Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year's Resolutions I Considered, Then Rejected

Finish My Memoir

I resolved to write this book on January 1, 2014, and I still haven’t finished it yet. At last count, I had 61,132 words, which is nothing to sneeze at, but sneeze at it I must. 61,132 words really, really ought to be, if nothing else, a complete, coherent draft. It is not. It is disorganized and incomplete, and try as I might to correct this situation, it just keeps getting longer, more disorganized, and more incomplete.

This makes the second time I have tried, and failed, to write a book, if you count my undergraduate honors thesis, for which I was inexplicably given academic credit in spite of the fact that it was a steaming piece of sh*t. Lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe I should start a whole new memoir. The third time is, after all, the charm.

Write in My Diary Every Day

One of the biggest problems I have as a memoirist and essayist is remembering the things that happened to me. I’m working on this memoir, see above, and I’ll be wondering about some important plot point, like when did my grandmother die, for example, but I won’t be able to remember the exact date. So, after tearing the house apart looking for a copy of the obituary that I know I have somewhere, I’ll resort to digging up my old Facebook posts from six years ago, trying to reconstruct the events of my own life.

I used to keep a diary. Beginning at some point in grade school and continuing throughout middle and high school and into the first year of college, I wrote in my diary every single day, even if it was just one word. I had to do it. Then I had therapy and realized that I didn’t have to do it, so I stopped. I took it back up again for a few years, when I was with my psycho ex, but then I stopped again – the obvious pattern here is that I only keep a diary if I’m miserable, or backpacking across Europe.

If I’d been more consistent in my diary-keeping, I’d have so much more material, plus I’d be able to remember vital details about things, like the day I ate a panini for the first time and thought it was the best sandwich I’d ever tasted, so I spent the next nine months chasing that virgin panini high until I finally accepted that there was only one good panini in the world, and I’d already eaten it.

The thing is that I’m not in the habit of writing in my diary every day anymore, so I keep forgetting, and then after I’ve forgotten a few times, my default habit of not writing sets in and I end up not doing it for the next six months, until the diary itself turns up again. Plus, I resent feeling like I have one more thing I have to do every day – first it’s eat; then it’s eat and take a bath; then it’s eat, take a bath, and brush your teeth; then it’s eat, take a bath, brush your teeth, and make the bed; before you know it you’re 35 years old, your back hurts, and you’re busy from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep. But I still need to keep a diary so I’m gonna try doing it every second or third day instead.

Finish My Peacock Feather Afghan

Some time ago now – I’m not sure when because I didn’t write it down in my diary that I don’t keep – I decided I wanted to crochet a peacock feather afghan. But I didn’t want to pay for the pattern, so I found a peacock feather pattern on a random person’s blog and just decided I’d make a bunch of these little peacock feathers, and then sew them together.

Problem is, the peacock feathers I wound up with are tiny. They’re like five inches high. I’ve got about eighty of them and I’m going to need to make approximately seven billion more to have enough to make an afghan. Knowing my luck, they probably won’t even fit together well.

I thought I’d resolve to finish the peacock feather afghan this year, but I’d probably have to make like five peacock feathers a day just to have a shot at it. Realistically, I’m going to finish this peacock feather afghan when I’m eighty-two years old. I’ll have them bury me in it.

Lose Fifty Pounds

Oh sure, I’d really like to lose fifty pounds, but who am I kidding? At this rate, Jim’ll be lucky if I don’t just up and eat him someday. I’m not trying to sound defeatist, but I’m not trying to set myself up for failure, either. I think I’ll aim for something more attainable, like “stop eating expired food.” That’s probably a good idea, at least until we get that universal health care we’ve had our eye on.