It might be old-fashioned, but I am still a New Year’s resolution girl. How I love the turn of the year with all of its sparkling promise, a time of renewal and reflection as I think back over what I accomplished in the year that was and anticipate what I might accomplish in the year to be.
With that, resolutions were hard this year on the writing front, because I have a very hazy future stretched out in front of me in the near term. A new baby on the way makes it hard to set defined goals and swear to stick to them. Publishing a book? Launching a book tour? Promoting my first small business history? All exciting and wonderful. But how might it all work out with a July birth rising up smack in the middle of it all, like a flashing delineator post?
I don’t know. That’s the truth. But here is what I do know: I can pledge this year to read more, and I can succeed. I have enough back issues of literary journals to take me through the entire year, if I read one a month. Same is true for back issues of phenomenal writing magazines like The Sun and Creative Nonfiction. Reading more is the resolution I am perhaps most excited about this year, because it open so many doors:
1) It will help me identify magazines and journals where I think my voice might fit, giving me stronger pitching potential when the time comes.
2) It will nurture my own trove of ideas and help me to establish my personal voice when I do put pen to paper.
3) It will introduce me to new names, and old names I’ve forgotten since college. (Hello, William Faulkner.)
4) It will spur me on to create something new.
5) It will make me a more educated person. How I fear I fail at this – being educated – when I can’t remember the beginning lines of a Shakespeare sonnet or the dang plot of Steinbeck’s East of Eden or who President Garfield was.
6) And, of course, reading will help me tend to my own changing body and give it the rest that it needs to help new life grow.
To start with, a 2011 issue of the journal, Prairie Schooner (University of Nebraska), the December 2011 issue of The Sun, and a sappy romance by Ian McEwan. Here’s the deal. Every inspiring piece of work I come across on my reading adventure I will share here in some form. A new name, a poem, an image that strikes. In return, I would like to know:
-What books are you reading this year?
-What books or authors do you recommend I add to my reading list, and why are they musts?
Ready and set … I’m off to read.