January 8, 2010

The most important resolution

Filed under: Kids and Life,The Writing Life — jenny @ 11:21 am

The emerging writer Peg Brantley writes a wonderful blog that I’ve mentioned on this site before. Her post today is about occasions and what level of joy we bring both to them and to more “ordinary” days.

For some reason she got me thinking that many of the New Year’s resolutions we make probably just aren’t that important. It’s my dear friend’s birthday today and when I was selecting her ecard (“when you care enough to click the send button”, quips my husband) there was one that went something like:

“And this year I promise to exercise every day…and lose weight…and, oh, fudge it, let’s have some cake.”

So I think a lot of resolutions go by the wayside because there are more important (or pleasurable) things to focus on.

I posted the below comment on Peg’s site. Some of it may not make perfect sense–Peg and I have a running joke about how a Perfect First Draft is like Bigfoot, ie, a mythical being–but I wanted to copy it here.

So I always remember the important things.

I am parenting young children right now (mine are six and about to turn four) and I gotta say, they make every day exciting. From seeing my kindergartener figure out how to use a card to keep the dense lines of text in chapter books straight so she can read, to hearing my son begin to say “car” instead of “tar” or call his teacher Caroline instead of, yes, Taroline…Each day brings something new, precious, and that I know I won’t get to experience for very long. And doing this along with my own LOML is a miracle, too, one for which I give thanks every night.

Writing a new novel is always excitement of a fever pitch. A (non-perfect) first draft takes me about five months to write, which is lucky–I couldn’t stay at that level of excitement continually.

And then there’s snow, and food, and my siblings and parents–all excitement producing in their own ways.

I guess there are the mean times too–when I get a rejection or told to revise something I thought was Perfect (you know I am prone to this, Peg :) or hear that people still want to take down planes or see my kids bicker instead of appreciating that these are about the only years they can say with a straight face, We’re going to marry each other and drive a tanker (that’s my son’s contribution) when we grow up…

I don’t mean to say it’s all excitement all the time. But the days I don’t pause with tears of joy on my eyes, at least for a moment, are few, and for that I’m deeply thankful.

What kinds of things bring joy to your everyday?


  1. My daughters, my husband, chocolate, reading a good book, evenings with the family, good television, fabulous friends!. . .

    Comment by Judy — January 9, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  2. Well my goodness. What a nice surprise. My year is complete and it’s only . . .

    Other than family and friends and writing and blue skies . . . I love wild geese. Their flight, their honks, the sound of their wings on the air. This time of year we have visiting geese in abundance. Sometimes you’ve gotta watch where you step, but the skies are a delight.

    Warm feet (and hands), plenty of firewood, a nice bottle of red wine and a plan for today and tomorrow.

    And Judy, I love the idea of chocolate.

    Comment by Peg Brantley — January 12, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

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