Sunday, 3 January 2010

To be... (Or not to be, which is probably the likely outcome)

So the fireworks have faded into the (deliciously clear) night, the last sky lantern has drifted silently and serenely across the big full moon and, suddenly, it’s January again.

But it has been a lovely Christmas.

As always, the majority of the week was spent on the sofa in front of the fire in assorted variations on pyjamas, but – oh joy – as my clever and fabulous husband bought me a sumptuous cross between an oversized cardigan and a dressing gown in whisper-soft pale grey cashmere I was even more than usually unapologetic about this. It is a thing of such glamour and loveliness that it almost makes me believe I can turn into the kind of serene person who rises early to drink herbal tea and calmly dash off a couple of thousand inspired words before doing an hour of yogic meditation and facing the school run with calm competence. In fact, I may not take it off much in the next grueling month as I thrash out this book, although I do have to admit that this will test its personality-transforming capabilities to the limit.

Which brings me neatly onto Kathy's point about New Year’s resolutions. In the past I’ve been a bit casual about these for the simple reason that I’m all too aware of my dismal lack of willpower and know that by vowing to swap chocolate and wine for gym membership (shudder) and carrot juice I’d be setting myself up to fail spectacularly. However, since this is the year that I’m going to turn 40 I’ve reluctantly decided that it’s probably time to be a bit more grown-up in several areas of my life. So, in view of that and the curent Book Situation I’ve come up with the following:

  1. To be... unafraid.
    This has a pleasingly grandiloquent ring to it, but it actually means I intend to stop lying awake staring at the crack in the bedroom ceiling and worrying that it’s a sign of drastic subsidence and the entire house is going to implode any second, in the style of that building in Venice at the end of Casino Royale. It also means I'm going to try to give up obsessing over life-threatening illness, hideous freak accidents and my children becoming a statistic in the government’s figures for vicious crime, teenage binge drinking and cyber bullying because let’s face it, there are so many more appealing things to obsess about. (James D’Arcy, Daniel Craig for starters. And both together since I watched Flashbacks of a Fool the other night. Good film. Great soundtrack. Glorious first five minutes.)
  2. To be... more efficient.
    Oh yes, this is the Big One. The time has come for the High Priestess of Procrastination to embrace the concept of time management. I absolutely can’t continue to lose whole days to ‘research’ (browsing youtube) or messing about rearranging a couple of paragraphs before deciding to scrap them and start again. I need to sharpen up and force myself to focus. I need a masterclass in efficiency and self-discipline from Kate Hardy, or Kate Hewitt (both uber-romance goddesses with families and an awesome catalogue of brilliant books behind them.) And I as my hopelessly-messed-about-with and book is due terrifyingly soon, I need it NOW.
  3. To be... more wholesome.
    Must give up scoffing chocolate digestives straight from the packet and feeding the children supermarket pizza because I’ve been too busy not writing to cook something proper. Shall capitalize on last year’s success with the runner beans and lettuces and bring forth a bountiful harvest of organic goodness from the meagre soil of our garden this summer. (Though obviously have to master 2.) Time management first. And also not compromise too much on 4.) which is….)
  4. To be... more high maintenance
    Because I know it’s the depths of winter and baths are for wallowing and dreaming and drinking wine/tea/damson gin and reading, but really… would it kill me to drag a razor over my legs once in a while?

    Gulp. There they are and I feel weary already. Now I’ve told you mine, you tell me yours!

10 comments:

Sharon said...

I LOVED Flashbacks Of A Fool and it haunted me for weeks.
This year, I plan to:
a. Be positive
b. Be inspired
c. Be the kind of person who really WILL learn an hour's French every day!

Cindy said...

Every once in a while Google mails me your link because you mention the delightful James D'Arcy, and for...um...research purposes he is a google alert for me.

Both times I came over I really loved your posts. I need to come visit more often. And be a better author on my own blog and not decide everything I write is for the Live Journal, only.

Hi. I'm Cindy, by the way.

India said...

Happy New Year Sharon! I'm not sure about the French, but you're certainly extremely positive and inspiring already so you're off to a great start!

I remembered you saying at AMBA how much you'd liked Flashbacks of a Fool (which was the moment when Abby Green chose to reveal that she'd worked with James D'Arcy on Rebel Heart all those years ago, the little minx...) which was partly why I bumped it up my LoveFilm list. I adored the music and I do have that Roxy Music album somewhere in a box in the attic, but am going to have to download it on itunes today. (When I've reached my wordcount, of course.)

Hello Cindy! Huge welcome here for anyone who has James D'Arcy on a google alert (imagine me high-fiving like mad at this point) I used him as hero inspiration in one of my books a while ago so used to have a good excuse to post pictures and gush, but not so much these days. But come back lots anyway as it's lovely to see you!

Rachel said...

Dear India,

I gave up new year's resolutions a couple of years ago(am obsessive enough without adding them to the mix!) but the last one I made was to be more disciplined...about being tidy and organised(not housework obviously).

I got Flashbacks Of A Fool in my stocking, can't wait to see it now!

Happy new year and head down to the book right now!

Lots of love,

Rach.
XXX

Kate Hewitt said...

Thank you for the lovely mention, India, but I have quite a few goals too! 1.) Not to be stressed & short-tempered 2.) Eat better 3.) Exerise more or really at all 4.) Enjoy life in all of its little moments 5.) Become a morning person

I wonder if any of it is possible??

Kate Hardy said...

Masterclass in efficiency and self-discipline? Snort. If you could only see my desk right now. (I have to get this book done and *then* a huge tidy, or I'm toast.)

But thank you for the compliment :)

For me, it's writing down the tasks (otherwise they don't get done) and the biggie will be staying off the internet until my quote for the day is done.

(And I hope you're using those sky lanterns in a book.)

Happy new year, honey, and go and write some more of your fabby books. (Your next is on my desk, not to be touched until I have sent mine to my ed and agent...)

Jane said...

I'm shocked, I thought you were a serene person. I want to be more positive, too. I need to let go of the bad thoughts and focus on the good things.

India said...

Rach, forget tidy and organised and get yourself onto the sofa for a morning of DVD indulgence. It was a present from Father Christmas, after all, so it's only polite to watch it...

Ms Hewitt, your list could be my list - especially the not getting stressed and shouty part. I think that's the trouble with the whole resolutions game. Where to draw the line?

Happy new year to you too, Ms Hardy! (so confusing having 2 Kate Hs!) Have taken on board the 'writing down tasks' tip, and was sadly all too aware of the 'staying away from the internet' one. Didn't do too badly yesterday, considering I have ten years of addiction to address.

Jane, I am deeply thrilled that you should mistake me for being remotely serene! Chaos is my middle name. Chaos, Squalor and Panic. Like you I'd love to swap them for Positive - let me know how you get on!

Peggy said...

Dear India--this should get your new year going really well--http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/usatodaybooks.pdf
See #123, three spots higher than the Man Booker Prize-winning book! Congratulations!

India said...

Peggy, thanks SO much for sharing that - how amazing!!

I gather that Harlequin romance hasn't been included on the list for several years. I'm not sure why they've suddenly seen the error of their ways, but I'm very glad they have!

Thanks again for the link

xx