Friday, 4 January 2013

areeoooww (take 2)

I just revisited this post from this time last year and it made me grin. New year last year was ripe with dalmatians and mycellium and the sweet forest mulch. This time we were in our penthouse, screaming at fireworks, limbo dancing to ABBA, acting the easy fools.

Recapping is nice because it means looking back and not being overwhelmed by the perennial refrain of I said I'd have a book by now, I said I'd have something done. 

So, we moved to Berlin. Suddenly, living is cheap and somehow easy. Life is full of kites to fly and abandoned airports to cycle down the runways. Turkish veg markets, Gl├╝hwein in plastic cups, naked saunas, rooftop balconies, cobbled streets, smoky bars, thunderstorms. Lakes, and the promise of a summer roadtripping in a van. Being in Europe, with all the sweet suggestiveness that entails. Not being in London. Making a conscious decision to quit reading the Guardian. Abandoning myself to know nothing about the world but the stories I can learn from books.

This year I had a story broadcast on BBC Radio, a poem published in the Best British Poetry 2012, a nomination for the Pushcast, and a fellowship from Summer Literary Seminars, judged by Mary Gaitskill. I got a letter from Tom Robbins saying how much he liked my story. These are my two biggest heroes. They have now read and liked my writing. This blows my mind.

Even better, I got emails from an agent who not only likes what I write, but gets it. She said she will send things to all the markets you have ever dreamed of being in, and I frantically quit as many jobs as possible to get up first thing in the morning and write, write, write.

What else? I read in Berlin, Paris and Edinburgh. On the internet, people I have never met contacted me to ask for poems and stories for their journals.

I finally got a little bit smart about working and a lot less stressed. I went on the internet too much, but didn't we all go on the internet too much this year? Don't we all kind of wish the government would decide what's good for us and block it all forever?

Resolutions? Mainly to remember two things:

"Happiness is a learned condition. And since it is learned and self-generating, it does not depend upon external circumstances for its perpetuation."      
 Tom Robbins
“The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
 William Saroyan

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