Book Goals!

It’s that time again. Resolutions, or for the more succinct, word of the year. For a while, I tried this One Word business, but like resolutions, they rarely stuck.

This year, I figured out something better. Something more attainable and infinitely more fun.

BOOK GOALS!

readingmeme

Let’s backtrack here for a moment to a dark and terribly grim time in my life:

The time when I didn’t read. 

It’s hard to even imagine, I know. The concept of not-reading goes against every grain of book loving fiber in my body, and yet, it happened. You may guess what inspired this temporary hiatus. Babies.

Of course. Those sweet little life sucking cherubs!

But it didn’t happen all at once. My reading slowed, as one might expect, but I soon discovered reading-while-nursing. And this was before iPhones, or at least, before I had an iPhone.

Imagine the scenario: You’re stuck on a couch or a bed or a chair nursing a baby. A dull glaze quickly settles over you, often accompanied by a rabid restlessness. Without social media as a crutch, I relied on books. I’m talking about actual bound books, printed with ink, and on paper! No digital readers for me, not then or now.

But once my youngest was up and mobile, my reading time collapsed. With two young kids to wrangle, feed, entertain, and nap, I had little time or energy for much else. Like any drug, the withdrawal hurt the most in the beginning, and the longer I went without, the less I craved it. Or at least, that’s the lie I told myself.

If you ask me how long this hiatus lasted for, I couldn’t give you a precise timeline. It was over a year, perhaps a little more than two. I remember scanning the shelves of our local library in Brooklyn (circa 2013) for my own stash after toddler story time.

It was a loss, though. Truly. Not having my most trusted and loyal companions, especially during such lonely time as new motherhood, was rough.

My appetite for books has only increased since then, perhaps making up for those lost years. For example, in 2016, when I decided to write a memoir, I spent an entire year reading memoir and craft books almost exclusively. Emerging from that haze, I returned ravenous for fiction, and now I read both, often at the same time.

Some recent sample pairings:

One of my favorite, and embarrassingly recent, discoveries is the library. Curiously enough, I didn’t grow up with a library habit. My mother took me to bookstores, and while I appreciate her desire to support local businesses, I sometimes wonder why we didn’t take advantage of free (free!) libraries. Maybe it was because she couldn’t afford books as a child, and this was her way of splurging, but regardless, it took many years for me to fall in love with libraries.

But once I fell, I fell hard.

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It can be a bit of a problem. Over checking out. Over requesting. But it’s a problem I’m grateful to have.

librarymeme

So, after that rather long preamble, what are my book goals for 2019?

Actually, it’s pretty simple. Keep reading.

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But I would like to keep better track of what I read. If anyone has an app they love, please let me know! I’m not interested in anything fancy or complicated, just a simple way to look back and easily recall, since my brain no longer allows such luxuries.

Happy New Year my fellow readers, and of course, happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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Word Up 2015

I’ve never been much of a resolution person, if only because I’m cynical and already know if I make them, I’ll break them. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to the One Word concept. You choose a word that resonates and you try (key word, try!) to hang onto it throughout the year. Since there’s no specific declarations involved, no one (but you) knows if you slack off.

Well. I totally bombed last year’s, which is to say, I can’t remember what I chose. Terrible! I see now it was “open,” which in theory, is a great word, but I didn’t practice it much beyond this post. Oops.

This year I’ve been on the fence. Every time I’m this close to nixing the whole pick-a-word thing, some blogger I love writes a post and I’m overcome with word envy. Here a few I’ve considered stealing and/or am just enjoying vicariously…

Believe (Minuscule Moments)

Reach (Little Lodestar)

Practice, runner up Moose (Tamara Like Camera)

Rise (The Gift of Writing)

I was this close to stealing Kath’s “Believe” because I could really use a hefty dose of confidence and/or magical thinking about finishing my novel.

Naturally, this led me to consider “Finish,” which I almost chose but it seemed kind of resolution-y rather than word-y since what else do I need to finish besides my writing projects? The only thing that came to mind is the enormous laundry pile that I pretend not to see every time I pass it, but the crap thing about laundry is that even when you don’t ignore it you’re never finished. Ever. So forget that.

One morning, after a particularly cranky child-wrangling session, I briefly toyed with the word “Yes.” Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if I stopped yelling “NO” at my kids (amongst other things)? But then I scrapped it after pick up. Because how silly.

Then, sometime very late past my bedtime the other night when my brain is supposed to be quieting down but doesn’t, so I do the exact opposite of what I’m supposed to do and reach for my phone and scroll through Twitter, and then become disgusted with myself and delete the app, and then I check my email, which is ridiculous because no one but spam sends me emails at midnight and not even spam because even they are sleeping, so I put my phone face down and start to panic like I did when I was a kid and knew the night was getting on without me, and just then, a word drops in my brain with a thump, like a leftover holiday package that had been temporarily lost in the post office or the back corner of a UPS truck.

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(Of course I picked my phone right back up and wrote the word down because that’s how addled my brain is and also how addicted I am to my phone.)

So, yes. Focus. I really need more of this in my life. Often, I feel so wild-brained and scattered. I try and fail to multitask. One example that springs to mind is when I’m supposed to be playing/listening/being with my kids but I’m really on my phone. Horrible! I hate this! Sometimes I rationalize, well, he’s perfectly fine playing trains next to me while I read and comment on this blog post… or I say to my daughter for the zillionth time, just let me finish this last thing… Not good.

This year, I’d like to focus on ONE THING AT A TIME.

My writing. My family. Myself.

I may have to tattoo it on my wrist, or maybe just write it on. I used to draw hearts on the top of my daughter’s wrist to remind her of my love when she was in preschool. It’s funny, because now I’m wearing a heart on my wrist, one that she bought me at the gift fair at school.

heart on my wrist

I’m hoping if I can focus more, I will be more present (another good word) and more productive.

I will focus on finishing my novel.

I will focus on my writing as a career, not just a dream.

I will focus on my marriage.

I will focus on laughing more and yelling less.

And finally, I will focus on my children, who are growing up so fast, too fast, rising like beautiful weeds up toward the sun and out of my reach.

I’m sharing this post on Mum Turned Mom’s The Prompt, whose word this week happens to be, focus. Click here to see what other writers have been focusing on…

the prompt