I don't plan New Year's resolutions...they just kind of creep up on me. Plus they're not usually very resolution-like...they're just kind of ideas for the New Year. I never promise to give up this or take up that...I know myself too well and there is no way I will stick to 'giving up chocolate' or 'going jogging' past mid-January. In all honesty I probably wouldn't even get that far. I don't want to give up chocolate. I don't want to go jogging – I'm a walker, not a runner (hares and tortoises and all that...).
Last year...at some point on Hogmanay after a couple of glasses of something...I had my idea for 2008 - I decided I would put out a book of my poems. At that point I wasn't sure how it would happen but I knew I would do it somehow. I thought about it for a few months, sent some things out, got some things back, decided to go it alone... and by June 2008 I had my book, back from the printers, sitting in my house smiling back at me. It happened and it led to lots of good things – people liked it, people bought it, no-one has slagged it off hugely (to my face anyway), people have given copies of it to other people they like as Xmas presents...and wow that feels good that kind of thing - I like being a present! I won't lie to you - there have been moments of self-doubt (and weeks of it too...) but overall it has been a good experience, the book business, so I don't think it was a bad idea for 2008. I did the book my way (all recycled materials...no comment about the ideas...), I chose the poems I believed in, I used artwork on the cover by my very good friend Steph Masterson and every time I look at that beautiful image it makes me glad she agreed to let me use it. For someone who has such a weak visual sense...I managed to get myself a really beautiful little book. I had help of course (my Mark, Steph, Steph's husband Scott). But wasn't help one of my six valued things? I believe it was!
Other things happened in 2008 besides the book thing of course. At home we finally got solar panels for our house and changed our whole heating system to make it greener too. Plus we all got a puppy (now about 9 months old). On the people front, Mark and I carried on trying to be good parents (that's as hard as ever!). Also we heard a lot of great music at the Folk Club and elsewhere. We had some ballroom dancing lessons. We tried to keep in touch with old friends as well as making new ones whenever possible.
But back to poetry. There have been some great gigs this year (for want of a better word...readings sound so sleepy). I enjoyed the Forest in Edinburgh and the Brechin Arts Festival but the Mothers' Day at Out of the Woods in Dundee was out of this world (big stage, big crowd, big reaction!). I have written some poems I've been pleased with this year too...'History at 40', 'A dream is a song of hope', 'Moon lines'. I could have written more if I'd been doing less blogging perhaps but then I've been reading some of the posts and comments this week and, you know, there's some good writing and thinking in there...from all of us. So keep calling by and chewing the fat with me...I don't think we're wasting our time doing all this. I think if we do this well it is all part of the job...and it is a job! I work harder at this than lots of people do at their places of paid employment, I know that much. I have had jobs, you know...I have seen the skiving involved! This year we've type-talked about lots of books, lots of music, lots of poets and poems but also about art, history, politics, people, films, love, sex, comedy, religion, holidays, drugs, misery, happiness, life, death and everything! Some days it makes my brain hurt! Some days I hate it and wish I could just get on and live without wondering about everything all the time! But I don't think that's ever going to happen. Do you?
I noted down a few quotes from this year's blog as I was reading through. I know it's weird to quote yourself but some of these just jumped out at me as I read through posts to remind myself what has been going on this year. Plus weird is pretty run of the mill in this house, I'm afraid. See if you remember any of these...
'Real life is such a drag' (13 January)
'Today happiness is a wooden spoon, a big lump of cheese and a woman singing her heart out' (5 March)
'Nervous breakdowns have so many advantages, I just can't tell you' (28 March)
'To me a lot of the stuff that gets talked about poetry is just fluff that spoils the sound on a record player' (5 July)
'I wonder if Emily Dickinson ever played mini-golf (unlikely)' (9th August)
So...rambling back to the subject...the big idea for 2009...what will it be? I have a few things rolling around in my head but maybe I won't know which one is going to push for the finishing line till some point on Hogmanay. Maybe it will take a bit longer than that. I'll let you know next week...or maybe a bit later in the year when it's clearer to me. It might be about writing but it might just as likely be about travelling or other people or the way I spend my time. In the meanwhile - any of you got any big plans for 09? Anyone going to sail round the world in an eggcup or anything?
2 hours ago