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Quarterly Report

update type of

update type of

Holy shit it’s April already. I’m due for a check on my goals for the year.

-Continuous reading
I haven’t been reading every night like I’d planned, but I make it a habit to carry a book with me everywhere now and I generally read on my lunch break at work as well. The idea to blog about each book I finish has worked out well, though there are 3 or 4 I’ve read that I just haven’t had anything to say about. Denis Johnson’s The Stars At Noon left me nonplussed and Lethem’s Girl in Landscape was so good that anything I might have said about it would have seemed pat and boring by comparison.

-Save 12% of each paycheck
Thank God for automatic withdrawals. If I don’t see the money it’s like I’m not even squirrelling it away.

-Track daily spending with a budget
lol this ain’t happening

-Daily Zazen
I finally bought a zafu and used it maybe a dozen times. Now it sits on the top shelf of the closet gathering dust. I’m hoping that once I move I can commit to a daily morning practice.

-Submit sundry stories, new and old, to at least 12 journals
I’ve submitted to three places so far this year and was accepted by two of them. The noir e-zine Crooked published my story “Trooper” early last month, and I just got word that my old thing “Lions in Summer” is in the final consideration folder for an upcoming anthology called An Honest Lie.

-Participate in NaNoWriMo 2009
I’m finally doing serious planning for this thing and working on a couple short pieces that take place in the environment of the novel. Trying to get a feel for the fucked world I’ll be inhabiting.

-Reduce car debt to below $3,400
Progress.

Begin substitute teaching
I did a lot of pussyfooting around about this and ended up missing the deadline to substitute for the Spring semester, but I’m gonna make it work for the Fall. My new place on the South side is just down the block from a Middle School, so it’d be ideal to get called in there.

EITHER

-Enter Graduate School
No luck. I have to admit that even though I had a Plan B and I felt I’d prepared myself for the possibility that no grad schools were going to take me, it was still a shock to receive all my rejection letters on the same day.

OR, Provided all rejections:

-Begin working on my teaching certification

That was the plan. But given my ambitions to get out of Austin and try new places and new things, I’ve made a new plan. I’m gonna spend this year working. I’m gonna write the damn first novel, ramp up my pub credits with short fiction, take as many freelance gigs and sub days as I can to save money, and then reapply at the end of the year. I’m building my list of programs to apply to as we speak, and here’s the punchline: I’m getting out of here whether I get in anywhere or not. This year I’m also researching the steps to get teaching certification in the other states I’m applying to grad schools, so if I don’t get into the program in (say) Chicago I can just go anyway and start working on teaching certification as soon as I get there. This way I can go somewhere new if I do get in, and if I get shut out again then I’ll just be looking at more places to choose from.

I’m 22! This is the time to make life changing decisions and move across the country and screw it all up and start all over and do it right the third time and come back home in shame or triumph depending on my work ethic and my luck and how much I drink, right? So let’s make it happen.

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About Justin Jacoby Smith

I’m Justin Jacoby Smith. Some people call me “hoosteen.” I live just outside Washington, DC. I like punk rock & country songs. I’m a data monkey. I Occupy DC, because a better world is possible. I’m a cohost & contributor for Voices of the 99%. I’ve served on the editorial board of the DC Mic Check. I briefly developed digital strategy for The Parley. I write poems. Sometimes I get published. Dig it.

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