I survived another Christmas. Actually, I should change that, I enjoyed another Christmas. Though I drank too much. To counteract the fact that I am now probably 90% proof, I have cut out all alcohol for January so I can reset my liver and my mind and remind myself how to relax and how to enjoy myself without a drink in my hand. It had become a habit, quickly, and I want it to be a treat.
Last year my New Year’s resolution was something about feeling more confident in my writing, not calling my books small or little, not undoing my career by referring to myself as a space filler at readings or saying that a book sale is only a book sale because of pity etc etc etc. This year, I guess more of the same. Except more. This year I draw myself up to my full height and start putting myself out there in ways that are challenging, frightening. Last year I felt I was growing my wings, this year I fully intend on using them.
This is also the year that I complete my MA in creative writing. I am planning on completing a few months early, in March. I want to get it done so that I can fully involve myself in the PhD. I don’t think I am going to get the distinction that I wanted, but I am alright with that. I took a huge amount on by doing two post grad degrees at once and probably sacrificed some of the higher marks I might have obtained. Though my marks have never been low, I don’t think I have quite scooped that elusive distinction.
One of my resolutions this year is to unpack my life a little. I packed that childlessness wound so deeply and so fully with work and study and charity stuff that I do not have any time to stop. I think that was probably why I did it, subconsciously, a fear of stopping, a fear of accepting. You can’t see that the world is still if you’re running everywhere. I have been metaphorically running for a long time, but now, I don’t feel I need to. I am climbing, still, but I don’t need to run. An amazing poet and friend told me, recently, ‘there’s no shame in a couple of years between collections’ and it made me step back and look at my work. And I decided that the next collection, the one whose kernel is the MA manuscript, this one I am taking my time over. I am talking at least a year over it, I am growing it and pruning it and not hot housing it. And that goes for my life too.
Acceptance seems to be the umbrella word for the new year for me, accepting that I took a lot on, accepting that we will not have a family, accepting my flaws. But I also want it to be a year of celebration, celebrating myself and the fact that I took a lot on and I did a good job, celebrating my life in small ways, celebrating the force of good in the world. Enjoying the world, enjoying poetry, not being so career driven, choosing projects that I will enjoy.
My first submission of the year went off this week, a ‘play for voices’. My first play submission, so I already feel like I am forging forward with new directions. And one of my resolutions is to write a stage play, again, I’m going myself a year or to to do it.
Other resolutions are to ‘live a more sustainable life’ I’ve been looking into recycling and toxins in plastics, which is terrifying, and I have finally cut fish out of my diet, so no more calling myself a vegetarian and feeling guilty because I still eat fish. I am experimenting more with new recipes, and I am back to actual physical non metaphorical running! I had a cartilage tear last year, which prevented me from running the Great North Run. I’m due to have some physio, but I have managed to run without any problems this week, after about three months of not running at all, so my training has now commenced and I will be running the GNR in September. I also plan to lose more weight, I lost a stone and a half last year, It would be great to do the same this year, but I’m certainly more focused on health, and treating my body like I care about it, which I do, now. I take great pleasure in seeing what it can do.
And that’s me. Thank you for all the contributions to the JustGiving page for the baby clothes for the bereavement suite, I couldn’t get them ordered and sent before Christmas, but am on it now and will post photos when I do. We surpassed our target and came in at £310 with our contribution! It feels brilliant, amazing, to be able to give this little thing back and make a small difference, so thank you. Once I know my knee is fully recovered I shall be collecting again for the GNR, but I have a while to go yet.
Happy New Year!
**photo is of my new journal in which only magnificent writings are allowed