Saturday, 1 January 2011

I Blame Don Draper

What I do when I have a reasonable amount of time off work (anything more than three days will do) is turn myself nocturnal. I get way more done at night. It’s just easier for me to write and do creative things between the hours of 9pm and 6am. I usually take some time out to devour at least one TV box set, too. This takes place over the course of just one day. This holiday, I went with Mad Men (S3). And now I'm sitting here with a pack of chocolate cigarettes on my desk. I'm not convinced the two aren't linked. Who goes into a shop and comes away with a pack of chocolate cigarettes?

As a kid, my favourite part was always the paper. Or maybe it was the mix of chocolate and paper. It dawns on me now that the paper is not rice paper. The paper is, in fact, just paper paper. And I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out before. I’ve eaten rice paper. And I’ve eaten paper. I know the difference. So I think I spent my childhood eating and loving the paper from chocolate cigarettes. I feel like I want to pat my younger self on the head and sigh heavily.

So, 2010 is over and done. It was a good year. It was a crazy year. A LOT happened, and a LOT changed. Right now I've got that slightly-panicked, giddy feeling of living at the end of an era, just waiting for everything to collapse. It feels like it could, too, more so than at the Millennium. (Ooh, could the Mayans have been right all along?) I feel like my childhood obsession with survival manuals will definitely pay off, anyway. Sooner or later, sooner or later.

Here's one of my favourite apocalyptic stories outside of a Coupland book.

Here's the beginning of a very brilliant novel set at the turn of the Millennium.

And here's Coupland doing a bit of excellent zeitgeisty doom-mongering. I love him.

In 2010, I wasn’t quite so prolific with my short stories. I focussed on my novel, which made me a different kind of writer, I think. More “marathon-y”. Despite this, I was lucky enough to see some of my short stories come out in actual books - Best of the Web 2010, Even More Tonto Short Stories, Bugged, Scattered Reds - and it’s been amazing to hold them in my hands and smell them. New books are like crack to me. (I say that like I know what "crack" actually is.) Exciting things are afoot for 2011, too, and I feel like it’s going to be a very different kind of year.

I’m not doing resolutions this year. I’m having themes. Month by month, a one-word theme for each month. See if it shakes things up a bit. See if anything really changes at all. My word for January is “deliberate”.
deliberate adj 1 done on purpose; not accidental 2 slow and careful
to think about something carefully
from Latin deliberare, deliberatum to consider carefully
I think I'll lean more towards the "done on purpose" part than the "slow and careful", depending on what I'm actually doing. I thought it up whilst walking back from the shops with some potatoes. I thought up February’s word then, too. I think February is going to be pretty funny. We’ll see how January goes first, though.

So I spent the first day of this year deliberately regressing. I stayed in my pjs all day and watched Big, then Star Wars, then The Empire Strikes Back. Does anyone ever get to Jedi? Might watch it tomorrow, deliberately. Might carefully consider Ewoks.

I think I adopted a deliberate attitude pretty much straight after midnight. Even before the fact that it was 2011 had sunk in properly. I was deliberate in my actions. I wasn’t particularly slow or careful (except for when walking up and down the stairs), but I did things on purpose. I even had a non-accidental conversation with someone I’d never really talked to before. I’ve stopped being a hermit so much, of late, and it’s been nice getting to know people I’ve been just nodding Hi to for the last however many years. I did, however, fail in deliberately not dancing like a robot. Oh well, it was a cusp time. I'll let that go.

I’m deliberately going to do some things this evening, and I’ll report back if they pay off. The things aren’t going to be press ups, btw. Just in case anyone’s wondering about my upper arm strength, i.e. if you ask me to arm wrestle, you will probably still win.

Happy New Year!