Happy New Year! Goals for 2015

As hard as it is for me to believe, 2014 is drawing to a close, and 2015 is almost upon us.

To be sure, 2014 had its challenges. The wave of losses didn’t stop. In 2014, a dear friend of mine passed away. Two of my beloved cats (Brainball and MaoMao) ran off to the Rainbow Bridge. But 2014 had its joys, as well. I got a delightful and fulfilling job as church pianist. And my family was blessed with a precious new feline member, a little baby girl named Solstice, whom we rescued on June 21, the day of the Summer Solstice, at only four weeks old.


In what has become a yearly ritual on this blog, I’ll offer the New Year’s goals I made last year at this time, in bold type, with commentary (in regular type) on whether or not I accomplished each goal. Then I’ll present my New Year’s goals for the coming year. Without further ado:

Old Goals:

1. Take better care of myself so that I can regain my resiliency and my positive outlook. I miss both. That means going back to daily meditative practice, re-establishing an exercise routine, prioritizing good sleep, resisting my tendencies to spread myself way too thin, and kicking to the curb my tendencies to want to turn to fatty food for comfort.

Hmm. Well, I think I’ve done okay with this, on the whole. I haven’t gone back to my daily meditative practice. I need to, though. It’s extraordinarily good for me, on every level. I’ve gotten a lot better about not spreading myself too thin. There’s only so much one person can do, and when I try too hard to please everyone, I only wind up pleasing nobody (including myself) and running myself ragged. I have gotten much better about saying “no” when needed. And I’m doing better on sleep, exercise, and diet.

2. Cultivate more gratitude for the good things in my life so I don’t suffer in the grip of a myopic obsession with the bad and the difficult. Yes, life has delivered mucho wallops this year, all in one short space, but there are still plenty of things to be grateful for.

I’ve done pretty well here, too. 2014 had its share of wallops, to be sure, but I don’t think I ever lost sight of the good things and blessings in my life. In a funny way, I’ve cultivated even more gratitude for them, because I know how quickly things can change.

3. Renew my commitment to my artistic endeavors. Music: I want to finish recording Reflected Moon in 2014 and hopefully release it. I also want to write new music. Fiction: I need to make friends with my fiction muse again. I have become more estranged from her than from my music muse. Yeah, they’re two different muses. In 2014, my goal is simply to find my way into at least one story I love and truly want to finish and share with the world. Maybe add some blogging to the mix, too, as I feel moved to do so.

2014 has been a mix on the creative level. I still have not recorded Reflected Moon. I don’t think I even completed one track. And I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t written any new music. I’ve fiddled and improvised and noodled, certainly, but no new compositions that are ready for prime time. No new fiction, either. My creativity was AWOL for much of 2014 as I worked on re-centering myself and getting back on an even keel after the difficulties of 2013.

The good news: my creativity is coming back, bit by bit. It’s nurtured and encouraged by my wonderful church pianist job, which keeps both me and my muse happy. Fiction writing was pretty much flatlined for most of 2014, but in November, I participated in NaNoWriMo in honor of my dear friend who passed away. And I kicked NaNoWriMo butt, which showed me that I can still rock and roll as a fiction writer when I give myself sufficient motivation.

Which brings me to….

My (Very Simple) Goals for 2015.

1. Keep flying high on the music and enjoying my church pianist job. It truly is such a blessing in my life. Write new music. And make progress on my next album, Reflected Moon.

2. Make a serious commitment to my fiction. Get productive again. Finish my projects. Get them out there. Believe I can do it.

3. Blog. Yeah. More than twice a year *ahem.*

4. Take good care of myself and count my blessings.

Happy New Year, everybody!

New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

Here we go again, my annual Blogular tradition of revisiting New Year’s Resolutions for the year which is now passing, gauging how I did with each, and making new resolutions for the year to come. How long have I been doing this here (on this blog and its predecessor)? Hmmm….. *thinking.* Since 2006. My goodness (feel free to insert cliche of choice about time’s fleet feet).


Here are my old resolutions for 2012, in bold type, followed by my commentary as to how I actually did.

1. Currently, I’m planning a novel-to-be, working title of Maestro. The brainstorming is going fabulously, and my muse is kicking up her heels. Maestro is already hitting my sweet spot, and I haven’t even started writing it yet. In 2012, I want to get Maestro finished, edited, and available for purchase on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

I managed to complete a draft of Maestro, but it’s very rough — I haven’t even begun revisions or rewrites. Call this resolution a THUNK.

2. Get my original music (songs and instrumental pieces, composed on the piano and played and sung by yours truly) out there.

And here is where I can utter a resounding YAWP! In retrospect, I would call 2012 Thomma’s Year of Music. I finally got myself in a position where I could procure a digital piano and pursue my lifelong dream of getting my original music out there. I released my first album, Womanspirit Rising, in July 2012. So far, no songs, just instrumental, piano-based versions of my pieces, with touches of other instrumentation. I am proud of the album, though, and I will hopefully keep playing, recording, and releasing albums until I’m 120 years old. I’ve never had so much fun in my life! Bet many of you, my readers, didn’t know this about me, but music was actually my first love, before fiction.

3. In addition to Maestro, I’d like to write and make available for purchase other pieces of fiction, including short stories and possibly a novella or two. When you’re an indie author, it’s an excellent thing to have numerous fictional pieces available for readers who discover you and love your work.

THUNK. See comment above about 2012 being Thomma’s Year of Music.

4. BLOG MORE. And yes, I mean that. Both here and on Grace Notes, my creative writing blog, where I’d like to post flash fiction related to my works-in-progress.

YAWP! I did indeed blog more here, but not on Grace Notes. I started a series of what I call Dharma Posts on this blog, then I created a dedicated Dharma Blog called Green Mountains Walking.

5. This one isn’t a goal. It’s a “maybe.” But possibly — just possibly — I’ll release one or more of my titles in print.

A sort of YAWP! I’m in the process of readying my novel Heart’s Chalice for print, but it won’t go live ’til 2013. Watch this space for updates!

And here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013. Short but sweet.

1. Release my second music album, Reflected Moon. It’ll be comprised of both songs and piano-based instrumentals. Yes, I’ll be singing on the next album!

2. Finish drafting The Renunciate, my current novel-in-progress which is likely to be the first in a series.

3. Get The Renunciate ready for publication and available for purchase via Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

4. Blog on a regular basis, whether here, Green Mountains Walking, and/or Grace Notes.

5. Write more songs and instrumentals and become ever more confident and adept at digital recording, mixing, and mastering piano with vocals and other goodies.

And th-th-th-that’s it, folks! Happy New Year! :)

Random Bits in the Life of TL

Good grief, nearly two months have passed since my last post here. *headdesk* Guess I’ll brush off the tumbleweeds yet again and put up a post, this one comprised of random bits. Pun on “bytes” most certainly intended.

1. I decided to create a dedicated Dharma blog especially for my Zen-related posts. If you’d like to check it out, I’d be most pleased. The name of the blog is Green Mountains Walking, a phrase from Zen Master Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra. I copied the older Dharma posts from here, re-homed them on Green Mountains Walking, then put up a brand new post on the brand new blog about — guess what — Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra.

2. My muse has been in high gear with music and writing. While music has been getting the lion’s share of the creative energy, I have a novel in progress and recently cracked 56,000 words. But the novel will be plenty longer than that. I’m taking my sweet time with the novel, allowing the story to unfold. I also have another novel in mind. Not sure whether to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. I’m really not ready to start the next novel, as it involves quite a bit of research. We’ll see. I probably won’t know whether I’ll undertake NaNoWriMo until October 31 at 11:59:59 p.m.

3. I’ll still compose and share piano sketches, though intermittently for now and probably on the Dharma blog. I’m spending plenty of time with my piano, but my current focus is on working up vocals for Reflected Moon, my second music album which is in progress. I’ve already recorded the piano tracks for the album, and my current task is to record the vocal tracks and grow more and more conversant with my audio software. It’s a learning curve, a delightful one. It’s a bit bizarre, too. Usually, I play and sing my songs at the same time. Who doesn’t? Recording, on the other hand, is rather like karaoke! :)

4. I’m still getting up on the Magic Mountain for hikes from time to time. The fall foliage is nearing its peak in East Tennessee. Fall is a marvelous time of year — my very favorite season, though followed closely by Spring.

random bits, fall foliage, east tennessee, appalachian mountains

Coming Soon: TL’s Piano Music

Creatively speaking, I’m riding high these days. Can you tell?

music, piano music, piano, instrumental music, dharma, buddhism

My digital piano represents a dream I’ve had for a long time. Yes, I’ll keep writing fiction and other projects, but music has been a tremendous part of my life practically since I arrived on this earth, and its time has finally come to fly out into the wider world.

For many years, I’ve written instrumental pieces and songs. Now, with the help of my marvelous, musical machine, I’m ready to get my piano music out there. In our age of worldwide connectivity, there’s never been a better time to be an artist of any stripe, so I’m excited and having a truly wonderful time.

Currently, I’m working on my first album, which will be called Womanspirit Rising and will include instrumental versions of ten of my songs. Watch this space for information about release date and availability.

I’d also like to give everyone a heads-up on something I have planned for future Dharma posts. For each Dharma post topic, I’ll write and record a piano-based musical impression and share it along with the post. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to my music as much as I enjoy writing and sharing it.

Onward! :D