Skip to content

It’s not just me and don’t pretend it is

So we’ve hit that time of the year, huh? November’s coming—you can hear it crunching down the driveway in its sturdy shoes—and that means the chances of this being the year you’ll Do The Thing are drawing shut like the mouth of the toddler you’re trying to spoon-feed.

I have two responses to this annual feeling of impending conclusion: the first is what I think of as the old French guy strategy—a relaxed, single-shoulder shrug, a ‘Euh, c’est la vie, non?’ and another glass of lunchtime wine in the sun. A useful and wholesome (if stereotypical) strategy and one I heartily endorse. The second is what can only be described as ‘I’m not scared of dying, YOU are’ and it’s where I throw myself into a series of ambitious goals.

Guess which one I’m doing this year? If you’re thinking it’s the one that involves signing up for NaNoWriMo, setting myself reading targets, and planning out the next four knitting projects, well, look at you, clever clogs.

Let’s go through these one by one, shall we? (Yep, back on the lists.)

NaNoWriMo: it’s been a few years since I did it, and earlier this year I had an idea for a novel that’s been going mouldy in my head ever since. Despite my having “learned” a while ago that the only way to get more ideas is to get rid of the ones you’ve got, I nonetheless hoard them and fear I’ll never get another—while simultaneously fearing this one isn’t actually any good. So NaNo seemed like a good way of frog-marching myself up to the Reality Wagon and…look, I don’t know where this metaphor is supposed to go. Something about facing my ideas, writing them down, and admitting the possibility that they suck but that it’s okay. I guess that’s not so much a metaphor as it is the way things are. I should try writing. Clearly there’s poetry in my soul.

Reading: it will surprise nobody that I am in possession of several books that not only have I not read, but that I have not immediate plans of reading. (It shouldn’t surprise you because (a) I’m a writerly type with a blog, (b) I like to knit, which suggests I like long-range planning, and (c) I’m a human and a lot of humans do this thing. It’s just statistically likely that I’d have a lotta books around the place.) I’ve decided to set myself the goal of finishing all the books I have acquired this year by the end of the year. This would seem moderate, but it’s only barely so. There are seven books left: one supremely technical, two long and dense (but funny and well-written, so), one emotionally challenging but rewarding (or so the reviews say), one cookbook, and the others action novels. There are roughly nine weeks left in this Year of our Dark Lord 2018, and there are seven books. There were eight, but I finished one earlier today. This seems like a tight goal for me, because, as I said, some of them are fairly dense reads. However, that hasn’t stopped me contemplating the fact that if I read all of them plus another acquired in a previous year, that will be a net win for the To-Be-Read pile.

Knitting: Oh, the knitting. I’m working my way through a sweater at the moment and it’s all I want. It’s supremely simple and satisfying and I’m really happy with it—but I am also nearing the end of it, and I can’t help but notice the absence of a black, drapey cotton spring/autumn cardigan in my wardrobe. You know the sort of thing—something you put on because you’re out having a picnic or on a boat or whatever beautiful people do, and there’s a slight chill to the purple evening air. Something to put over my casual yet glamorous tank-and-shorts combo, or my light summer dress as I walk through long grass at twilight (wtf). And I keep fondling all my sock yarns. And thinking about my handspun and how I really want to get it on my person. In short, there’s a lot of knitting to be done. I’d like to finish both this sweater and that cardigan by the end of the year—am I dreaming too big or too small or both?

There’s a lot of people who are already nipple-deep in end-of-year festivity planning and they’re bugging their eyes at me going ‘SERIOUSLY? You want CHALLENGE? In November??’ and to them I say ‘Have a cup of tea, lovey, and stop yelling at me.’ I like challenge, I like meeting deadlines, and I’m dashed good at both, so why not self-impose and see if I implode? There are also those who sigh and shake their heads at me and ask if I’m trying to prove something and what is it I’m really running from? And I’m supposed to stammer, bite my lip and say ‘I dunno man…I guess in a way, I’m just running from myself…’ And then they can get on with things and I can get back to whatever it is I do. Look, you can wave all the pop psychology at me that you like and ultimately I’m just going to say ‘eh, sure: fear of mortality or whatevs’ and keep on trucking. Let’s see what I can still wring out of the year!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *