Monday, January 4, 2010

Prospero Ano y Felicidad

Happy New Year! 

I'd like to begin with a tribute to Jon Scieszka, outgoing Children's Literature Ambassador, guy's guy, writer's writer, kids' hero. 

The drive to write is the drive to be connected, to move others in some fundamental way.  Scieszka has said he writes to make kids laugh.  As a mother of preschoolers, I say -- Bless him.  As a writer, I say -- Bless him.  As a teacher, I say again -- Bless him.

So, who will be the next Ambassador?  I would offer a prize for the correct guess, but we already have some big contest action this week.  April's wonderful picture book (congrats on the latest kudos, April!) and her recent posts have frankly made me see New Year's Day in a new light.  Yes, in 2010 I'd love to get fit, eat more healthfully, drink less, etc.... but in all honesty, the sacredness of the occasion has not been so clear to me at any time since I was seven years old.  That was the year my parents went to a party and promised to wake me at midnight; but (and I understand completely now that I'm a parent of a hard-sleeping girl) they didn't have the heart to follow through.  I remember the next morning -- mourning, wailing, gnashing of teeth, and many tears because I would never see the Old Year again.  (And yes, 1979 was a great year!) 

A facebook friend posted last week that she regarded this new decade with mixed feelings, as the last (nameless, generally reviled) one marked her marriage, new motherhood, and the advent of the "grown-up" years.  I must say, I feel exactly the same.

I am not a habitual resolver, as I am far from resolute.  Further, once I fall off the wagon (so to speak), I'm gone.  Like most people, I respond far better to positive reinforcement than negative consequences; but of course, what better reward is there than the fruits of one's writing labors?

In the hope that posting it here will keep me honest or at least remotely on-task, here's my six-word resolution for the New Year.  I resolve to:
Rest.  Read.  Play.  Love.  Laugh.  Relax!

You will note that there is nary a mention of writing in my writing resolutions.  However, in these early years of motherhood and consuming day job, I have often failed to nurture myself, to "fill the well" (as they say) and do the things that inspire.  So I hope to make it a nine-word memoir and add write/revise/repeat to the tally.  But I refuse to beat myself up if I don't make it there.  Someday -- as you all have so often and kindly reminded me.

I just had two weeks' vacation from work.  I had time to read!  I downloaded the free Kindle for PC application.  I am neck-deep in mysteries and kids' books and loving it.  I resolved to update my website, and I did that, too.  Being html-illiterate, I tried the yahoo sitebuilder tool.  It's garnered mixed reviews online, and I've hardly built a professional-quality site; but it's serviceable and, significantly, I can now update it myself.  I've spent time reading about teaching and planning my syllabus for the upcoming semester.  I've slept and played with the kids and relished the time we've had to just BE.  And, not so coincidentally, the writing ideas are percolating like mad.

Today marks the end of vacation but the beginning of a new year filled with promise.  Wishing you all much happiness in 2010 and always!
Jeanne Marie
*Addendum from Carmela: In case you didn't know, today is "Thank Jon Scieszka Day!" To read more about Jon and his work, please visit A Year of Reading.  


Carmela Martino said...

What a wise and wonderful resolution, Jeanne Marie! And hurray for not beating yourself up if you don't get as much writing/revising done as you'd like. At the last SCBWI-Illinois Prairie Writer's Day, Cynthia Leitich Smith reminded us that "reading time is writing time."

Jon Scieszka said...

Thanks for the tribute Jeanne.
And best of luck with your great resolutions.
Love the "Play".

Mary Lee said...

You were right to give Mr. S. the multiple blessings!!