On the last day of 2012, I’m turning my thoughts to the new year. Okay, who are we kidding? To be honest, I’m a big-time future planner and I’ve been thinking about the new year for a while now.
The memory jar is a thing I saw floating around the internet last year or the year before and I thought, “I want to do that next year!” The idea here is simple and sweet. Take a mason jar and, throughout the year, fill it with memories from the year—good things that happened, hilarious moments, poignant or sad moments, random thoughts you don’t want to forget. In short, fill it with the little day-to-day things you’re likely to forget. Obviously if you got married this year, you’re not going to forget the wedding, but maybe you will forget the hilarious meltdown you had about the fact that you had to rent spoons for the guests at your wedding. Why do people need spoons anyway?! On New Years Eve, sit down and read all of the notes you’ve put in the jar. I like this idea because it’s not resolution-y. I think we all tend to forget a lot of the little things throughout the year, and this is a way to remember them.
Writing/Work Plans for 2013
These last few weeks, I’ve been on project CLEAR THE DECKS. I have had lots of small writing projects hanging over my head throughout the fall while I was teaching and these last few weeks have been about getting them done and out the door. The last thing on that list is to finish a course proposal for next year for a new class on animals in fashion. Once this is done, there’s not much standing between me and the good old dissertation. 2013 WILL be the year of writing a dissertation. This isn’t some New Years resolution that I hope will happen. Barring any unforeseen incidents, by this time next year I will have a complete draft of the dissertation and be working on revisions. Also during 2013, I plan to get started on writing a book that I’ve been thinking about for a while. More on the specifics at a later date. First, I have to get going on the dissertation and focus my energies on that.
Writing is something I love and it’s something that I’ve learned how to do fairly efficiently. In certain ways a year filled with writing seems a little like a cavernous abyss that keeps me awake at night. All of those questions we ask ourselves in the dark: What if I can’t do it? What if the writing isn’t good enough? But in the light of the morning, I feel better about answering those questions—if the writing isn’t good enough, I’ll make it good enough. That is what revision is for. And this is something I can do. This is something I’ve been training my whole life to do. My childhood was filled with writing instruction—from summer writing day camps to writing classes in school to one-on-one sessions with my English professor father. Writing is in my bones. My mom reminded me recently that when I was 16/17 and looking at colleges, my one requirement was that I go somewhere where I could write really long pieces of writing. I chose correctly—heading to Sarah Lawrence College where I really learned discipline about writing. I always thought I was going to be a fiction writer, but somewhere at Sarah Lawrence I began to feel a nagging sense of doubt about dedicating my life to fiction. I made my way to geography and learning to write nonfiction—writing about social justice and politics and animals. It has been a struggle at first to learn the new language of nonfiction, analytical writing. But in many ways, it has felt like coming home and I excited to continue learning and growing on this path. The dissertation is a huge part of that.
Blog Plans for 2013
As part of this year of writing, the blog will certainly be a regular writing project. In the immediate future, I plan to do a series of posts on children. It’s something I haven’t talked about much at all on the blog, and it’s a subject that isn’t talked about enough (in my opinion) in the animal rights community. I’m hoping the kid posts can spark some conversation in the comments because I would love to hear all of your thoughts, dear readers, on the subject!
This week, I’m planning some aesthetic changes to the blog. Nothing major. Just a few renovations in the look of the blog. Hopefully those transitions will all happen smoothly, but in the event there’s a major blog catastrophe…you’ve been warned.
I would love to have your feedback on the blog more generally. What’s working? What’s not working? What would you like to see more posts on? Fewer posts on? What topics haven’t I covered that you think would be good to discuss in this forum? Let me know in the comments below or you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for any feedback you have—it would be so helpful!