Tag Archives: Change

It’s Been A Long Time Coming

Obama MakeoverDid you do it? Did you make those same 5 resolutions for the New Year? Exercise, write every day, no sugar, stop slouching, pay the bills on time.  Is this the year? Will you actually do it? Are you ready for a makeover, a new reality? The Biggest Looser? The Bachelorette? The Next Iron Chef? What will you do? Who will you be? What will you walk away from, begin anew, choose, risk, change?

Here’s how you start.

Make a list. Draw or paint or color a picture. Listen to Sam Cooke. Get a haircut. Talk to an old friend over tea and toast. Meditate, or just pretend to meditate. Buy new underwear. Look for signs. Touch someone. Touch yourself if no one’s around. Eat vegetables. Be kind. Forgive.

The last one is really hard. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. You can let go of things, let time slide by and not think about them, forget them, carry on with conversations, daily rituals, a peck on the cheek, a joke, a call home, a yoga class. But it is not the same as forgiveness. Forgiveness is the onerous work of accepting flaws and faults and mistakes and cruelty and indifference. It is cracking your heart wide open, letting shame and fear bleed out, reaching parts unknown and dangerous, wounds long ago scabbed over.

It does not mean you are a doormat. It does not mean you let people crap on you. It means you understand. It means, to use an overused new age term that brings a little vomit up in the back of my throat sometimes, but nonetheless seems to fit, you are grounded.

So forgive me, and I will forgive myself for taking so long to write a New Year’s post. I am already putting 2013 instead of 2012 on my checks, so the year has turned the corner. But I offer you a new look for my blog (it’s a pretty standard template but it seemed easier to read) and a new page tracking the books I read in 2013. I am focused on my physical health this year, as 2012 brought a few setbacks. I am also trying to make a change, although I’m not sure I can even define what that change is. It feels big though. Like Eat, Pray Love on crack, minus the movie deal.

Hope you hang in there with me. Hope you have a few of your own tectonic plates shifting around inside this year, bringing you change and hope and forgiveness.





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New Year’s Revolutions

Every year I go there. I make a list-sometimes in my head, sometimes scratched in a journal. I make resolutions, resolve to change. Every year they are pretty much the same. Eat better, exercise more, write a book, improve my posture, learn another language, get a better handle on finances, stop hating myself.

This year I would prefer a revolution. I need things to happen more quickly. Let’s face it. I just need something to happen. For once I would really like to win a battle, if not the war.

So I pick writing.

It’s not that I don’t want the other things. I do. But I need focus. I need a more singular purpose. If along the way a few other things fall in place, well that’s icing on the cake. But this year, damn it, I’m writing.

So here’s what I want to do:

1) Keep track of what I’m reading. Make notes on things that inspire or teach me. Read books that will help me be a better writer. Keep it all in one notebook-what I read, what I want to read, what I think about what I’m reading-and review it from time to time.

2) Write 4 times a week no matter what. Blogging does not count. Try and blog twice a week but do not use blogging to keep me from writing. Use blogging to motivate, to learn from others, to confess or yearn or laugh.

3) Focus on the novel. Do not decide one day, I should really clean up these short stories and send them out because maybe I’ll get one published and that will motivate me. Sounds nice. You’ve tossed it around a bit. But the truth is, it takes just as much focus to work on the short stories and I want to finish a novel. I want to send out and get rejected for a novel. I want to publish a novel. I want a few people to read my novel.

4) Take at least one workshop and go to at least one conference. Jump into “the life” in whatever way you can. Go to readings, find good blogs, listen, learn. Treat this like you are studying to become a brain surgeon. Why would you skip the class on the occipital lobe?

5) Block out the novel. Start giving it more shape. Use index cards or files or whatever tricks there are to give it a beginning, middle and end. This will not appear to you in a dream. Work at it.

6) Stop being stingy with what you write. It’s ok if I write 30 pages about a character that never makes it into the book. It will help get me where I need to go.

7) Stop buying office supplies. You have enough cute folders and spiral notebooks and cool pens to write 3 novels.

8) Finish a complete draft of the novel by the end of this year so you can go back to the other resolutions. Pray that by then I don’t weigh a million pounds and look like a hunchback.

That’s my revolution. Did I leave anything critical out?

Do you have a New Year’s revolution? We all want to change the world.


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