Now that I’ve got that resolution revelation out of the way, time to share.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to not read as much as I had been. HAHAHA. I think I’ve read more books this year than in any year since I was a kid and was reading shorter works and was grounded all the time. So much for cutting back. I decided instead of having a big number (like last year’s aimed-for 50 novels and achieved 80 total books), I would have a few smaller specific goals.
–five short story collections (up to thirteen right now)
–five books of poetry (hit six)
–five off my book list (twelve so far)
–five translations (four done)
–five big novels (two done)
The short story category will gain at least one more, I have a book of poetry on hold at the library, and the last two items will be taken care of by my current reading, for I am foolish. I always read more than three books at a time, but those books usually don’t include a combination like DeLillo’s Underworld (killing me slowly and for months now), Pynchon’s Gravity Rainbow (as part of the group read), and Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (doesn’t feel as big as it is, so far). That’s a serious stack—when I heave them all onto the bed at night for pre-sleep reading, the mattress grunts.
When 2009b was declared in August in a futile attempt to stave off the bad luck of 2009, I made a handful of new goals for the remaining months of the year.
–read 30 more books of any description before 2010 (the “no big numbers” plan didn’t work, so maybe this will. a dozen read so far.)
–write for 100 hours (not doing great, but I was also counting hours in a way that was unfair and harsh, so it’s still possible now that I’ve relaxed a little)
–log one million steps on the pedometer (on track to finish early despite my forgetting to put the damn thing on at least one day a week)
–learn to juggle (I thought I should have one silly and low-key thing listed here, but it’s turned out to be difficult and continues to provide all sorts of valuable life and writing lessons—really—that I will write about when I get around to talking about the juggling book I read. In short, still doing it everyday despite constant failure, but have little reliable breakthroughs that reassure me I’ll have it down by December 31st.)
I try to give some thought to goals and resolutions so that I go into them with a plan and purpose, and I’m already thinking about next year. For reading, I would love to force myself to make a space where I feel good about rereading—maybe a dozen rereads? I want to hit Pale Fire and all Lorrie Moore and The Great Gatsby and maybe The Magic Mountain and a big Russian classic or two again, but I’m inundated with new books and holes in my reading history and don’t allow it. I’d like to keep up the short story collections—I am not a lifelong appreciator of the form, and I feel like something this year has helped me to understand it.
My weekly goals are too boring to spend time on, and the monthly ones not much better (though they tend to have a huge impact on my life). This month I am not going to the convenient and perfectly located 7-11, the location of most of my caffeine relapses and the easiest way to induce popcorn-for-dinner neglect of actual cooking. It’s difficult to stick to just the one resolution per month: my tendency is to have a list of thirty, all with action plans and a chart. But it works, and that’s the point. That and the charts.