As the sun goes down on the final day of the year 2010, I'm researching and preparing for a new chapter in my Roam. Early next year, my lady and I will be moving to Austin, Texas. The Texas part does not sound appealing at all. Though I've never been in the state, its reputation doesn't make it a sought-after destination for me, especially not one I'd like to leave California for. But, the more I read about the city of Austin, the more eager I am to get over there.
The main reason for the move is my girlfriend's desire to attend a culinary school situated over there but it seems my own situation has had its walls cave in to the point where I've been desiring to get up and escape to somewhere else for months now. There's no doubt that I absolutely LOVE California. There is also no doubt that I cannot afford to live here right now, especially at a point where I'm ready to dive fully into my writing and see what comes of it. I also do not want to stay in one spot right now, I'm 25 and I want to see the world, experience different places, learn how to support myself as an adult in different environments, before settling down in one city, however beautiful that city may be.
I plan on writing a big post devoted to all the things I'm going to miss in San Diego. I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of this city's treasures since I've been here and so, as a goodbye campaign, we're planning on taking a couple weeks to just see and do everything that we can here before heading eastward.
That fact, that I'm going a couple time zones eastward now bothers me a bit. After living in the Eastern time zone my whole life, California felt like Never, Never Land. I was always able to comfortably watch the entirety of any live sports game without having to stay up past 10 PM and, more generally, it always felt special being among the last people in the contiguous United States who get to see the sun before it sets each day. Right now, as I type this it's 4:30 and still light out. My livingroom window, which faces directly south, shows the bright glimmers of the sun's rays breathing their last breath of 2010 all over the small courtyard of my apartment complex.
At first, the prospect of heading back eastward felt like going backwards. In 2008, I escaped Staten Island and traversed westward across the whole country to settle in the most southwestern corner of the map and I had fantasies of moving further out to Japan after that. Instead, I'm going back eastward to be immersed in the middle of the mix again. Reading about things like the "Keep Austin Weird" campaign, the city's proud status as the Live Music Capital of the World, and some other cool facts on Wikipedia (voted as the city with best people in Travel & Leisure magazine), I'm able to be much more accepting and even excited about trying out the new city.
Apparently, Austin is also the most active metropolitan area in the US when it comes to reading and writing blogs and, as I plan to take this blog (and my writing overall) to the next level in 2011, what better location could I choose as the center of my activities?
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Plenty of great happenings happened in 2010, not least of which is that this blog grew greatly in readership and content. I started it in late 2009 but barely wrote in it. It was 2010 when things really took off and I was mentioned on ESPN.com and the James Joyce Quarterly website. The posting content has slowed down a bit since then as I've devoted more of my free time to studying Joyce and watching too much basketball while my un-free time was spent at an increasingly stressful and low-paying job. Well, I'm quitting that job next week and will be devoting much work and attention to this site next year, especially once we get settled in Austin.
Here are the main writing projects on the agenda (what you might call "The 2011 Writing Projects on Which I Plan to Labor Resolutely"):
1 - The completion and presentation of my essay concerning James Joyce-Salvador Dali-Jacques Lacan. I am in the final stages of studying for this and will then bring it all together and submit it for presentation at the 2011 North American James Joyce Conference (for which, hopefully, I'll get to come back to SoCal). You can check out the early epiphanic realization that led to this essay if you read this post and scroll down a bit.
2 - My in-depth, chapter-by-chapter breakdown and study of Ulysses. I've been talking about this ever since I finished the book exactly 364 days ago. I've got plenty of notes already put together for it but still have a lot more work to do on it and this will be what I imagine I'll be working on most of the time in Austin. No matter how huge or awesome (or lame) it is, I will be posting the entire thing on this blog. People have told me that I shouldn't, that I should try to protect such work and copyright it, but I consider it to be a warm-up to the rest of my writing career. Same thing with the Portrait essay that's on here (and which is the prelude to the Ulysses project). I want to provide a full, in-depth, free online source to help people read and understand Joyce's amazing book. You can bet that I'll also be drawing in much of my other interests (like hip hop music) for the study and so it'll be a unique and entertaining experience.
3 - A possible book project with two of hip hop's best current lyricists. I won't delve into it though until it's official. But it's up there on the immediate agenda.
4 - When those things are done, the composition of my novel A Building Roam will then begin. The book documents my journey from growth in New York, migration to California, flutterings and sputterings in California, and eventual rise to artistic glory in....wherever the hell I end up.
5 - Of course, while all that is going on I will also stay active on here writing about sports, music, literature and a bunch of other stuff. With the addition of my iPad, I will try to document the move to Austin as much as I can because I imagine it'll be pretty exciting.
Happy New Year!