the renewed year (like a library book that you’ve checked out before, and it’s a little worn, but you didn’t really finish reading it the first time you borrowed it although you told people you did, but now you’re ready to try again for real, for yourself. that kind of renewed)

Hello all! Has it really only been four months? (This is a joke. I know it shouldn’t have taken me four months to come back.)

It’s not like I’ve stopped writing, though. I’ve been writing on my own, more than ever, reorganizing myself.  That’s a weird way to put it, isn’t it? But it does kind of feel like that, sometimes, when you reflect a lot — like you’re rearranging your insides into something less recognizable, possibly better (and maybe not, who can know?).  Maybe it’s the New Year spirit of it all, with my small list of resolutions I’m set on accomplishing. Or the perspective-changing NYC trip a few weeks ago with my family, people I thought could never understand me.  It turns out (surprising no one) that I’ve been pretty selfish for 20.5 years: self-absorbed, pretentious, and unduly arrogant about myself (strange things to be, when one is also sure that one simultaneously hates oneself). It’s occurred to me that everything I was so sure of was wrong; I already knew I wasn’t smart, but it’s another thing altogether to realize how much I thought I knew, even despite knowing I didn’t know much of anything at all; i.e. the, like, 3 things I based life on were faulty. Nice.

 

Anyway, my 2017 strategy is to write a lot. That way, I can look at an idea on a page and wonder: Is this right? Can I convince myself this is right, without betraying myself? And then, I can come back in another 20.5 years, and think: Boy, was I so, so wrong; but at least I know that was wrong. Then what is right, for me, 20.5 + 20.5 years older?

Mushy, yes. I know. I’m wearing a massive turtleneck and a huge black sweater over it that feels like a constant hug from a sheep. I’m a bit hot and my face feels like hot rice pudding, and overall pretty inordinately optimistic right now. So sue me, happiness police.

Here are my resolutions:

  1. Do all the semester readings. Read all my emails. I had 800+ unread emails last year, and it’s not going to happen again.
    1. Progress: Well, it’s only Day 3 of the semester, so if I weren’t on track I’m pretty sure I’d be worthless as a member of society in general, I think.
  2. Read a lot more. Stop lying to each page by skipping boring parts. Not counting schoolwork, at least one novel and one nonfiction book/essay compilation a month, particularly world literature. Decide which books in advance.
    1. Progress: I’ve started with Murakami for novels, and Kundera for essays –Every mass book consumer’s jump-off point, right? — and I’m trying to shorten a list of books to a manageable number. Half are by non-Western authors, and much are by women.
  3. Write more: Daily. This includes my novel, but also daily journalistic observations, notebook writing, and this blog.
    1. Progress: I finally like where TWISOM is going, I think. I’m also going to consume more similar media. Also, It’s only January 19, but I’ve already gone 3/4 through a composition notebook with daily thoughts!
  4. Learn 1000 kanji: Make a calendar.
    1. Progress: It’s definitely harder when they become more complex. But Memrise is a lot of fun. If only the kun/onyomi weren’t so varied!
  5. Learn cartooning: I love comics, and it’s unapologetic at this point. I’m twenty years old and I can like whatever the hell I want, Dad!
    1. Progress: It’s unbelievable how many free resources there are online. I also think the more you know about what decisions have been made in art (painting, film, cartooning, video-making, why a scene is set up like this, blah — it helps you think even more about the art, not less). I’ve filled up half a sketchbook since last year, and I’m starting with realism, learning from life.
  6. Write TWISOM.
    1. Progress: What can I say that I’m ready to say now? Nothing, I think. But it’s becoming clearer to me that my satisfaction with how the novel turns out is deeply contingent on 2 and 3.
  7. Put an effort into my appearance, daily. It’s kind of a show of respect to other people, to show you tried to at least look your best for the world. I think it was Baudelaire who said that (thanks, Mark O’Connor), though I’m paraphrasing.

    1. Progress: To be honest, I only have 7 good outfits, and I’m starting to run out.
  8. Lose weight: How much weight is my business, and why I’m doing it is also my business. Also, this is unrelated to 7.
    1. Progress: Pretty good, actually. You’d be surprised, because I’m surprised too. This means no more ramen or caramel macchiatos, but I find I don’t really miss them (yet).
  9. Be more open to people: share more. Not things I think people want to hear or even things I think they should hear, but share a genuine self, from which they can bounce off and reflect, and we can collaborate together to become realer people.
    1. Progress: I kind of want to figure out what I want to share, and what I should share with people in order to improve both my life and their life; not my depression, for example, unless I think they’re capable of doing something with that knowledge.

(Things I’ve left out of my resolutions include improving my social relationships and saving money. I’m not even ready to start being more mature. Hopefully I’ll get there, before I die. Lately, and I know this is horrible, people other than my mom and my roommate are so difficult.)

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