New Year, New (Old) Me

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Our first picture of 2017, just before our midnight run through the neighborhood.

While reviewing last year’s list of resolutions, I was happy to see that I achieved many of them: I lived healthier, ran a half marathon, and attempted to be more appreciative. But the year also came with some disappointments. I learned a few basic language skills, but failed to really improve my Hungarian. I tried a few new things, but not as many exercise classes or out-of-the-box activities as I would have liked, and I’m still anxious about going to those kind of events on my own. I read 50 books, but basically failed to do any of my own writing. So, in 2017, though I have a bunch of new goals, I also want to especially focus on those old ones and familiar ones that have stuck with me.

Learning
love increasing my knowledge, whether it’s by reading National Geographic on the subway or downloading a dozen apps I think I’ll use. But often I take on too many learning projects and some of them end up falling by the wayside. In 2017, I think I need to prioritize which mean the most to me, and which I’ve been trying to achieve for the longest time. My Hungarian is at the top of the list: I’d like to find a way to improve my fluency, even though I have no one here to speak it with and don’t know when I’ll visit the country again, since I just went on my honeymoon. But it’s important to me, to how I define myself, and I don’t want to lose those skills just for lack of practice.

Experiencing
I’ve always felt that part of an experience’s joy comes from the people you share it with; that’s why I try to pack my schedule with as many hangouts with friends and as much time spent with Todd and family as I can. But time alone is also a blessing; it allows you to better know yourself and to allow yourself a little space and a little quiet to think and breathe and just be. In 2017, I want to venture out on my own a little bit more. To take that ballet class or go to yoga even if I don’t have a companion. If I don’t start proactively doing things, I’m never going to try anything new. That said, I am still going to treasure my experiences with other people, like going to a French pastry-making class with Todd (it was one of his Christmas gifts to me) and training with him to run the New York City marathon in 2018.

Writing
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. The urge to put pen to paper lives inside my muscle memory and aches when it goes unfulfilled. And yet, I often don’t write. The litany of excuses is endless: I’m too tired. I don’t have enough time. I can’t get my ideas in order. I have other things to do. But my word of 2017 is focus, and that’s what I’m going to try to do. Focus on one idea, on the words, on the Hemingway quote I had inscribed in my iPad when I first bought it: “The writing is the only progress you make.”

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and goal-crushing new year! What are some new resolutions you’ve made? Are there any old ones you’re still working on achieving?

My Year of Living

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Every year on January 1, I review my list of resolutions from the previous year, checking off the goals I’ve accomplished and figuring out why I failed at others. I then use that list as a starting point for the upcoming year, modifying the difficulty level of my aims up or down depending on my progress. So here are my resolutions for 2016, and we’ll see together if I manage to stick to them.

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NaNoWriMo: The Halfway Mark

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I haven’t posted since November 2 because I’ve been trying to focus my writing elsewhere: my novel. One of the many that I’ve considered, discarded, revived, let fall to the wayside, remembered again. It’s a fantasy story set in another world—well, five other worlds, really. There will be kings, and prophecies, and magic. There will, I hope, be intriguing characters and surprising plot twists. There will be hundreds of pages and hundreds of thousands of words. Continue reading

Poem: On Writing a Novel

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I’m a summer girl. I wear humidity like
a second skin. Sunshine means freedom,
hope, peace. I even love the stench of
this city. And during rainstorms, I walk
barefoot and joyous in its streets.

I learn to feel all things completely.

But this year the chill doesn’t bother me
so much. It reminds me I am flesh,
tissue and muscle and bone—and inside
an untouchable core: a tabernacle
for all the words I have yet to say.

I learn to let them go.

Embarking on a Journey to Rediscover What Poetry Means to Me

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As some of you know, I self-published a poetry book, “An Unfamiliar Ache,” in late 2010. It collects together material spanning the three or four years prior, and I have to admit that it includes much more teenage angst than I remember. As I flip back through its pages, I realize that most of the poems need work. Some of them need to be trashed altogether. They only represent a small sliver of the work I created during that time, and it reminds me of how much and how often I used to write.

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New Goals for the New Year

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As much as I wanted to love teaching, I have to admit that it just isn’t the right career for me. I miss working with words and nitpicking over small grammar issues. I miss proofreading galleys with colored pens and using proofreading symbols. I miss having discussions about artwork, redesign, and cover lines. It’s become clear to me that editing is truly the profession in which I belong. I don’t regret trying out teaching, because now I won’t always wonder whether I would enjoy it, but I am glad that I very quickly realized that I already knew where I belong. Now I just have to get back there.

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