Ten days into my 2022 projects and I have made a few important discoveries.
- Cookbooks aren’t meant to be read straight through from beginning to end. Or at least I’m not good at reading them that way. I still haven’t even made it to the recipe sections on the cookbook I started with, which obviously also means I haven’t cooked anything from it yet, either. I’ve been reading a little of it most days, but it’s packed with information and a little goes a long way.
- I like learning, but apparently I really don’t want to learn anything more about writing. Or at least I seem to have tremendous resistance to opening the pile of writing/publishing/marketing books in my 2022 Learning Project collection.
- Books make it into my “you’re a good book and so maybe I’ll read you someday” collection when they’re dark and depressing, sometimes violent, sometimes just angsty or sad. Also? I don’t want to read depressing books these days. How long has it been since I willingly read depressing books? Um, possibly a decade, since my mom died. But I’ve definitely rejected the dark during the pandemic years. Brilliantly-written mystery that starts with a young woman’s mutilation and murder? NOT INTERESTED. Compelling story of a family facing tragedy? NOPE. Engrossing fantasy in which a protagonist faces the forces of darkness? Eh, probably not.
I understand my 2021 reading a lot better, in which — for example — I read approximately 35 books in a science fiction series where basically nothing happens. But nothing happens in a very comfortable and friendly manner, with uber-powerful Artificial Intelligences stepping in to stop the biologicals from hurting themselves or others. Those books are, honestly, boring, but I read one after another after another until I was done. (All in KU, so they weren’t costing me money.)
What does this mean for my 2022 Fiction Reading Project? Well… I’m not sure yet. But it might take me a lot longer to make it through those 36 books than I anticipated it would and a lot of them might just move back to the Read Someday collection. Someday I’ll be tired of comfort reads, right?
Basically, I’m 10 days into my 2022 project and… well… I kinda just don’t wanna. On the other hand, I’m being good about trying to walk at least 2 miles a day & avoid sugar, so maybe this year is just going to be a year about getting a little healthier. There’s plenty of the year left in which to find out. But I’m not going to push myself through reading books I don’t enjoy — this is not grade school and I am not my own teacher, demanding I do busywork for the sake of doing busywork.
Also, when it comes to how I choose to spend my time, reading things that I don’t enjoy just for the sake of saying that I read them feels… like perhaps not the smartest use of my energy? At any moment, I could be walking a dog, going to the beach, taking a photograph, writing a book or story, learning more about art… yeah. I’m not quite giving up on my 2022 projects — I’m still going to try to turn to those books when I’m looking for something to read. But they’re not going to be a drain on my energy.
In other news, I finished my review of the audiobook of A Gift of Thought this weekend, so it’s going to be available reasonably soon. It was another interesting reading experience for me. Where did I ever get the idea that I wrote light, fun fiction? That book is about a dead teenager struggling with guilt over his own death! It did make me laugh here and there, and I really loved a few of the scenes, but it’s not nearly as light as I thought it was.
The hardest scene for me to listen to was one at the end with Sylvie telling Dillon how much she loved him and how hard she’d tried to always make the right choices for him and how she would do anything, absolutely anything, to help him. Talk about heart-breaking. I was, of course, writing my own feelings about my own son. The irony — one I was completely unaware of at the time — was that Dillon has acknowledged in the previous chapter that he doesn’t really care about her. Can we call that irony? Maybe just prescient in some way? It made me cry, but fortunately, it was the last chapter so I finished up and moved on.
This Christmas/New Year’s was the first time I made no effort to reach out to R. I’ve usually texted him on holidays, even though I’m fairly sure he blocked my number, and of course, I tried to send him stocking stuffers on Christmas for 2020. This Christmas, though, I spent hours wavering — email? voice mail? another text into the void? — and finally I resorted to asking the universe for a sign. The universe gave me a gorgeous, full, bright rainbow, which felt so much like an answer! Not, unfortunately, a very clear answer. But it did inspire me to google, which led me back to his Twitter feed. He’d unlocked it at some point, so I read through it. It turned out to be helpful, because he had a tweet about taste that was in phenomenally poor taste, which reminded me that he is not the 15-year-old I adored. I guess I needed the reminder.
Speaking of reminders, though, I could be writing fun things now. Or walking a dog. Or going to the beach or cooking something delicious or even scrubbing the toilet, any of which would be more fun, productive, and satisfying than dwelling on the past. Or even on the future. There’s a therapy line (or maybe a 12-step line), “Do the next right thing.” I think I shall go do that, whatever it turns out to be!