What I'm looking forward to in 2016....
Retirement. On Jan. 15, I will work my last day at the Wyoming Arts Council in Cheyenne. I was among the fortunate to have a job that I loved. I depart the WAC on the eve of its 50th birthday, which comes up in 2017. It has nurtured the arts throughout the state. Sure, I'm a liberal artsmonger, but Wyoming's cultural world would not be what it is today without all of us working toward the same goals. It took me awhile to shut up and listen when I went into communities, to find out what their residents wanted instead of telling them what was best. This is a good strategy for all of us. In fact, if I were asked for my hard-earned advice on the matter, I would reply, "Just listen."
Publishing. I have a roomful of written work awaiting publishing. To date, I have published one book of short stories and numerous stories and essays in magazines and journals. But there remains a lot of work that's yet to see the light of day and the eyeballs of readers. Suire, I've been sending stuff out. But the act of writing is comprised of several full-time jobs. First, the creation. Second, the publishing. Third, the promotion. During my career as a professional writer/editor/bureaucrat, I've been able to do the creation part. But those other two parts? Not so much. It was fascinating to hear Kent Nelson's publishing strategy at last summer's Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference in Cheyenne. Kent, a one-time squash champion and lapsed attorney, keeps his stories circulating, up to 20 at a time. When one is rejected, he sends it back out into the world. In this way, he's managed to publish many books and scores of stories. But it takes time, and attention, and that's what I plan to do with my new-found time and my lagging attention span.
Presidential elections. Yes, I also cringe when I think about it. Republican bloviators such a Trump make me fear for the future of our republic. "Make America Hate Again" is not a winning slogan. As one who has blogged frequently about the paranoid excesses of U.S. conservatives, I am not surprised that Trump has found a footing among them. Scared Old White People (SOWP) make up his base. As an Old White Person (OWP) myself, I am glad to report that I am not among the scaredy-cats.
Traveling. I have traveled extensively in the U.S., at least traipsing through all of the states in the lower 48. But I've only been overseas twice. I plan to remedy that in retirement, with trips planned to Italy and Mexico with more to come. Chris and I are curious travelers. Maybe I should say that, as travelers, we value curiosity. When we find ourselves in a new place, we like to roam around and check it out. Never know what you'll find.