Poor January. It must be exhausting work, being January. It is, quite literally, the firstborn child of the year, and like the stereotypical firstborn, it comes to the world with a lot of people expecting a lot of it (when really, they should be expecting it of themselves.) With all those hopes and goals and resolutions crowding in and riding on January and demanding attention and effort, it's no wonder that this month is almost destined to disappoint us.
Oddly, though, I wasn't disappointed in this month. Not in the least. Maybe it's because so much of my life is crowded with lists of plans and goals and objectives...what's one more list of plans going to count? And if this list of goals just so happens to bear a title of "New Year's Resolutions"...well, really, it's just another to-do list, after all. All in a day's work...or, in this case, a year's work.
Some of the highlights of January
Reading 12.5 Books ; the highlight being, without a doubt, The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about religion or even spirituality these days, but this book, in the most humble and loving way possible, actually got me pondering things again. And the final thing that stuck with me: if the outcome of the story does not change, why not render the meat of the story as tasty as possible?
Reaching out to Family:y My mother is dead. My father is not in the picture. My grandparents are very, very old. My two sisters and I have all elected not to have children. On my father's side, he only has one brother who had children, and they are not in touch with him. On my mother's side, she had two siblings--now dead. Her sister had one daughter. Getting the picture? Of immediate family, we have not much. My grandparents, however, had, like 14 brothers and sisters between them, which makes for a lot of great aunts and uncles and second cousins and oh lord, don't even get me started on the "removed" thing I will never figure it out. The point being, of course, that there is some distant family to be had, and at this point, I'll take what I can get. So I reached out to Great Aunt Wilma in January...and now am in touch with her and my second cousin Leah. So far, no icky family secrets coming out, but there's plenty of time. And plenty of relatives still to contact.
Building Up Team Mel: This wasn't the most social month I've ever had, but I've certainly done less in the past. I managed to spend some time with GI Jo before she moved away, and I did my best to hunt down an old grad school friend-- I went so far as to send her a letter to her last address I could find--and I spent an evening with Angie in downtown Palm Springs, and made a potential new geek friend, and even managed to cram in an Awful Movie Night before the end of the month. (Sharknado, anyone?)
Quote for the Ages: "Don't write what you know. Write what you wonder about." -Maggie Shipstead
We had our very first Sunnydale Writers Forum this month, and novelist Maggie Shipstead was one of the featured authors. She gave this sage advice, and I must say, it has stuck in my head. It was a little assurance that yes, maybe it is okay for me to write about the thing that I'm curious about. (And let's face it, if I stuck to writing what I know, I'd be writing a bunch of stuff about books and potato chips and vainly protesting the patriarchy). Of course, what I wonder about is something that will require extensive research, so ideally, I WILL end up knowing about it, but that's okay. It was the little nudge that I needed to re-start that Novel Idea I've been kicking around for the past ten years.
So, In summary:
January, you sucked much less than I thought you would.