Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another Zodiac's Gone Around

The new year came quietly enough. Sparkling grape juice (because it's so delicious and only major Holidays can validate the buying of it in bulk quantities), Dick Clark, and Tim Tam slams made up the advent of my 2012.

What's that? What's a Tim Tam slam? Well, let me tell you. Tim Tam's are a cookie, native to Australia and New Zealand, that can be found in the U.S. from October through March, under the branding of Pepperidge Farm. They're a sort of porous, crisp inside coated in chocolate. They are good in and of themselves but slamming them makes them divine.
Tim Tam Slam:

  • Take 1 Tim Tam cookie & 1 mug warm drink (coffee, hot cocoa, cappuccino, etc.) 
    • Warm because you do not want to scald your mouth, duly warned.
  • Carefully nibble off opposing ends of Tim Tam, so that inside is visible
  • Use Tim Tam as straw to draw liquid drink, until Tim Tam begins to disintegrate
  • Eat Tim Tam before it falls apart in your fingers
  • Achieve Nirvana

Gosh, I'd like to say that my new year resolution is to be the kind of girl I think I am in my head. A girl who makes fantastic salads from fresh exotic fruits and vegetables and likes them more than whip cream and scones. A girl who wears pretty, flowing dresses all the time and is comfortable in them. A girl with hair that curls naturally, who wakes in the morning refreshed and pleasant. A girl that keeps a pristine but welcoming home. Gee, that'd be a great resolution and boy, would I louse it up. I'd love to be that girl. I'd love to dress like the girls at A Beautiful Mess and bake like Joy every day of 2012. But I can't and I won't. I'll be inspired by them and maybe, on the weekend, I'll try my hand at a new recipe or wake up a little early to put on make up for once. But in reality, day to day? I love scones and shortbread and hot chocolate and pumpkin anything, more than I care about being a size 6. I'm a girl who loves white eyelet dresses and bright patterned tights but is most comfortable in jeans and boots and a big, slouchy sweater. My hair is straight and that's all there is to it and I'm a grumpy-gills in the morning. My house was mostly clean for new year, which I considered a personal victory, but there's no less than three pairs of kicked-off shoes in my range of vision, just this moment. So, that's not what I'll be endeavoring toward in 2012 because being honest with one's self is just as important as a resolution.

I actually surprised myself by making a resolution this year. On the last Monday of December, after having driven from my parents house to home (a fourteen hour trek), with very little sleep, I had the brilliant notion that I wanted to finish my novel in the new year. Maybe not have it published, not yet at least, but get it out, done -  a good, mostly draft. I began writing this novel in college and it's been slow going at best ever since. But I feel encouraged this time around. I have a game plan and a reward system. As an incentive, I'm converting our "office", which has been a storage room for important paper items and my desktop since we moved, into a writing room, tentatively known as the niche. (We have a thing for naming rooms things other than what they are or elaborating on the name. We have a Geek Room for all things DND, New Orleans Saints, Knitting, Bookish, and Firefly. We also have a Lilac room, so called because the walls are purple. Eventually it will be repainted but it will probably still be called the Lilac room. It's the spare bedroom, maybe in a nod to Narnia I should call it Spare Oom.) This makeover is being done on the cheap but will include another of my resolutions, file all our important papers and shred the rest. Old cork boards, prettied up with quotes, inspirations, and story ideas, newly framed pictures, and an overall Oriental theme, because I got a rug for free from church with a dragon on it. And sage green is totally my color, my vibe color, my heartbeat at rest, deep thinking, sunshiny afternoon with tea, a blanket and a good book color, my book color. (Deep red is Buddy Holly's color. Together we make brown, which we have a lot of in our decorating). I will also keep tea in this room and I may need an electric tea kettle. I'm hoping to find a chaise or big, comfy, reading chair for the corner. Someplace I can go sit aside and think or where Buddy Holly can do his thing while I'm getting my write on. This room will be inspiring and cozy, it will make me think of mountains and pounding waves, but also homemade cookies and a well-worn couch. This room will have scope for the imagination.

Once the room is finished, I will create a timeline for completion of the book. The year mapped out with important landmarks, completion of a certain number of chapters or plot points, matched with rewards, perhaps themed rewards. All of this will be tacked up on the wall in plain view. Then, of course, I'll have to sit down and actually start working on the damn thing. And, this Summer, a research trip. Fortunately (or not so fortunately), the book is set a few states away and will only require a long weekend. Next time I write a book, I'll have to set it in Norway or Ireland...or DisneyWorld. "But Dahling, (the girl I am in my head talks this way) we have to go. It's for my novel."

What intimidates me most, even with all my careful preparations, is that I'm not miserable. How can I write when I'm not in travail? I am willing to make sacrifices for my writing but I don't want to suffer for it. Is it entirely necessary to starve oneself or fall into the depths of despair? It seems so. It seems all the greats were tortured, suicidal, or held at the mercy of the critics - wracked with doubt, drugs or delusions. But then, I'm not out to be great, am I? I don't want to be Hemingway, Shakespeare, or Austen. I don't need to be a classic. I just want to write. This story is there, inside, and it wants to be written. And when I've finished that one, there will be another. Maybe none of them will see a bookshelf but, if I have anything to do with it (which I do), they'll see the light of day.

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