Monday, 6 January 2014

New Years Revelations

1) It is apparently much easier to blog on a regular basis when you are unemployed and/or only partially employed, broke, bored, and living with your parents. (See 2011.)

2) Last year I traveled over 30,000 kilometres, give or take a few, to promote a book. My book! Strange how that still doesn't feel old. CRAZINESS.

3) As of December 28th, 2013, I am officially an auntie! How amazing is that?

4) Starting the new year off with the flu feels like a bad omen. But I refuse to believe this. Instead, I will choose to believe that I am merely doing away with all of the suck of 2014 in the first week of the year. Yay!

5) Ms. January is an awfully nice calendar girl. 

6) What a year of blessings 2013 was. I am so grateful.

I'm big on New Year's Resolutions. Without fail, every December sees me getting ready for the new year, excited about what Big Things I might accomplish once that clock ticks over into the first minutes of January. This year I will: learn Spanish! Learn guitar! Write more letters! Run every day! Etc. etc. And inevitably my enthusiasm peters out halfway through the month, replaced by that all-too-familiar sense of ennui, those feelings of being overwhelmed, of not being up to the task. The seduction of spending a night in front of the TV instead of doing something else. Reading. Writing. Playing an instrument. Scrawling out one of those letters I was so excited about at the beginning of the month.

I've always had eyes that are a little too big for my stomach. I've somehow managed to make that work because there's a hidden streak of Leduc stubbornness hiding in me, somewhere, that comes out every now and again. Of course I'll finish my dinner, even though I'm about to burst. Because I can. Because I'll be damned if that Other Person who saw me put too much on my plate gets to say I told you so. 

In life, as with food, my eyes tend to be a little big. Every January sees me put Big Dreams into place, and when they don't come to pass I'm always scrambling to cover it up. Yes, I can blog and read and work and go on book tour and finish that draft of the new novel right in the midst of my travels! Of course! Why not? Yes, I can carry 50+ pounds of stuff with me from province to province and then overseas because I'm young and hale and hearty and this is what I want, isn't it, to travel and meet other readers and writers and be prepared for whatever I come across?

I was tired, when I finally got home at the beginning of November. Tired, and sore, and it made me think about my body and my strength in ways that I haven't done up until now. You think you'll be young forever, and then one year you go backpacking for three months and suddenly your hips hurt, suddenly your left leg won't do exactly what you want it to do anymore, suddenly your feet betray you. Suddenly, rest is the foremost thing on your mind.

So this year, this Year After The Book, I am trying to come to peace with the quiet.

Several weeks ago, I went to see Sheila Heti speak in conversation with Jian Ghomeshi and Mark Medley, as part of PEN Canada's Ideas in Dialogue series. It was a conversation about writing about the self, and how this has changed in our hyper-aware, hyper-technological era. At one point, Sheila talked about how she loved living in Toronto because the pressure to always be on does not exist in TO, or it doesn't exist to the same degree that it does in other cities such as, say, New York. This struck me, not least of all because I always feel some sort of pressure--to be on, to be producing, to be creating and engaging with others and "building my author profile" and going to lots of sexy literary events and on and on. And sure, if I was to try living in a place like New York for a while, the pressure would no doubt feel wildly different. But for me, somehow, it's still there. I am looking at all of the wonderful things that might happen, all of the possibilities--that dazzling plate of What Could Be in a given year--and feeling pressure to engage in all of it. And in so doing, in trying to engage with everything, certain things are falling back.

I did not, for example, blog as much as I wanted to last year. Nor did I write as much as I would have liked. And I recognize that other things were going on, of course, and you can't do everything all of the time. But this year I would like to get back to that--to have a year of simple joys, and quiet pleasures, and just strive to be grateful as much as I can for what gifts the past year has brought, and what gifts this new year might hold deep within its as-yet-unopened days.

No pressure, this year. What happens, will happen. I will get involved with things, and be excited about things, and hopefully I'll write as much as I can and read and do all of the things I'd like to do, yes. But if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen--and I won't beat myself up about it.

Revelations this year instead of resolutions. And being thankful for what gifts might come.

Sounds like a plan, I say.

1 comment:

  1. I was waiting for an echo, and this post was it. xxx