Saturday, 9 January 2010

New Year Resolutions

Here they are, the same old resolutions, poking out to taunt me. Write every day. Finish novel. Enter Mslexia short story competition. Renew gym membership. And then all the 'Thou Shalt Nots'. Don't let blogging, facebooking, browsing on internet, erode writing time. Eat less, cut down on chocolate, drink less wine, and don't waste time watching EastEnders.

Well, this year it's different. I'm sending them packing. Nobody will get a chance to say to me, 'But I thought you said you were going to...' The only resolution I've made this year is I WILL NOT MAKE ANY NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS.

I should have said that years ago. When I was eleven I wrote my New Year Resolution on a card and decorated it with coloured crayons all the way round the edges. In big fancy lettering in the middle of my drawings of balloons, stars and, yes, golden trumpets, I wrote (no doubt at a time of intense feelings of guilt) 'I WILL NOT BE CHEEKY TO MY MOTHER'. How embarrassing when I lent my Bunty Annual to my friend next door, forgetting I'd used this card as a bookmark. How even more embarrassing when my friend's mother came round and gave it to my mother. And how damn infuriating when the next time I shouted at my mother, she reminded me of these words and waved the blasted card in my face.

But, no, I still didn't learn. Worse, much worse, was to come. A few years later, I wrote out my good intention for each day of the week on scraps of paper. I folded up the pieces of paper, put them into an envelope, meaning to pick out one each day and try to live up to it. I promptly forgot about them. When I went back to school, after being off sick, I handed the teacher a letter from my mother to explain my absence. Guess which envelope she'd put her letter in? Imagine the rate of my cringe factor when, in front of the whole class, the teacher picked out each of my notes and read them out one by one, to the amused delight of my classmates.

Anyway, back to the present. I've learnt something about myself. I'm better at writing on post-it notes and making out long 'To Do' lists than actually getting things done. That's why this year I'm not going to plan, prepare and trumpet about what I'm going to do. I'll just quietly get on with it.


Catherine Hughes said...

Hi Jean - wow, what a story you have to tell! I understand why you empathise with me - right back atcha!

I decided not to make any resolutions this year too, although I do have some plans for 2010.

Good luck with everything.

Cat x

Miriam Drori said...

Hi Jean,
I do admire you for writing such a memoir. I've considered writing one, discarded the thought, wondered again and.... How do you write a memoir without harming people in your life? Or do you go ahead without worrying about them? Have you blogged about this?

Cathie Hartigan said...

Hi Jean

I came for a brief glimpse and have stayed a while. I shall have to come back and read more. Your memoir sounds very interesting and the way you write is immediate and accessible.
The photos are very arresting too. It must have been a very powerful experience for you to go back.

Colette Martin said...

Hi Jean, congratulations on your success with your book!

catdownunder said...

Hello, thankyou for coming to visit me. I am putting a paw around the corner too. I like the idea of making a resolution not to make resolutions! I gave up on resolutions but sometimes make mental lists of things I would like to do - but they are never resolutions!

Dave said...

I have never been as gripped by an 'About Me' on one of these blogs.

Good luck with the book.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jean so much for sorting out that public email comment problem for me. Much appreciated and all the best for 2010

Jean said...

Catherine - Yes, best not to make any resolutions!

Miriam - That's a difficult and important question. There's no easy answer about how to balance the freedom to tell the story with the responsiblity to protect people. I changed names and identifying details to protect people's privacy, but I still had to do a lot of heart-searching before trying for publication.

Cathie - Thank you for coming, and I do hope you'll return. Yes, going back to 'that place' was a powerful experience, not overly pleasant but I'm glad I did it.

Collette - Hi there, and thanks for your congrats.

Dave - Thank you for your kind words and your good wishes. So pleased you came.

Catdownunder - Thank you for visiting. Do come again for tea and biscuits - or a saucer of milk.

Anonymous - I'm pleased it's sorted now, and I do hope all's well with you. My warmest wishes to you for the New Year 2010.

Katie Mayes said...

Hi Jean

Thank you for dropping by on my blog yesterday - just catching up with comments and thought I'd pop on over to yours!

Well done for getting your story out there and all the best for 2010.

Katie x

BucksWriter said...

Nice to meet you via Nicola's blog party. Your story will keep me visiting often, of that I have no doubt!

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Hi Jean saw you at the party and wanted to come over and say how much I admire you for telling your story. I don't do the resolution thing either. I prefer to just "do it" or "not." Please drop by and visit me anytime. I would love to get to know you. Cheers and congrats on the book.

Jean said...

Katie - Thanks for dropping by. Nice to meet you.

BucksWriter - Good to meet you, too. Welcome to my blog.

Debra - Hi there. Thanks for visiting. I'll be popping over to your blog.

Natalia Salinas said...

Hi there Jean!You have a very inspiring story and a very interesting blog.I`m looking forward to read your book.
Wish you all the best!

Jean said...

Natalia - Nice to meet you here, and thank you for your good wishes.

Old Kitty said...


I'm slowly reading more of your blogs pieces (working backwards!). Congratulations with your book and I definitely agree with making a resolution to not make any for 2010

Apart from: less time blogging more time writing!


take care