July 21, 2008

After reading this passage by Joan Didion, “Had he not warned me when I forgot my own notebook that the ability to make a note when something came to mind was the difference between being able to write and not being able to write?” I decided that I needed to find a journal-type book or notepad to keep with me at all times for when ideas strike me. A friend had recently given me many story ideas and interesting observations through the course of our several heart-to-hearts. I knew there were quite a few of them floating inside my head, but I was surprised to see when I wrote them out on paper that they filled three complete pages. Yes, I thought, this journal is a good idea.

The book I chose is a little snobby. It’s black leather on the outside, suede on the inside covers and snaps shut, as if my ideas were too important to be unsecured. I think that’s why I like it.

The book was a Christmas present from an ex-boyfriend’s mother. Besides this journal, she had given me about five other notebooks and twelve packs of pens supplemented with a card saying, “Live your dreams! Write every day! Dare to soar!” and other clichés. This because the ex told her I hadn’t written anything since I graduated from college three years ago. I was livid but pretended to like the condescending gift.

I had only used it once. When I opened the book yesterday, I was delighted to find the heading “2008 Resolutions.” We will go through my resolutions for 2008 one by one. This, I feel, is appropriate because 2008 is more than halfway over and one needs guidance to see how well one is doing with one’s plans for the year (even when one has no recollection of writing said resolutions).

1. Give into cravings once a week (i.e. burritos)

I am in love with this resolution for several reasons. I think it says multitudes about me and my personality. First, I cannot remember a time ever in life when I didn’t give into my food cravings. I love food. I love, love, love food. This means I have to be careful how much I eat, because looks are deceptive and I can fit many, many slices of pizza or chicken wings into my stomach and still feel comfortable. But being careful and giving into cravings are not mutually exclusive. I wrote this while living in San Francisco, a city that boasts so many taquerias that there are several web sites devoted specifically to solving the age-old question of “What taqueria truly makes the greatest burrito in SF?” The burritos could lure me back up north in a heartbeat. The fact that one of my best friends lives an hour from the city, not so much. This shows where my true loyalty lies.

In any case, this resolution doesn’t make sense.

2. Learn how football works

I am altogether baffled. Why did I want to learn how football works? Did I know someone obsessed with football? No. Was I trying to impress a guy with my seemingly innate knowledge of the game? No. Then what? Did I really, truly want to learn how football “works”? The answer is no, although I wouldn’t necessarily mind finding out what downs are. But to write this as a New Year’s resolution? Lame.

3. Blog more

Finally, one that makes sense. Blog more. Yes. What this really means is “write more,” but I think I was too scared to actually put that down on paper because then it would become more concrete and I would have to look at the word “write,” which would inevitably make me feel guilty and lazy. So “blog more” it is. That’s a good resolution, one I maybe meant to keep but haven’t really followed up on. But, if I’m thinking optimistically for once, there’s still five months left in 2008.

4. Read one book a month

This one makes me sad inside. Reading has always been my favorite thing ever. I blame my horrific eyesight on my love of reading. I’m sure that my need for glasses in second – yes, second – grade was due to the tiny print in the Baby-sitter’s Club series ravaging my tender young retinas. I hated the term “bookworm,” but didn’t know what else to describe myself as.

I stopped reading heavily when I graduated from college and started working a tiring full-time job. When I would get home at seven o’clock, it was easier to watch absurd reality television than concentrate on literature. It’s embarrassing to admit, but the decision whether to watch “The Hills” or read “Atlas Shrugged” was an easy one at that time. I didn’t have the energy to be enlightened. A little later when I started working from home, I read words on a computer screen all day and the thought of reading even more after that was finished just seemed like more work.

I forgot something fundamental in this time frame. I’m a writer. This means I need to read. Upon reflection, this may be why I lost the motivation to write for a long time – I forgot the beauty of words.

Now I’m reading at least one book a week. I feel incredibly fulfilled and I have so many new thoughts and ideas because of it. Making time for things you love is imperative.

5. Go to Europe and not get raped by gypsies

This is a joke. Kind of. I didn’t get raped by gypsies on my European excursion, but I did get raped by my sister, who botched so many of our travel plans that I wanted to push her off a cliff in Diamante by the end of the trip. That was a funny thing to say because Diamante, Italy is where we ended up due to my sister’s mild retardation. It is exhausting to explain more about it, but just know it is indeed funny.

These are apparently my 2008 resolutions. There’s a number six at the end of the list, but it’s blank. I can’t remember if I had something in mind to write down or if I was simply leaving the option open should anything else come to me. I don’t think it’s very traditional to fill in a New Year’s resolution in July, but really, I’m not such a traditional girl. I have my number six. And it’s personal.


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