In January, I tend to review the year that has just ended, and try to set a couple of realistic goals for myself for the year ahead. Perhaps my sense of reflection is sharper at this time of year because there are so many January birthdays in my family, and we literally turn older as the calendar flips over. Come the new year, the word “resolution” simply sounds too strict to my ears; a futile cleaving to a self-imposed rule, which is almost by definition made to be broken.
My biggest goal is the same every year: to make sure the goals I do create for myself are realistic. Usually I set a large number of even larger goals, then berate myself for failing to get very far with any of them. This sort of self-flagellation can keep me occupied and procrastinating for far longer than it should. Others tell me I get further than I think I do, but success is always a matter of perception. So one of my more modest goals is to use this blog in 2009 as a place for thinking “out loud” about women and music and storytelling, as I read and research and think through my next project. Posts will include notes from books I’m reading, interesting facts discovered along the pathways of research, and even some reviews of live concerts and theatre. I’ve just read some marvellous stories in the winter fiction issue of the New Yorker – one by Alice Munro, whose talent for creating worlds with a few words knows no bounds; the other a brilliantly structured and observed memoir by Zadie Smith on the veins of humor running in her family. With an endless amount of wonderful reading to enjoy, it’s a challenge to tear myself away and focus on my own efforts, but it’s almost impossible to do both well at the same time.