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12/24/2001
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"The Bell Tolls." Part Two

Paul Buscemi's Column for Monday December 24, 2001. Buscemiarts@hotmail.com

"That's the fact, Jack!"
- Bill Murray as John Winger in STRIPES.

I sort of feel like that character in Stripes, sometimes. From slacker to shaker. Well almost. I wasn't really a total slacker before this year. I was a partial slacker, vacillating between go-getter and dude mentalities. So I'm not a shaker either. More like a jiggler. I am a seismograph whose needle is constantly moving. No earthquakes mind you, just a lot of steady rumbling. It may not be apparent from all this, but today's column is about the year. The whole year. What was accomplished. What mistakes were made. Did I fulfill all those goals I set for myself?

I took a look back at some columns, from key points in the year for a little self-review. Don't worry; this isn't going to be like a sitcom "best of" show. You know, where you tune into your favorite show thinking it's going to be a "new" episode but it's just a bunch of clips from previous shows bracketed by a scene or two with the regular characters, "reminiscing." God forbid. However, I have kept some serious notes on everything I did this year. The year boils down to these three things:

- I did accomplish in one year, more than ever before.
- I did make one significant mistake.
- I never factored "life" into my goal-plan.

"That's the fact, Jack!"

Remember Sergeant Scribble? Okay I lied (only slightly) because here comes a "clip" from columns past. We met Scribble back in April:

"I know this guy. A military drill sergeant. His name is Sergeant Scribble - the meanest son of a No. 2 pencil that you ever met. He lives in my left-brain and he's merciless. He's constantly yelling out orders throughout the day, "alright grunt, sit down at that keyboard and give me 50 pages! Move it, move it, move it!" There's really nothing to like about Scribble. Yet, I like what he does for me."

The first six months of the year, Scribble really made a man of me. This grunt earned a stripe or two. The next six months were different. Oh, I still kept at it seriously but my productivity was down. This is where the "life" part needs to be factored into the goal plan because they're far more distractions in the latter half of the year, than the first. There are a ton of holidays to work around for one thing. And on a serious note, the world altering events of September would affect everything done this year, both before and after that tragic day. And, like so many, both personally and professionally, I re-assessed.

So you can see why Scribble lightened up on me. And in my best Bill Murray/John Winger voice I did bellow out to him at times "Burned out, Sir!" And then took a few days off to recharge.

This column started out "as a year in the life of a writer committed to launching his writing career in 2001." More importantly, this has been the story of an "everywriter."
So, on this, the eve of Christmas, I ask myself: What was accomplished this year? What advancements were made? I have an extensive, enlightening, triumphant and tragic list, which I will post next week. Stay tuned...

c.2001 Pdb

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