Thursday, January 01, 2009

Okay, A Brand New Year

I've noticed other bloggers creating Best of the Year or 2008 Favorite Lists. I'm never very interested in doing that kind of thing, in part because I'm not terribly into hierarchies. Yeah, I definitely like some books better than others. But I respect a lot of work even when I don't necessarily enjoy reading every word of it. I like a literary discussion, but I wonder if rating books isn't, well, over rated. Many books are--and should be--so different that they can't be compared or held up one above the other.

Plus, I'm not much for looking back. I nearly went out of my mind yesterday just looking at our digital photos for the last two years so that we could have prints made. You can be sure I'll be making a desperate effort not to miss any years so I don't have to go through that long, drawn out ordeal again.

While I don't care for looking back, though, I love to look forward. I've loved January for years. In fact, I'm beginning to feel that the best thing about Christmas is that it means that January is almost here.

I can really get behind any kind of new beginnings. Just buying new furniture can mean a whole new regime at Chez Gauthier. So you can imagine how excited I get about a new year.

My plans for 2009 so far:

The biggy is working on what I've been calling The 365 Story Project for a couple of years now. I tried to get started on that in 2008. When I went through my journal yesterday to prep for this year, I found that I actually did come up with some material throughout the year for 365 bits, shall we say, about some kids living on a street. My inspiration is 365 Bedtime Stories by Nan Gilbert. I have no idea how this is going to turn out because these one- or two-page stories...scenes...vignettes...for each day of the year are going to be for middle grade students. I am really experimenting here. My hope is that by writing a little bit each day about each day in the life of one or another of these kids, by the end of next year I'll have the equivalent of some kind of book. I just don't know what kind right now.

I'm off to a good start, having written something for January 1st and coming up with names for some characters and even a bit of characterization. I was doing so well that I figured, what the hell, I'll do January 2nd, too. I knew what I wanted to do and who knows? I could have forgotten by tomorrow.

I'm also going to continue working on process. Or maybe a better word would be ritual. In November and December I started trying to treat writing as a practice, the way I think of working out as a practice and the yoga I've added to my routines as a practice. This was extremely helpful in keeping me on task. I got so into my practice rituals that when I had to give them up because I had to make an all out effort for Christmas, I felt as if I was going to fall apart.

Now, I know some people, many of them my relatives, would consider that a bad thing. I, however, believe it means I was on to something. I functioned better with the practice than without it. I want my practice. I'm gong back to the practice!

The third thing I'm going to be working on in my new year is giving up reading a lot of the crap magazines that come into this house. A lot of us in our family extend the lives of magazines in order to keep them out of landfills or the mystery that is the recycling bin. (We individuals do not recycle, by the way. We sort. It is an act of faith because we don't actually know what becomes of our various sorted piles after we take them to "transfer" stations. My computer guy believes everything is "transferred" to the same incinerator. And, yet, he sorts. He goes through the motions even when he does not believe. It's sort of spiritual, isn't it?) Anyway, one of my relatives went crazy subscribing to magazines last year, and we've had a slew of junk coming into our house these past six months. I've been reading it all while on the treadmill and exercise bicycle.

That's time I should have been committing to other kinds of reading. I read fewer books this year than I have in the past, not quite breaking 100 volumes. However, I know far more about Jennifer Aniston, Anne Hathaway, and Heath Ledger than I need to. Oh, and Tom Cruise. And Nicole Kidman, for that matter...Todd Palin...Michelle Obama...Michael Phelps' mother...

So that's all over, folks. From now on I only read quality stuff like Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea.

I'm also going to finish writing Becoming Greg and Emma--again--and work on some essays and mail out some short stories and read graphic novels for the Cybils and...GASP

I've worn myself out with planning and excitment. I've got to go rest.

4 comments:

grrlpup said...

Richard Scarry had a story-a-day book that I loved when I was little-- the thought of 365 stories all together blew my mind, even though I don't remember now what any of them were. Cool project!

gail said...

I've done entries through January 3rd, even though today is only January 2nd. So far, so good!

beckylevine said...

The 365 project sounds great--I think it would really work for middle-schoolers. I'd love to "hear" more about the ritual, too!

a. fortis said...

I love the writing-related resolutions! The 365 stories sounds like a real challenge but potentially very rewarding. Over on Flickr there's a similar project called 365, where you're supposed to do a photographic self-portrait each day of the year...but while I love the idea of projects like these, I can never seem to commit to a whole year!