Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Getting Those Resolutions Squared (Packed?) Away

It's only January 1, and already I'm thinking so much for any resolutions.

Not that I'd made any, formally, but I had wanted this first day of the year to contain certain... er... patterns, certain behaviors, ahem.. choices that would bode well for the year to come. No time like the present, right?

So I got out the vacuum this morning and sucked up the dust and the wood chips of the last couple of weeks. Clean sheets for the bed. I took the Maddie-dog on a fine walk up the Monument Trail in the Hurricane Wildlife Refuge. We strode through the falling snow and reveled in the hush, the freshness of it all.

Then I returned to lunch and the pursuit of literary goals. That's where it all began to hit the skids.

The novel and I are near-strangers. Once in a fit of divergent inspiration, I took off and started a new short story that didn't need all the plotting out that the novel did and does. The novel had come to feel like a pain-in-the-ass chore, a narrative-turned-term paper that hung over my days. I'd hoped to elbow that attitude aside today, but no luck. Even working more on the story looked like trouble.

Two cups of coffee, too much sugar. Nothin'.

So I finally opted for a snowy day nap and alternating books: Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew and A.J. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically--the first, a sincere effort to make sense of some of the more cryptic of Jesus' teachings, the second, an attempt by a stunt journalist to live literally by the Bible for a year.
Jacobs is the stunt journalist whose last project was to read the entire encyclopedia and to document the experience in Know-It-All. What a contrast, but for every ounce of gravitas, take one of giddiness. Both books are worthwhile. Good material for avoidance! Winter is a great gateway into lots of reading. I wish I could turn it into one for writing.

I'm feeling a bit desperate about getting back to the writing, but Yancey defines the poor in spirit to whom Jesus refers as blessed in the Beatitudes as basically desperate, so according to those lights, I am indeed fortunate. I will probably head over to Anne Lamott, my favorite Christian, a great writing advisor, for a little light on the mangled fictional mess I have made. Perhaps dipping into her wonderful Bird by Bird will help me get going again.

So it's a good thing I don't do resolutions. I can't even handle patterns, behaviors, and especially choices.


Hey there Lulu. . .i think the trick is to really make the best of your avoidance and enjoy it. I know how it is carrying writing aspirations a lifetime and waiting for the time when there is enough time. I haven't had enough time yet, so those half finished stories and attempts at something longer are unapologetically half baked. I wonder, will there ever be something different? And then, I see how wonderful the present moment is. . .the birds we froget to listen to, the smell of fresh coffee, the face of a child at play. . .

I tell my son that his writing talent will serve him well his entire life, no matter what he chooses to do. I've delivered a few good love poems that warmed some hearts.

Your blog has some great moments and that is a gift for all. Happy New Year from San Diego!
Thanks for the reminder, Debi.

And the happiest of new years to you n' Elliott.
Hey Lulu, an old journalism professor once told me the best way to bust writer's block is to just start writing and keep at it until the good stuff starts to flow again.

But my real question is, in snow like that, don't Maddie's paws get frozen? Does she have little boots?
Labrador retrievers are made for snow and cold weather. They have big ol' undercoats and the snow doesn't seem to bother their paws. She loves to bound and roll... especially roll.

Yeah, I went about getting back into writing in entirely the wrong way. I didn't play at it. I went Back To Work.

Whatta dope, eh?
A large dog who loves to roll in snow?
Oh dear, we are so different from one another.
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