Way back when I was only 39, I made a list of things to do before I turned 40. Some of them were simple (eating hot dogs) and some of them were not so simple (writing a novel). Some of them I accomplished, some of them I didn't. Some of them I really wish I had tried harder to accomplish, some I let go without a second thought. The Yuba River, after all, will be there for a long time. So will Shakespeare plays. The gig is up, however, on getting the kids into backpacks (the good news is that they have hiked two miles on their own two legs!). In all, I managed to do 19 out of 39. Plus a few almosts that I didn't let myself count.
So here we are. A review:
1. start some meaningful and ongoing volunteer work
2. re-read some Shakespeare plays
learn to sew, even a little
4. make a headboard for our bed (not yet, but I bought all the stuff and put it in the garage!)
throw a party
visit a state I've never been to
reunite with some friends I don't see very often: Tara, Vida, Kate, Hilary
8. publish at least one piece in a national publication (I'm not counting my freelance magazine work. I'm only counting fiction and essays. So, no. Not this year)
take my kids to the circus
11. eat hot dogs on the pier at Chrissy Field with my family
12. swim in the Yuba River
go to Vermont
16. host a brunch/clothing swap at my house
follow the sun more when it gets foggy
eat oysters at Tomales Bay Oyster Company
19. spend a weekend by myself
20. make ice cream and then sundaes with Magnolia and Oliver
finish landscaping my front yard
22. find some more good, cheap restaurants to love in San Francisco
23. go the Alameda Flea Market
24. take a dance class
25. do some more encaustic painting
26. go hiking with the kids in backpacks before they really get too heavy
27. take the kids on a ferry ride to Angel Island
clean out the garage
29. eat pupusas
plant a few veggies (pickling cucumbers!)
32. write a letter to my representative
33. have a movie marathon day at a multiplex
34. write a rough draft of the novel I'm working on (*please see NOTE below)
36. get a massage
organize the closets
make a new friend (Hi, Miranda)
have a San Francisco day with my family: cable car, Swensen's, chowder in a sourdough bowl, Fisherman's Wharf
All of the things leftover are on my rollover list. I still want to paint more encaustic. I still want to make it to the Alameda Flea Market. I am still planning on writing my representative (I mean a real letter, not a click-here-to-sign), and I still have a gift certificate for a massage that I haven't used. It's looking pretty good for 41, I must say.
* NOTE: Although I am still a long ways from completing the novel I have been working on, I am 120 pages into it. Which is enough to know that I want to finish it.
There are many reasons why I am a slow writer. Motherhood is one of them. So are The Sopranos on DVD (yes, I started over), general fatigue, and maybe a smidge of self-defeatism. But what really slows me down is worrying about keeping up this blog. I love this, but I am starting to believe there is no greater impediment to writing a longer work than blogging (well, maybe Tweeting). There are only so many hours, as they say, but more than that, there are only some many creative impulses, only so many times you can hurry-scurry from one thing to another and retain any sort of depth or focus.
So, in an effort to actually give this book a chance, I am committing to blogging only once a week. Maybe twice if I'm feeling chatty. I'll still be here, just less often. We'll call it quality over quantity. Kay?