The nights are getting cooler. The days shorter. And there are moving trucks on every street around Boston. And so, alas, the 2013 Virtual Summer Reading Program has concluded.
Thirteen people participated and read 156 books! I exceeded my goal and finished six titles. In total, I will be donating $73 to the Prison Book Program.
A couple very generous folks also pledged support based on the number of books they read this summer. They will be donation $19 to the Prison Book Program and another charity. Well done!
And now for the prizes. Winners were chosen at random using the number generator at random.org. The runner up who will receive a signed copy of my book Dragonfly and River Stone is Random Michelle! And the grand prize winner of a $50 Amazon gift certificate is Sherri Lewis!
Congrats to them and to all of you for your reading success. Keep reading all year. Keep reading to kids. Keep supporting your libraries and literacy organizations. Hope to see you all next year!
My flash fiction story "The Wolfsbane Incantation" is now live at the website Every Day Fiction:
What made this more valuable was the feedback from the editors. While they accepted the story as submitted, they provided thoughtful suggestions about where the story could be stronger and how a particularly violent element of the story would not appeal to their readers. I knew I would be a fool not to take this free advice. I made several revisions and resubmitted the piece.
At the beginning of the year I set lofty goals. One thousand words a day. One blog post a week. One story submission per month. Quite poetic in its symmetry of a quantity of one task over each time span.
At the time I believed I could accomplish the goals. It would be hard and require strict discipline and focus and time management and the lack of any other factors that might possibly cause the slightest distraction. These were unrealistic goals.
- ancient Greek aphorism
The problem with committing to something unrealistic is it can be difficult to disengage, particularly if others are involved. If I commit to help a friend move a piano I will surely live up to that promise, no matter how much my back may regret it later.
When my commitments are internal, that is when I am the only one affected by the doing or not doing, it is still hard for me to renege. The completion of that task is linked to my image of myself, my self esteem, my character. If I don't complete the task I am a failure.
The end result of this cycle is obvious. Frustration. Low self-esteem. Sadness. Depression. Procrastination. Repeat.
When the commitment involves others, a promised favor, a work assignment, a relationship, letting go can be very difficult and painful. If the promise is only to myself, no matter how public I have made it, the only person who will be affected is me.