Resolutions

04Jan10

Here it is January again, and once again I am resolved.

A little more than a year ago, I quit my job as a lawyer to live my dream.  Like so many others before me and those in concert with me now, I’d like to become a writer.  My friends are very supportive, and they correct me when I say things like that — “I’d like to become a writer.”  The tell me that I have to start saying that I AM a writer.  And in my heart of hearts, I am, and I always have been.  The problem is I can’t begin.

When I was younger, throughout the first half of my 20-year legal career, I was a writer.  It was so simple for me then.  No pressures of publishing or wondering whether anyone else thought my product was good.  I wrote because I enjoyed it.  I could let my imagination rip and run.  I wrote short stories, poetry, I created film and TV concepts.  Just for fun.

Then, at some point, the scales tipped and I became more of a lawyer than a writer.  I forgot how to use adjectives and abstractions.  I wore suits.  All of my legal thinking and strategizing exhausted my reservoir of imagination. Before long, my primary source of entertainment shifted to reality TV.  I knew something had to change by Thanksgiving a couple of years ago.  I was sick, and I sent my husband out to have some fun and celebrate Thanksgiving without me.  I stayed at home in bed.  That’s when I stumbled across a “Bret Michaels: Rock of Love Marathon.”  I’m here to tell you that rock bottom is nowhere you want to find yourself.

My husband and I ultimately decided that moving to Berlin was my best hope.  It’s cheap here, so we don’t need two incomes.  My husband gave me this stunning gift of not having to earn an income so that I could live my dream.

Here’s where I am after 10 and a half months:

  • I drink more.  In the U.S., I hardly drank at all.  I taught my acid-sensitive stomach to handle alcohol so that I could become a boozy mess like all of the greats.  I invoke Ernest Hemingway’s name gratuitously.  I think often about taking up smoking, but realize how truly pathetic that would be at age 47.
  • I periodically refuse to read e-mail, use Facebook, or read the Huffington Post.  The void created by those electronic drugs is too depressing.
  • I’ve started writing three different books.  Once I became engrossed in background research and sketching out characters.
  • A friend of mine decided to write a book and has during the same 10 and a half months finished at least four drafts.  She encouraged me a few weeks ago to write just four sentences to get started.
  • I wrote four sentences.
  • I’ve almost decided on four different occasions to change my plans and instead get another graduate degree.
  • I’ve become addicted to a German reality show, “Das perfekte Dinner,” even though I only understand about 50 percent of what is being said.
  • I’ve taken up cooking.
  • I’ve delayed my first book project until after I purchase my new iMac computer … sometime after January 26th when Steve Jobs unveils some new model or software or some technological brilliance I otherwise can’t live without.

Hello?  Seriously now.  What am I doing?  On the bright side, it is 2:34 a.m., and I elected to open my laptop and blog tonight rather than watching five straight episodes of The Wire until I’m so disturbed I absolutely can not imagine anything beyond during which episode the frighteningly handsome drug dealer Stringer Bell will find himself in a body bag.  (I watched that episode two nights ago.)

So maybe in 2010, I will outpace my four-sentence record.  Maybe the pendulum will reposition itself so that I can call myself a writer and not feel as though I am exaggerating.

If you want to find out my fate, or if you want to feel good about the five sentences you wrote last year, stay tuned.

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