2011 was full of ups (great stuff, great publications, good work) and downs (many, many, many different flavors of rejection. All of them draining), and I want 2012 to be super great. Here’s some semi-public resolutions.
1) Write something that gets mentioned on Long Reads. Or, to be more succinct, write a story about something that I’m obsessed with, to the point of mania. I’ve been happy with what I’ve written but there’s a bit of a difference between obsession and practice, let’s say. When I was in a class last spring, what I got most was, “okay, this is well written, but do you even care about the guy? I can’t tell what you’re thinking.” Things like that sometimes feel a little… telling, I guess. Work in 2012 is going to be wrenching and full of feelings. But not unprofessionally so!
1A) The problem with reading John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead is that you then, instinctively, want to go on the most JJS-friendly adventure possible just so you can write about it with a modicum of his charm and skill. Sadly, two events that were loaded with potential passed me by since Thanksgiving, but that’s been because I’ve been off-and-on sick since then - and when I haven’t been sick, my guy has been either sick or in the hospital on Christmas Night with a stomach flu! - so I’m just tired.
1B) Hitting the limits of writing things under my name, to a degree. It may be freeing to go anonymous.
2) Work on a nonfiction book proposal. Hopefully in February.
3) Finish project X, sell it: that’s the current job. (Get at me, agents and editors. For real.) One thing that’s funny is that, well, the title of my project is definitely inspired by a Pulp song, so it’s really awesome that Pulp is hitting America in April.
4) Be more selfish. I have a mother who is wonderful, but as the mother of five children, she is fantastic at putting other people’s happiness before her own. And I think I’ve learned, somewhat, from her example and have become a people pleaser. That’s a fine skill, but I need to make sure to do things that are good for me as well.
5) Read well. I read voraciously, but not always well. I had an Elin Hildebrand period this summer. I love pulp books by Iowa writers slumming. But I just want to read good things - I burned through The Diary of a Part-Time Indian yesterday, and while the plotting was episodic, overall, the careful choice in words was just so refreshing and good to read. Moby Dick’s next. This is a year of autodidactism.
6) Get a hobby. Self-explanatory.
7) Break a bad habit. In this case, I think I may lay off the movie blogs from now until… after the Oscars, I suppose. I have a weakness for grumpy old men of the internet (why do I read Hollywood Elsewhere, when it’s obvious Jeffrey Wells is not a very nice person? Because he’s clearly a believer in the transcendental power of a good film, underneath the crankiness? Not a good enough reason! And while I have a soft spot for Armond White, I don’t really need to know what he thinks about a film. I can usually guess it. And why read The Playlist and Deadline? For once, it would be pretty great to see a movie without knowing anything about it. It would be really nice). So, yeah, lay off movie blogs. Except for maybe reviews of Joachim Trier’s new movie when it plays Sundance. But that’s it.
8) Move. Also self-explanatory. I want to move to a different city and to get an apartment that I can nest in and outfit to my delight. My current location is no good for me - it’s one of those places with limited opportunity, a limited amount of people, and when you’re in a place like that, just not getting depressed is a genuine accomplishment. Which stinks! So I will move to someplace vibrant and pretty this year. Someplace with a lot of sun. I am working on making that happen sooner rather than later. I hope it works!