A little zen saying to start off the New Year. I had all sorts of good intentions for my week off — I had freelance projects on deck, and I really really really need to get back to the memoir, which I’ve neglected shamefully in the last couple of months as my “real” job at the Big Company has gotten way better, but also way busier.
But as I zoomed through the past couple of months, packing 3 jobs into every day, zinging from deadline to deadline, making them all but driving myself a little crazy in the process I wound up doing what I always do when I have too much work and am determined to get through it all. I got sick.
I could blame it on Nina’s Twins — we love them but they are our Little Vectors of Illness — infecting everyone in their path this holiday season with a particularly virulent head cold complete with a sort of sleeping-sickness component. However, I probably would have fought off the baby germs if I hadn’t been run down from working seven days a week for months. So, what did I do with my week off? A little work for the Big Company (to make up for some previous unforseen computer down time), some freelance copyediting, but mostly, a lot of sitting on the couch blowing my nose while watching old movies.
So, because it’s that time of year — a few resolutions:
- Stealing from a favorite site, Mental Multivitamin — “Promise yourself more than twenty minutes daily to think, a space-time into which nothing and no one can creep without your express mental invitation. It is in this quiet zone that you will uncover your creativity.”
- In the service of all that — I’ve let the television creep up on me. This sometimes happens when one lives alone — like a fireplace, but more intrusive, the Box burbles away in the corner, in my case usually with the sound off and the closed captioning on, but nonetheless, the Box is definitely on too many hours a day in my household — so this resolution is to turn it off, especially on those nights when there’s just nothing on that I actually want to watch. On those nights when I’m aimlessly channel surfing, or watching back-to-back reruns of Law and Order, I hearby resolve to turn it off, turn some music on, and read a book.
- I’m sort of interested in the idea of the 50 Book Challenge, although due to my hatred of group activities I probably will only blog about it here, if at all. But a book a week used to be perfectly normal for me, if not more. Granted, after Patrick died, I found I couldn’t read anything more complicated than a magazine for months, but in the past year my brain has indeed come back to me. In particular, I’d like to read those Virginia Woolf novels I’ve not read yet, and I’m also on a Graham Greene kick right now.
- Like the tv, the internets have also crept up on me. So much easier to surf from blog to blog in an evening, while watching mediocre television, than it is to turn it all off and actually read a book, to let some real space open up in one’s head. So, like the tv, I resolve to unplug more often, and go back to old-fashioned analog technology … the bound and printed page.
- With any luck, these little resolutions will help me get my work done without that thrumming sense of anxiety and panic that fueled so much of the last three or four months (and that I’m sure contributed to my susceptibility to the Vectors of Illness), and will help open up that part of my creative brain I need to work my way back toward in order to finish this book. I’m also toying with the idea of taking a stab at some short fiction again, but that’s not quite a resolution yet. Short stories were never my strong suit, but I have a few little ideas percolating … we’ll see.
So, those are the “resolutions” I’m thinking about as the calendar rolls over this year. Mostly I’d like to get more work done with less of that panicky feeling. “Never hurry. Never rest.” Pace oneself. Take time off to breathe. Turn off the stuff coming into one’s house. Read a book.