January 28, 2013

Belated New Year's Resolutions

Yes, I'm a little late with my new year's resolutions. But, hey...January's not over yet.
Do you make them? I don't. I mean I have, maybe once or twice in my life, but as a rule I don't believe in them. Why bother? Does anyone ever keep them? I think everyone resolves to lose weight or quit smoking and then on January 2nd the resolutions go up in a puff of smoke and a chocolate eclair.
But this year I decided I'm going to give this another shot. Why? No clue, but here they are:
1. Quit smoking
Okay, so I don't smoke. I thought I should have at least one resolution with a 100% probability of success. I did smoke, when I was young, when it was still cool and we didn't know it was going to blacken our lungs and kill us. Then I quit - 30some years ago. Thank god. It's such a stupid thing to do - draw smoke into your lungs and pollute the air around you and stink up your clothing. Oops, I'm jumping down off that soap box now. Sorry, I know how tough it is to quit, but DO IT NOW.
2. Write for at least five minutes every day.
That doesn't seem so hard, does it? I can certainly write more than that, but to have some discipline about my writing, five minutes a day is a great goal. This is a tip I learned from one of my writing coaches, Jerry Cleaver, and it's a good one. The least that happens is I get five minutes of writing done, but the most? Sky's the limit; I finish my story/novel/article/poem, write a new chapter, discover new characters...it's all about sitting down and not getting distracted by the Internet or TV or a book or the state of my nails. It's all about just doing it. Maybe if I stick to this resolution my second novel won't take eight years like the first one. Actually, I'm about 3/4 of the way through the first draft of The Ones You Left Behind, and I'm very excited about it.
(I also like Melanie Thorne's Not-Resolutions for writers so I'm going to add them to my writing list. Since they're faux-resolutions they don't seem so daunting.)
3. Take French classes.
Ah, c'est une bon idee! I envy people who went to Europe when they were young, traveling on a Eurail Pass (do they still have those?), sleeping in garrets, smoking Gauloises. Why didn't I do that? Maybe because I grew up in Toledo and no one I knew was doing that. I had only been on an airplane once by the time I was 18 so traveling to Europe never occurred to me. I'm sorry I didn't have that experience as a kid but, I'm not dead yet so I can still do it. It'll be a different experience, of course, and I'll have to do it differently now: no garrets (not that a garret was ever my style), and definitely no Gauloises. But at some point I want to live in Paris. At least for a little while. So, this year I'm going to brush up on my high school French.

Alright, enough with the resolutions. No need to get carried away here.
Did you make any? What are they? Will you keep them?

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