Hayley Snow is a character that Lucy Burdette created. And I don’t like to play favorites- but Hayley is in my top 5 fav cozy mystery characters. Maybe it’s her food critic job, or the fact that she has been unlucky in love (and I can relate). Perhaps, it’s because she rides a scooter everywhere and I think that is so cool. But, maybe, just maybe- it’s Hayley and her love of having her tarot cards read. Continue reading
Alison Law is a force to be reckoned with. Alison is a marketing genius. Smart as a whip- and kind! Alison, besides being you know busy with school, Alison Law Communications, and other things- also finds time to be a member of She Reads (where she lovingly made a master list of She Reads bloggers for Twitter- there is that marketing mind!) I asked Alison if she had time to write a guest post- and she agreed. And her post, about permission to be imperfect, is honest and heartwarming.
Alison Law resolves to be Imperfect in 2014
This Year I Resolve to be Imperfect
I am an achievement and self-improvement junkie, so the approach of a New Year sends my already-active brain into overdrive. As I write this—on December 31—my dining room table has become a cluttered command center of “let’s do everything bigger and better in 2014!” Business and personal finance books, goals worksheets and planning materials intermingle with new health insurance cards and New Year’s greeting cards. I hover on the cusp of greatness and I love it.
I can ignore my crime scene of an office and chores today because I’ll be reborn as a meticulous cleaning machine in less than 12 hours. I can eat these Totino’s pizza rolls (with real pepperoni seasoning!), corn chips and French onion dip until I pop today, because when that smartphone strikes midnight, a virtuous and health-conscious Alison will take the keys from me, and my calorie record will be expunged.
The reason that we stay up way past our bedtimes, wearing cardboard party hats and tiaras that leave glitter rashes on our foreheads, is that we (the collective pronoun) love change within our control. We’re in love with the idea of a clean slate, a fresh start and all the other clichés for tidy beginnings. Possibility is intoxicating. Potential is out there, just waiting for us to sidle up next to it and give it a scratch behind the ear.
That’s why I wasn’t a bit surprised to learn in this New York Times article that human beings get a bigger jolt of happiness from planning their vacations than actually going on the trips. Anticipation is a lusty bedfellow to the inner control freak who thinks she can plan everything terrific that can possibly happen in the next twelve months until it’s impossible for the mundane or bad stuff to coexist. This myth appeals to every part of my borderline-OCD personality, but it is just a horrible lie. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned (earned) in my almost 40 years of living on this planet, it’s this: when you resolve to be perfect—at cleaning, eating, exercising, etc.—you’re setting yourself up for utter failure.
Therefore, in terms of resolutions, I’m going to relish the reading and planning that always accompanies my greeting a New Year; I always learn a lot and appreciate those embers that keep my intellectual fires stoked. 2013 was a wonderful year in a lot of ways, but it had its painful moments, too. Enough moments to remind me that I need to leave room in my crazy life for the unexpected crazy. No planning can defeat the uninvited crazy, so I’m just going to make up the guest room and put out the nice towels for it. There’s still plenty of room for dreams and goals, but my aspirations have a better shot when I evict perfectionism and let the unplanned have run of the house.
Today, Karen Brown- author of The Longings of Wayward Girls, discusses why she broke her rule of not making resolutions.
Guest Post by Karen Brown:
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. It’s always seemed like a gesture doomed to failure, made at an incredibly auspicious moment—one that each year feels full of magic. Keeping a resolution made for the New Year was a little like having made a wish knowing that I was the only one able to grant it. As a child I’d address my weaknesses: I vow not to procrastinate. These seemed things I could address and control, but they were dull, everyday commitments, and never seemed to match the thrill of a new date written at the top of a school paper. I found soon enough that as the year progressed I fell back into habits that were probably not in my control to change.
As an adult one New Year’s Eve, standing in a line for the ladies room in a club, the band booming through the wall, I spoke my resolution out loud to a woman I hardly knew. “I’m going to publish my writing.” I’m sure she smiled at me, indulgently, and then disappeared into the next available stall. This resolution seemed far too outlandish—and it would take years for it to become a reality. Maybe a resolution is simply a reaffirmation of our dreams, and a chance to prove we can be the person we imagined?
This year, I decided to make a resolution before the new year presented itself. I wanted to finish a draft of my new novel by midnight. Even making the decision had a sense of the fairy tale about it. I’d been working on the thing all summer, and making little headway. I was dabbling, not really writing. As New Year’s approached I knew that a deadline was necessary, and what better reward than that sense of completion as the new year rolled in?
I made no other plans New Year’s Eve—no other commitments. I worked for fourteen straight hours with few breaks. At eleven thirty I wrote the last scene and at midnight I opened a bottle of champagne—a gift from the childhood friend to whom I’d dedicated my first novel, and who before a visit last summer I hadn’t seen in over thirty years. Of course the book isn’t entirely complete, but reaching the end, letting the story lead me to reveal where it’s been headed all along, is completion enough. A new draft for a New Year! Other than health and happiness, as a writer I can’t think of anything better.