Tackling the new year

I’m not a great fan of new year’s resolutions because I think they’re asking for trouble and disappointment, but there are some things I’d like to accomplish this year (in addition to the big fat sales).

One is to go and see this exhibit, Marketing Shakespeare, at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The exhibit opened in September. It ends on Saturday so unless I can scoot off from work early tomorrow, I must go Saturday morning. The exhibit is of Shakespeare-inspired artwork from the fashionable Boydell Gallery (1789-1805), plus tchotchkes and Shakespeare souvenirs. The illustration below, courtesy of the Folger, is a colored engraving of As You Like It from 1800. One of my resolutions, were I to use the term which I’m not, is to go to more stuff–I live near Washington DC where we have all sorts of amazing free museums and exhibits, yet the amazing thing is I hardly ever go to any of them. I’m not alone–living here, you take it for granted that the museums will always be there, and if you miss an exhibit, you’ll be able to catch something equally good the next week, or month.

But this is also tied into my other resolution, which is to put the joy back in writing. I tried Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way technique–I even have the books somewhere–but anything which requires me having to get up early is doomed. One task she suggested, of which I approve highly, is to take yourself out on cultural expeditions, and that’s something I plan to do much more. And if it has some weird side benefit of cranking up my writing and enjoyment level thereof, well, I’m not complaining.

And what else for 2008? Well, obviously, much less of this sort of thing (yum). But I’d rather concentrate on the positive–on giving and enjoying rather than denying. And hopefully writing will be one of the activities I’ll enjoy. I must say I like it well enough once I’ve got going, but getting going is the problem. One technique I use is to absolutely ignore word/page count and just write; you can always format later. There’s something very seductive about the getting ready to fix starting to prepare to …[insert your favorite procrastinatory phrase]… write; no wonder so many people claim they’ve always wanted to write a book, happy in the knowledge that they probably never will.

What are your new year’s resolutions (if any?)–or whatever you want to call them?

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9 Responses to Tackling the new year

  1. I really wish you hadn’t put that pic of yummy ice cream up, Janet. 🙂

  2. doglady says:

    I concur, Amanda! Now I am craving ice cream. And it is 17 degrees here! My New Year’s Goals are – to finish my second novel. To get one or both of them published. To up my word count every day. To grow and educate myself as a writer. To work on my English garden. TO READ MORE BOOKS!

  3. Diane Gaston says:

    Ah, Janet, as another Washington DC suburbanite, I know exactly what you mean about never going to the museums. The one I missed that really KILLS me is the Stubbs exhibit in Baltimore (an hour away).

    A year or so ago I had writers block and I went to the National Gallery of Art (my favorite) all by myself and spent the day. It really was a calming day and I think it did sorta feed my soul. That was the day I stopped by the antique store and bought my sketch of Byron (see more of that here )– and then my Prius broke down for the first and only time so I rode to the Toyota dealer in the tow truck. It was, though, a fun day!

  4. doglady says:

    O Divine One, only you could say that a day that ended with a ride in a tow truck was a good one. Checked out your Byron sketch and I definitely think it is a sketch of him. He is my favorite poet of all time. I live in a dump of a trailer on five acres that I own, but cannot keep cut back. I drive a 1982 Bronco with a broken out back window BUT I have a first edition Byron complete works on a pedestal in my writing studio! My late hubby gave it to me when he finished medical school and got his first position as a psychiatrist. It is, needless to say, my pride and joy!

  5. Diane Gaston says:

    I have a first edition Byron complete works on a pedestal in my writing studio! My late hubby gave it to me when he finished medical school and got his first position as a psychiatrist

    Oh, O Doggy One! I am in total awe. What a treasure. Your husband must have been a wonderful man. I’ll bet he’s smiling right now at his cleverness to get you such a present.

  6. doglady says:

    The joke when he was still with me was that if that house caught fire I would rescue the Byron, the pets and then him! When my friends come to visit and bring their kids I crack up every time I hear them whisper “Do not go near that book. Don’t touch that book. Don’t breathe on that book.” The great thing is that I have used that opportunity to introduce them to some of his poetry. I think it strikes a chord with them when they realize someone can be that revered for doing something as simple and NON-athletic as writing. Roger was an wonderful man and I find myself looking up from time to time when something ridiculous happens to me and saying “I know you are laughing your butt off at me!”

  7. Elena Greene says:

    Re keeping the joy in the writing, it’s something I struggle with too. The Morning Pages help (they help me clear the decks for every day’s work) but I’m less good about the Artist Dates. I know they are important but I still feel guilty about taking the time when I’m behind on mess-in-progress. But I should. Maybe that should be a new resolution–more artist dates.

    The one thing I do know for sure is that however miserable the writing feels sometimes, I am even more miserable when not writing!

  8. Diane Gaston says:

    Ah, doglady! Roger just sounds more wonderful all the time! Love that your kids learned that “The book” is to be revered!

  9. Susan/DC says:

    As another Washington area resident (as if you couldn’t tell from my nickname), I know what you mean about missing far too many of the opportunities that the location offers. I talk about how I love living here because of the art, theatre, yada yada, but then rarely take advantage of it. However, I did hie myself to the National Gallery to see the J.M.W. Turner show because I knew I would kick myself (metaphorically speaking, of course) if I missed it. I loved it, and part of that was realizing that the Regency H/H I love to read about could have stood before the paintings just as I was, so I felt a connection somehow.

    doglady, your Roger sounds quite lovely. How lovely to have had him in your life.

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