the year that was, and the year that will be

Goodbye, 2012! Hello, 2013, you gorgeous thing, you.

First, let’s talk about books and reading. 2012 was not The Year of the Book for me. It was, apparently, the Year of Staring Into Space, and then, it was The Year of Actually Having A Life. So not a lot of reading got done. If I’m being generous, I can claim to have at least partially read 44 books (four of them are still sort of in progress… does that count?). A few re-reads in there, some short books, some long ones, some good ones, some bad ones.

A few favorites:

  • Carter Beats The Devil (LOVED!)
  • The White Devil (a nice ghost story twist)
  • The Family Fang (another new favorite)
  • Gone Girl (although I liked her other ones more)
  • and The Gormenghast Trilogy, even though I haven’t finished it yet.

Totally haphazard reading this year, with no real direction, lots of “filler” (whatever leapt into my hand next, regardless of whether it was really going to be any good or not), and some that were supposed to be good but that I didn’t love (The Marriage Plot, The Art of Fielding). Overall, rather a disappointing year in books. But that’s okay — it was a rough year, and for at least half of it, I didn’t really have the wherewithall to do any sort of focused reading. I read magazines and online news articles, I watched Star Trek and Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica. And then Real Life picked up and I didn’t have as much time to read, which isn’t a terrible thing, when looking at the overall big picture of my life. Having too much fun to read? Well. OK, then.

And as for the year personally, it was up and down, as anyone reading this blog will know. I did manage to go on an overseas trip, which was great but I was still too numb and tired to fully engage with it (although of course I DID enjoy it plenty). I worked really hard at doing nothing, for the first part of the year — trying to heal, trying to get energy back, trying to let go of grief and guilt. Then the second part of the year came and love found me, and life, and sun, and good things. I got to see my family and friends a lot more than I have in the last 5-6 years, Thomas the Kitty felt better and more grounded, and life in general improved immensely. So the year is ending on a high note, and I am happy.

As for the year ahead, I’m not making any self-improvment goals other than to follow happiness (even if it means pushing myself sometimes) and to try to be kind as much as possible. A few things I would like to DO, however (because they sound like fun — I suppose this falls under my first category of following happiness):

  • A trip to Scotland, or overseas somewhere (this is sort of in the works already)
  • Start building the studio/guest cottage in the backyard (I’ve decided that we have too many predators here to make chickens a viable option)
  • Make some art — a couple of paintings, a couple of cards, some random projects
  • Do something that scares me: right now, that includes being part of a storytelling workshop, which really terrifies me, but I’ve been invited and I’d like to give it a go.
  • Paint the dining room wall
  • Get some landscaping done in the front yard (now that the horrible junipers are gone! Yay!)
  • Go camping at least twice

That’s a pretty good list, full of fun things and nothing that feels like work (except maybe the “doing something that scares me” but I mean that only in the best way, so ultimately — hopefully — I’ll be glad I did it). Last year I took it way, way easy, which is what I needed. This year, I don’t want to push myself so much as just open things up and let in the light and life and love, and get back out there in the world and have some fun.

Oh, and read more. I’m following Stefanie’s lead and making a reading guideline, with plenty of flexibility. I’d like to get more real reading done this year. Some thoughts:

  • Finish Anna Karenina. I started this a few years ago and I really liked it, but didn’t finish it. This year, I’d like to mark that off the list.
  • Finish all my current not-finished books, including the Gormenghast Trilogy, which is a monster. We’ll see — that one might take awhile.
  • Finish Northanger Abbey: this is on Stef’s list too, but I started it this year and didn’t finish it, so it goes along with the two previous entries.
  • Neil Gaiman’s newest, when it comes out this summer. This is a no-brainer.
  • Let’s go crazy and say ALL of my book club books (all 12!). Usually I miss a few at least, and sometimes more than a few. This year I’d like to read all of them and participate in my book club more. They’ve been very kind and generous and lenient with me for several years now and it’s time to step it up.
  • Read at least five books already on my shelves. People have given me some “you need to read this” books in the past year and I haven’t read any of them.
  • Finish The Sandman series (I think I got to #5 or so)
  • Discover a new author with a nice big catalogue of books to catch up on.

I know there’s more, but that’s a good enough list for now. Mostly I’d like to make better book choices and enjoy my reading more, and make it more of a priority. And to wrap up some loose ends, book-wise.

Welcome, 2013. I’m really glad to see you!