Taking and Making in 2018

Longtime readers will be aware that I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions. It’s too easy to cloak “restrictive rules” in the guise of “goals,” and I’m wary of doing that to myself. But this year, I’ve decided to try one of those daily accountability projects that are so popular. I take in a lot of pop culture and politics, but in recent years I’ve been putting out a lot less of my own stuff — writing, singing, things like that. This year, I joined a small community choir, which has made me happy and reminded me that being creative takes many forms, and that I want to do more of it.

So for 2018, I’ll be keeping a daily record of what I take and what I make. I may take in an album or movie or book or comedy night or an essay or play, and so on; I may make a blog post or song or poem or a good dinner, or I might make someone laugh or make a mess of something. The idea is to pay attention to what I’m creating and consuming, and not get lost in social media scrolling and procrastination. I’m not setting specific goals for what to create, just asking myself to be more proactive about the act of creation; there are no rules for what I can consume, just that I be more conscious about what I take in.

Here we go!

January 1

I took in:
Jessie Ware’s album Glasshouse (I particularly love “Your Domino” and “Alone”)
Traci Brimhall’s poem “Love Poem Without a Drop of Hyperbole in It” (from The New Yorker)
a NYE dance mix from Spotify
the “Hang the DJ” episode of Black Mirror (I kind of want that system for my dating life, if that’s the ending it’s going to have!)
the movie Belle (an excellent period piece that provides the simmering passions you love in a Jane Austen and also thoughtful, nuanced discussions of race and class that work as well for today as they do for the 18th-century setting of the film).

I made:
this blog post
a goofy dance to the Spotify dance mix
no attempt to be productive on this holiday.

east lansing michigan winter

 

Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year, dearest fellow travelers! I hope you had a nice holiday period of stuffing your faces and taking many naps. I had a lovely, quiet time with family and friends during the last week of 2015. Now that we’re fully into the new year, let’s jot down some New Year’s Celebrations. I enjoyed a lot of my celebrations from last year (I’ve really come ’round on real ale, for example). But although I had a lot of fun last year and saw a lot of new things, I still didn’t get out as much as I’d thought I would/hoped to. So for 2016 I’m hoping to:

  • Go somewhere new to me in London a couple of times a month (museum, landmark, park, etc.)
  • Get out of London and see another part of the UK once a month
  • Every 2-3 months, take advantage of my proximity to Europe and visit somewhere on the Continent
  • Also, as I look forward to every year, spend at least one entire day reading

Last year, I made good use of my English Heritage membership, and since I’ve had it renewed for Christmas, I can do more of that in 2016. Bring on the stately homes and drafty cathedrals! (I promise I’m 32, not 82.)

I saw a lot more than I managed to write about last year, but as ever, I’m playing catch-up. I have more to tell you about South America, for example, and I left there in 2014, but no matter. If I were in the mood to make real resolutions, this year mine would be to give you a written post a week, in addition to your Where in the World Wednesdays. I’ll do my best.

How about you, any New Year’s Celebrations you’re looking forward to?

Happy New Year! Here I'm decked out in red for Chinese New Year 2013 in Singapore.

Happy New Year!
Here I’m decked out in red for Chinese New Year 2013 in Singapore.

New Year, New Books

Happy New Year! I hope this finds you all well and rested after the holiday festivities. It finds me recovering from a cold and nursing a minor head wound sustained from extreme clumsiness, but I’m still riding high on a happy Christmastime, so I’ll take what I can get.

Books are the MAP to my heart. Ba dum bum.

This year, I asked my family to not get me too many new things because I’m trying to focus on only obtaining material items that will be specifically useful on my trip, which as you all know starts in September. So rather than the usual books and CDs, I received some wonderful items off my REI wishlist, and a few fun surprises.

But normally, Christmas is a time for exchanging books and stocking up on new reads for the new year. Is this true for you? What new books have you acquired that you can’t wait to read? Is anyone switched over completely to e-readers and squirreling new books away there?

Only a few of my unread books are as old as these. Defoe, I shall tangle with you yet!

This year, I’ve made a change to my fiction bookshelf (there’s also a nonfiction/politics shelf, a plays/poetry shelf, and a YA shelf). I’ve found all the novels I own but haven’t read yet, and I’ve turned the books down so their tops stick out rather than their spines. Over the course of the next eight months, I’m going to read through as many of those as I can. I love using my local library, and I certainly love buying new books, but I think it makes sense to at least get through what I already own before acquiring more. Looks like about 45 titles — maybe I’ll make finishing half of those my goal?

Image 1. Image 2.