Happy New Year!
I am well aware that we are more than two weeks into the new year, but you know what they say – better late than pregnant! How is 2018 working out for your so far? Most importantly, how many New Year’s Resolutions have you kept? According to the Huffington Post The first two weeks of the year are the easiest to stay committed, with 75 percent of people maintaining their resolution through the first week and 71 percent through the second. 6 months into the year, that number drops to less than half.
I’ve decided not to make any this year. It’s not because I’m afraid to make a commitment (the fact that it took me 5 years and one false start to marry A Very Good Man notwithstanding). I’ve simply reached a point in my life where I refuse to set myself up to failure. Every year I make resolutions, and every year I fall short. Even the idea of making “new daily habits” feels like an opportunity to set myself up for failure. This year, I am making vows instead. Even if I fail, it’s NBD – people break their vows ALL THE TIME.
Actually, I have one vow this year. I vow to try. I will try new things. I will try to break out of old patterns which no longer serve me, and create new ones which do. I vow to write on a daily basis, even if it’s only to say that “I have nothing to say today” or “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.
Sigh. I can see myself breaking my vow already. Writing is hard. I have vowed to write every day before, and I haven’t succeeded yet. The past few years have been hard, but last year was one for the recordbooks – a year filled with loss and heartbreak that completely derailed my creative endeavors.
But it’s a new year, and I’m starting again. So far this year I have started 3 new pieces. I might, one day, finish them, but I doubt it. As a procrastinator and a perfectionist, finishing what I started is a hard vow to keep – which is why I am vowing to TRY.
Most importantly, I vow to use The Daily Post’s #Dailyprompt as a jumping off place. Somewhere to start a piece every day, whether or not I finish it. In fact, I vow to post something every week, even if it’s not “finished” (what? Submit something for public view that isn’t perfectly polished? How shocking!)
Today’s prompt surprised me. I thought “shock” would be an easy jumping off place for my New Year’s Resolution my year’s vow. I assumed that today’s post would be cake (mmmmmm. cake!) until I saw the definition of “shock” (courtesy of mirriam webster)
1 : the impact or encounter of individuals or groups in combat
2 a : a violent shake or jar : concussion
b : an effect of such violence
3 a (1) : a disturbance in the equilibrium or permanence of something (2) : a sudden or violent mental or emotional disturbance
b : something that causes such disturbance ·the loss came as a shock
c : a state of being so disturbed ·were in shock after they heard the news
4 : a state of profound depression of the vital processes associated with reduced blood volume and pressure and caused usually by severe especially crushing injuries, hemorrhage, or burns
5 : sudden stimulation of the nerves and convulsive contraction of the muscles caused by the discharge of electricity through the animal body
The EIC started in right away –
“Oh, this is going to be hard – there are a lot of topic choices! Way too many choices! How can someone who’s having trouble getting started succeed when faced with so many choices? Which one of them is the “right” choice? You should wait until tomorrow. As Scarlett told us “Tomorrow is another day”.
The Evil Inner Critic is an asshole, whose voice gets louder if you try to ignore him. It’s best to address him/her calmly yet firmly.
“Bite me (so much for my vow to remain calm). “I vowed to write every day, and I’m starting today. I’m not letting the multiple definitions stop me. I choose to think of all the possibilities they provide”.
“Good luck with that.”
“I could write about the increased number of concussions in youth sports and associated health risks”
“Been done to death” replies the EIC.
“I could write a piece about a shock of corn”
“Maybe a piece about the phrase “shock and awe” (with its own subset of trite phrase, movie and/or book”?
“Or I could write about ECT (aka electroshock therapy).”
Silence (he must be sleeping).
As it so happens I am currently listening to Carrier Fisher’s audiobook Wishful Drinking*. She opens by admitting that ECT caused her to lose some of her memory. It’s just that ECT has forced me to rediscover what amounts to the sum total of my life. I find that a helluva lot of it fills me with a kind of giddy gratitude. Some of my memories will never return. They are lost—along with the crippling feeling of defeat and hopelessness. Not a tremendous price to pay when you think about it. Totally worth it!
At least she has a valid excuse – the only excuse I have for my CRS (Can’t Remember S…stuff) disease is Oldtimer’s Syndrome. I prefer Sherlock Holmes’ explanation that our memory is like a mind attic – and that we only have so much room to store stuff (time to get rid of those boxes filled with childhood games and nursery rhymes). For those of you too young to know who Sherlock Holmes is, think of the brain like a hard drive. Evidently mine needs to be defragged to free up some memory (on another note, you need to watch Sherlock immediately, if not sooner. Benedict Cumberbatch is AMAZING).
Where was I? Oh yeah, having a whole slew of definitions makes it difficult to start a piece, and not starting makes it hard to finish – which brings me to here and now. Without a good “jumping off” place, my weasel brain flits from thought to thought, and everything is put down on paper. I usually spend most of the day editing a piece – spending so much time deleting and searching for the perfect word that I am unable to polish a piece to my satisfaction, which is why I have 3 unfinished pieces this year (for a total of 6 in my “drafts” bin).
But I vowed to publish a piece, and (seeing that we’re still in our honeymoon phase), I’m not ready to break it. So here you go. My first (completed) piece for the new year. It’s far from perfect, but I’m going to try giving myself permission to make mistakes. After all –
*That’s not exactly true. I finished it last night.