In psychology there’s this idea that some babies have a ‘slow to warm up’ temperament. These little ones are tentative about new people and situations. I picture their small faces screwed up in crossness, baby thought bubbles above their heads saying, Who dis?
I think I’m a slow to warm up adult. For instance, I seem to be congenitally incapable of doing interval training. By the time my mind and body have worked out what we’re supposed to be doing the interval is over and some other thing is happening. It’s very confusing!
And it always seems to be the third week of January before I get around to farewelling the past year and thinking about the one to come. And by to come I mean which is already 1/17th over.
Anyway… here, belatedly, is a short review of my 2017 – the highs, the lows, the dubious, the discombobulating – and a few things I’d like to achieve in 2018.
The novels I enjoyed most in 2017 were:
- The History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
- Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – this one is being made into a TV series on Starz
- The Girls by Emma Cline.
As I look at this list I realise all three are first-person narratives told by strangely detached yet beautifully poetic young women. Huh… My reviews/ratings are on Goodreads.
The standout non fiction book for me last year was The French Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Fabrice Midal. It’s really a book about mindfulness. As a failed meditator I found the message of this book – to try less hard, in a way – deeply comforting. So much of the non fiction I usually read is American, and the different cultural perspective, relying less on endless anecdotes to lead in to every point, was wonderfully refreshing.
The shows I most loved were:
- GoT – I’ve basically written the final season in my own head and spent much of the past few months boring all my friends with my various theories
- Berlin Station – Season 1 was so intelligent and surprisingly moving
- The Jim Jefferies Show – not for the politically conservative! Although I enjoy the comedy I most appreciate his intriguing, creative mind. I would totally invite him to my dinner party, were I ever to host such a thing (because that’s the obstacle to Jim Jefferies coming to my house – my non dinner-party hosting status).
Lowlight: I had to deal with a very difficult and costly professional relationship. Yuck!
Highlight: But got my first book published – woohoo!
My friends were, as usual, one of the best things about the year.
I was touched and so utterly grateful for their support of my book – buying multiple copies, sharing my book updates with their friends, coming to my signing.
I was also struck several times by how lucky I am to have friends who tell me what I need to hear. Just recently one friend gave me difficult but absolutely spot-on feedback on a project. Another pointed out, though in her very gentle way, an annoying and self-defeating attitude I had developed. And if I’m ever cross with Craig about some heinous misstep of his, my friends always make me feel they’re totally on my side, while actually pointing out exactly how things look from his side. Damn them! With friends like these – well I couldn’t be luckier.
As for the new year, here’s what I’m focussed on…
- Supporting and promoting my published book, How to Be Thin in a World of Chocolate
- Working on my current manuscript – this one is about introversion – to make it the best I can
- Playing around with new writing projects.
- Being able to do the splits – In fashion documentary Mademoiselle C, Carine Roitfeld (style maven and editor-in-chief of French Vogue for a decade) did the splits, and she was in her late 50s! She said it took her about a year. I want to try!
- Learning art app Procreate and finding a style for my own creative practice
- Learning art history – I’ll start by re-watching my DVDs of the absolutely delightful Sister Wendy.
There’s one more personal goal but it’s a complicated one that needs its own post – so I’ll write that separately.
I like this process of reviewing and looking ahead! I think I’ll write another post like this next quarter, so I’ll see you again in March.
Well, probably April!
So how about you? What were your key milestones of 2017? Beloved books and TV shows? What’s on your agenda for 2018? Please share!
Photo by Joanna Kosinska