Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Annotated 2006 Resolution List

My approach to New Year's Resolutions is pretty much the same as most people's: I decide that "This will be the year I ___________," and then I try to carry that out in the course of the year. But I probably differ from most people in the things I decide to do: I focus on experiences I want to have, accomplishments I want to complete, and books I want to read alongside the little daily discipline items. This list is printed out and posted on the door in my apartment, so I see it every day, and I check each Experience and Read item off as I complete it, and try to use the Discipline ones to keep me honest. I've made these Resolution Lists for the last three years, and they've resulted in some of the happiest, most challenging, and most interesting experiences of my life -- walking all the Manhattan bridges, for example, and reading Lolita, and knitting, and lots of cooking dinners for friends. So here is what I want To Do in 2006, with explanations where necessary:

Live deeply, joyfully, passionately, and well.

Memorize all of the legal three-letter Scrabble words.
I've got the twos done, but I need the threes to be really competitive.
Clear out my manuscript backlog to within three months.
Oogh. Usually I compile a separate list of work Resolutions, but this is important enough to make the personal List this year.
Answer all personal correspondence within two weeks.
Save two thousand five hundred dollars.
Keep the couch uncluttered.
My apartment isn't messy, it's cluttered. If I can preserve my loveseat as a clutter-free zone, it would be a good start to conquering the whole thing.
Stretch for two minutes every day.
No regrets, no excuses, no fear.
I make this Resolution every year, honestly, and I never keep it. But maybe I'll change.

Have a three-course dinner party for six people.
Dine at Per Se, Gramercy Tavern, Babbo, and Peter Luger Steakhouse.
All lovely New York restaurants I've always heard about and thought, "Oh, I'll go there someday." Well, someday is 2006! If you'd like to come with me, just say the word.
Attend twenty-three dance performances, gallery shows, concerts, plays, or readings.
I go to a lot of movies, but I don't think I see enough live performance or fine art, and usually when I do make the effort to see such a thing, like going to MoMA or Cassandra Wilson or Pilobolus, I come away challenged and moved. I want to have more of those experiences this year, and I chose twenty-three as a doable prime number.
Revise the Bad Novel to a state of readability.
This would be my NaNoWriMo novel, which I fondly refer to as "the Bad Novel" because that gives me permission for it to be less than perfect. I wrote the NaNo stuff all out of order, in lots of random chunks, and not really paying attention to language at all, so first I'm going to put everything in order and fill in the holes, and then I'll pretend it's someone else's novel and edit the hell out of it. Yay! One of the things I learned from doing NaNo is that as much as I enjoy writing, I'm always going to be an editor first, so I'm not taking this entirely seriously and therefore having a lot of fun with it.
Run a half-marathon.
And maybe *the* Marathon, if I get in.
Knit a blanket.
Ride a bicycle along the Brooklyn shore.
One of the things I've always wanted to do: Rent a bike from the bike shop below my apartment and ride it from Park Slope to the Verrazano-Narrows.
Learn to juggle and apply eye shadow.
Though not at the same time.

The Iliad
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
These two have both appeared on previous Resolution Lists and not been read. So this year.
Invisible Man

On Beauty
And these last two (by Alan Moore and Zadie Smith) are cheating a little because I really want to read them -- I don't need Resolutions to make myself do so. But Watchmen pairs nicely with The Iliad as two stories about groups of men fighting large, futile wars; and On Beauty chimes with Huck Finn and Invisible Man in thinking about how personal relations can be influenced by race (which is one of the subjects of the Bad Novel). So I put them on the List for thematic wholeness, and easy accomplishment.

It will be a year of Big Projects, Big Ideas, and much happiness, I hope. And also flossing.


  1. I have long since given up making resolutions to floss every day. If I get to it once every six weeks or so, that would be a major improvement.

    You would think, considering that I hate lying in the dentist's chair having him scrape and scrape and SCRAPE tartar off my teeth, that I would just give in and cultivate a flossing habit, but no...

  2. wait...Huck Finn had to be on a resolutions list? How have I missed this fact (& moreover, why haven't I harassed you about it?)!?

    As for The Iliad, enjoy all the gruesome descriptions! (e.g. "The plumed headpiece broke about the point of the weapon, struck at once by the spear and by the strong hand of Ajax, so that the bloody brain came oozing out through the crest-socket.") But there are also some really lovely, touching parts (watch for Hector & Andromache & Astyanax!). Just, for pity's sake, give yourself a break & skim the Catalogue of Ships.

    Ah, Homer...brings back fond memories...& reminds me that Erik hasn't read any Homer. Plato will always be my #1 Greek author crush, but Homeric Greek is sooo much easier. Man, I'm need to dig out my lexicon & Homeric vocab book & go back to this stuff again...

  3. grr...I swore I included my identity there, but (in the unlikely event that you couldn't recognize my inimitable voice) that was me in that last comment.

  4. I think Jeff and I would be up for dining at any of those places, any time... (special trips to NY can be made for Per Se)

  5. I can help with the eyeshadow!