Monday, January 4, 2010

it starts today

Most people can't stand the idea of making new year's resolutions. The problem is that most set goals so lofty a pole vaulter couldn't clear them. They wanna erase their 15,000-dollar debt, they wanna lose 40 pounds (when they only need to lose 10), they wanna quit smoking, red meat, and video games, all at the same time. They wanna find the man or woman of their dreams. They wanna write a hit play and direct it. And they wanna do it all before the end of January, June at the very latest.

I've always liked the idea, however. It's a bit of a ritual for me to make a list at the beginning of the year and then re-visit that list at the end of the year -- how did it go? Did I accomplish what I wanted to? Did I fall short? Did the failure of one thing make way for something even better or happily unexpected?

I call these things intentions rather than resolutions. "Intent" gets everyone in the universe in on the game, and why not make it a game? Why take yourself so seriously? Most of all, forget the damn deadline. Every day is another today, and every moment is another now. Begin when you're ready to begin.

There are some intentions that I refuse to share with anyone. These are very private, special intentions for the betterment of my life on every level. Others are more superficial, but no less important. These I don't mind letting you in on. So here are a few:

Post here at least once a day during the work week. This gets so hairy from mid-term on, so I should modify the intention to find the time to post at least once a day. More specific still, find the right time to post. I somehow had it in my head that I should post first thing in the morning, and tried to write the post the night before. Didn't work.

It's possible that my lack of routine also has to do with my still-questionable rhetorical purpose for the blog, despite the description underneath the blog's name. It has evolved quite a bit since conception, from face lifts to name changes to content, but I still wonder if anything I say here is worth a grain of salt, or whatever the metaphor is. I still wonder about my audience. Am I writing for my Faking It Fans? Am I writing for writers? For readers? For my buddies? For me? All of the above? If it's all of the above, can I accommodate all of the above? Hmmmm...

Finish *Why I Love Singlehood*. I promised you tales from my writing partner's and my cram session a couple of weeks ago, and I shall deliver. We still have a lot to do, but we're still excited about it. This will be my writing partner's first published book (I keep telling her that makes her an author, but it hasn't sunk in yet), and I think I'm more excited about watching her go through the experience of holding it in her hands, seeing her name on the cover, opening it up and smelling the pages (yes, we do that in my family), and saying out loud, "Holy crap, I wrote a novel!" than my own accomplishment. Besides, I have two more novel ideas waiting to be born. At least two. I need a time machine. I need a gazillion sales so I can quit my day job. Or I need to have a robot made in my image and send her into the classroom in my place. (The robot idea is way cooler.)

Pick up my guitar again. And play it, too. I don't know what got into my head or what triggered it, but I haven't played since the summer. I'm hearing the same voices that I heard when I was ten, how it doesn't come as easily to me as it does my sibs, how I have to work twice as hard at it, how I need lessons and want to spend the money on other things (like shoes, or a Volkswagon Beetle), and so on.

And yet, I know that I have musical ability, if not talent. I have the aptitude to play for fun if I just practiced and committed myself and told the damn voices to go to hell. I mean geez, I at least know enough chords to play in a punk rock band.

But this is what connects me to my students when they tell me how much they struggle with writing, when it doesn't come easily to them, when they can't quash their own voices. I understand.

Have fun, and be awake. This intention applies to every aspect of my life. It frightens me how quickly these last ten years flew by. I don't want to be unconscious for the next ten. Obviously I don't mean consuming large quantities of Red Bull just so I can catch another three hours of Law&Order CI re-runs. I mean being mindful of the things I do in my life, appreciating the little things, and following my bliss, which is not just an expression used for commencement speeches, but something that requires consciousness. I always too Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield's slogan "If it's not fun, why do it?" to heart, but it seems that lately I've been making too many excuses. No mas.

What are your intentions for 2010? Where in your life can you be more mindful? What projects await your completion (or your beginning)? Are there voices in your head stopping you from greatness? Are you having fun?

Happy New Year, friends.


Elspeth Antonelli said...

"Voices in your head stopping you from greatness"?? My goodness, Elisa that sounds familiar!

My intentions? (such a good word, by the way) Finish my manuscript. Edit sucker. Start toward publication. Everything else is small cheese.

OH! And enough money to buy really, really good shoes. So much money that I don't feel guilty about spending it.


Heather said...

Personally, I think the voices in my head help make me great, or crazy, or a little of both. ;) Good list of intentions! I hope you realize all of them, and then some. I keep a journal and have noticed that when I write out my goals, I'm much more likely to get there. And with your determination and talent, I'm sure you'll accomplish these!

Elisa said...

Beth: What was that about cheese?

Heather: Thanks for the kind words. I do the same w/ my journal and find it just as helpful. Ditto w/ talking to some of those voices, whom I suppose ultimately become characters.

Shoes all around!!