance. Bryson spends a great deal of time in pubs, sometimes to meet the locals and on occasion to escape the area he's found himself in. (One evening finds him in a pub trying to come up with new slogans for Canberra, the nation's capital: "Canberra--There's Nothing to It!" or "Canberra--Why Wait for Death?" or "Canberra--Gateway to Everywhere Else!")

It occurred to me that if I wrote travel guides, they'd be closer to Bryson's than to typical field guides. It also occurs to me, not for the first time, that maybe I should try my hand at one.

So what am I going to do now, at the start of a new year? Today I have another résumé to get out for one position and a couple writing samples to try to produce between now and the weekend for another--both longshots, and the latter more for amusement value than potential income. I have to get working on at least a placeholder site for my business rather than the "parked domain" web page the domain registrar has up for me, and then get assistance in actually getting it online and getting a few mail aliases set up. I have to get the doing-business-as kit put together, finally, as well. Next month I need to get a new health insurance provider and need to consider seeking a tax professional.

And I need to get an income. My design business is all but non-existent currently. Given that the effort I've put into promotion is also all but non-existent, that's not so bad, of course, but I need to start averaging at least a few hundred a week. I'm certainly not giving up on looking for steady employment, all things considered. On the flip side, I'm not giving up the idea of the book publishing company, either. (My DBA name will be "Coyote Coast," and the press, when it exists, will be Coyote Coast Press.) I haven't put effort into getting any manuscripts to review, in part because I'm not quite sure what I'm going to limit the press's focus to. After that, of course, comes trying to find a way to attract manuscripts without inadvertently opening the slush pile floodgate--although if I'm at first only accepting regional interest non-fiction, there might not be much of a deluge.

So. New Years' resolutions, not relating to income production? I'll try to reintroduce myself to friends beyond my immediate local circle. I've gone a complete calendar year with very little contact beyond six people, one of whom moved out from Tampa Bay at about the same time I did. An honest reckoning shows me that my circle in Tampa wasn't grandly bigger--about five people I could fairly reliably get together with on short notice, two or three more I saw pretty regularly, and a couple more I saw occasionally. Yet it seems it's harder here to catch those I know before they're off doing something else (or when they're not suffering seemingly month-long illnesses: dude, Florida is where you're supposed to get the exotic subtropical diseases!), which makes the circle feel smaller still.

I'll also try to write more than I have been. Truth to tell, I have little excuse for not getting a few hundred words a day on something done, and even less excuse now that I'm not employed. So. I have old stories that should be dusted off and sent out again, unfinished ones to return to, and new ones trying to organize themselves to a point where I can start the telling.

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