I’m completely aware that New Year’s is an artificial inflection point in our lives. Of course it is. As a day in which the sun comes up and the sun sets, in which the normal number of things happen, it is a day like any other.
But then when you think about it, so much about human life and consciousness is artificial. By which I mean it is something learned and sought, something created and held onto; it is not a “natural” occurrence. The natural occurrences are our eating, our drinking and in the parlance of Rex Stout, the “appetites we share with dogs.”
The refinements put on those, be they gourmet cookery or marriage are inherently artificial, something we impose on a natural process for a reason.
So, since I don’t sleep naked in a tree, and since I use a whole constructed language that allows me to set events on a timeline, I’m not going to apologize for giving importance to the inflection point that is new year’s.
I will not make resolutions. I tried last year, and then life happened.
I’m also not ten or eleven, and I know one can’t change one’s entire life at a word, at the stroke of a decision, unless one is on the road to Damascus (metaphorically), and the words are “I believe” of course.
That sort of sudden irrevocable change doesn’t happen very often and it usually requires more of an incentive than “I want to change.”
My mom tells me for instance that my dad stop smoking cold turkey at 31. He’d been smoking since 14. (Not unusual for men his generation in Portugal.) But the doctor asked him which he valued more, the cigarettes or his (then) one year old daughter with frail lungs. He told him “you can continue smoking, or you can raise her.” Reportedly, dad went in the backyard, smoked one last cigarette, and threw the rest in the trash.
I understand he’s smoked a cigar four times, since then, on the birth of each of his grandson’s.
I’ve also known people diagnosed with a severe illness who are told, “stop eating this or that” or “lose a bazillion pounds” and do it, because they don’t want to die.
Those are rather immediate and potent objectives. (This is why, btw, Dwight Swain says that you should always have objectives for your characters that you can visualize. You can visualize ending up as so and so’s girlfriend, winning the contest, getting the mcguffin. World peace, lasting love, or whatever, which might be the greater objective, are harder to visualize and therefore harder to achieve.)
My main objective, just now, is to stop spinning my wheels on writing. These last two years have been a lesson in humility, as I couldn’t seem to get traction.
Now, a lot of this might be physiological, in which case, it’s getting taken care of.
At any rate, Through Fire, REALLY is almost finished, if life could stop happening to me. (The Writer and the Mystery of the Smoking Washer is not funny. Not really.)
And I suspect, though I could be totally wrong, that once that is done, the going will be easier. I hope. I don’t think I can take much more delay.
After that I hope to finish Darkship Revenge, and then the dragons, and then everything I’ve been putting off. If I’m very good and write a book a month this year, I’ll be semi-caught-up.
Is that possible? I don’t know. It used to be. I suspect a couple of months nothing will happen, since we’re trying to get this house ready to go on the market. On the good (?!) side I’ve found a couple of houses that look good, at least on paper, in the area we’d like to move to. We’ll see if this house sells fast and well enough that we can do it. (I’m not sure what it says about me that the house I’m most interested in is the one that needs a complete redecoration form the bones out. Yes, it would take time, but it’s also our chance to make it ours, something we never did here.)
But perhaps it will be just a couple of months.
I know new year’s is an artificial inflection point. And at any rate, it doesn’t matter much. But I’m going to try to start changing certain habits that don’t help with the writing. Like… I’m going to try to move my web browsing elsewhere, off this computer. Location habit is a bit part of it. I’m hoping to set up (at last) the treadmill so that I can do these posts and read comments while walking. After several attempts, I’m just going to clip a board to the treadmill and use the travel laptop.
For various reasons I suspect this will be an year of turmoil and change. Which is why I need to establish firmly that form 9 to 5 I write. I’ve done it before, and I don’t know why I wouldn’t be able to do it again.
This is not the road to Damascus. It is that other form of change. The one where you tell yourself “I’m going to take this road, and not that.”
If I work very hard, maybe it will work.
And maybe it will work for the rest of you, as well.
Two thousand and fifteen. It’s a nice number. Let’s make it the year we build, the year we finish, the year we slowly but surely discipline and train ourselves to build under, build through, build around.
2015 – make it so!