new year, new list.

One of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman, replied to a comment I sent him about his New Year 2015 post on his blog (it made me cry...Internet, I've been having a YEAR). It might have just been because of where I've been at the last few nights, but his reply felt very gentle, and it felt very kind. I think I've written here before about how important kindness has become to me.

(On a slightly unrelated side note, his reply also gave me a brief glimpse into what a famous person gets to deal with when they log onto Twitter...nobody was interested in me at all, but they WERE interested in getting his attention. And because he linked to me, I got to get some of his attention by proxy. And so, for about 2 hours my Twitter notifications blew up a bit. It was mind boggling; I didn't know where to look first or WHO these people were. Ah, so THAT'S why they need a little blue VIP check. And to not reply to every single person who tries to get their attention because it creates more Twitter chaos and god knows it already has plenty of that. God bless them.)

At any rate, now I feel like I can officially begin 2015 on a good note. (Thank you, Neil Gaiman. Love you.)

Also, on New Year's Eve, I looked and looked and looked for a place to send my story "Alice's Sensible Plan." Finding none (or at least none I felt would be even slightly interested in publishing it), I just said "screw it." And I published it myself on Wattpad. I'm still on the fence about that place, but I know for a fact Margaret Atwood and Paul Coehlo post stories there and if Margaret and Paul say it's okay, then so be it. Here you go: Amy's first (self-) published story.

You can tell I'm a total newbie at that place. First off, the title of the tale is simply "Alice's Sensible Plan." But Wattpad wanted another title. Or something happened. Anyway, now it's turned into "Alice's Sensible Plan: A World War II Bride Breaks Free." Which is just too, too long and not my intention. But I'm too lazy to fix it. Also, there are formatting issues and probably some typos I've missed. C'est la vie, I'm not an editor, humming Let It Go to myself whenever I think about it.

Okay. Moving on to 2015: A memo I found, with questions to think about as you go into another new year. I liked this better than setting goals...whenever I set goals, I tend to like to sabotage them. Maybe if I just answer questions, I'll trick my ego into thinking this is just about getting fun stuff it likes. I don't know. Let's try it and see!

A bad habit I'm going to break:

Lands. Just *A* bad habit? As in only one? This is hard, World Wide Web! Well, I'd like to have a better night/bedtime schedule, I guess. Right now, it's: come home, cook dinner, clean up dinner, become a vegetable on the internet, give Miss M a bath, read a story, put her to bed, go back to being an online vegetable. This is no way to live. 

I'd like to get into the habit of having a peaceful night. Like 80% peaceful, meditative night with 20% vegetating because right now it's the opposite. That's my bad habit I'm going to work on breaking. (I'm not going to tempt fate by announcing it will be broken...there are reasons I'm papering over the cracks with online vegetating.)

A new skill I'd like to learn:

You know what's been sloshing around in my brain for awhile? Taking an acting class. I don't know why. Maybe I feel the need to find a way to break out of my comfort zone. For some reason, I sense an acting class may do this. I'm going to pencil that in as a Summer 2015 activity.

A person I hope to be more like:

Elizabeth Gilbert, duh. And my dear friend Carol, who's basically as good as being with Elizabeth Gilbert because they're like soul spirit twinsies. I'm going to try to schedule more lunch dates with Carol/Liz this coming year. I have other lovely human beings I will invite along on these outings as well. 

A good deed I'm going to do:

I actually have big plans for this. I've noticed Miss M is sort of...how can I put this nicely? She can be grabbie. A cute little crabby grabbie. She's got a very kind heart, and often expresses concern for people who are having a hard time....until they try to take something she feels is hers and then it's bloody freaking murder time! I want her to know how fortunate she is, and how much other people (and kids) can really struggle, and that if you have more, it's important to help people who have less. Nobody should hoard all the gold; it's not right, and it's not fair and stop trying to feed us all that crap about needing all the money to create more jobs it's a load of horse dukie and you know it.

Anyway, C's talked about taking her to a soup kitchen to volunteer once in awhile, which is an excellent idea and I've thought about that too. And I'd also like to do just random acts of kindness with her, things for neighbors around us, or just when we're out and about. Always on the lookout for somebody who needs something, or just a kind gesture. 

A place I'd like to visit:

Goodness, again with the too many choices. Well, if I COULD, I'd go to Europe. Specifically the UK to feed my anglophilia, but I'd consider other areas. A part of me says: just whip out a credit card and freaking go before your passport expires and then you have to go through the hassle of renewing it...and one day, I may be able to do that. 

But not this year, unfortunately. Too much in the oven, not enough dough in the kitchen. So, I'm going to say that I'd like to take a trip alone somewhere but I don't know where. And I don't know why I want to go alone, but I feel the need to travel solo (sorry Mom. I know you're reading that and going: What did I tell you on the phone the other night about that?!) (hey everybody, could you stop right now and offer a prayer or a good vibe that nothing bad happens to me on this solo trip so I don't have to take a call from my mom wherein she goes: You see?! I TOLD you so! You never listen to me!)

A book I'd like to read:

I have far too many of these to put here. One I didn't get for Christmas that I should have asked for is Amanda Palmer's THE ART OF ASKING. I sense it may be a life changing book. She also has a wonderfully sweet TED Talk about the art of asking

A letter I'm going to write:

Not a letter so much, but just more writing in general. My 2015 aspiration (I will not say goal, I will not say goal) is to write every day. Every single day, for at least 30 minutes. About what I don't know yet. But every single day. Every. Day. (It's my therapy, and I will need it this year.)

A new food I'd like to try:

Marmite. Ha! No, I'm just messing with you--I once had some of that stuff on the tip of my little finger and I just couldn't do it. It's the look and smell--very vomit-like (sorry UK people, but it appears many of you eat vomit, and on a regular basis). I mean, I know it's not technically vomit, and I'm being slightly pejorative toward another culture. The UK has lots of lovely food...clotted cream, scones, Eton Mess, Yorkshire pudding, fish & chips, bangers & mash...and then there's marmite. It is just not one of the UK's finest culinary creations, in my opinion). 

Soooo...well. How about vegetarian food? I know that's sort of a lame, kind of cop out answer. But seriously: tofu. Gross, right? I'm game to try it in 2015, though.

I'm going to do better at:

Being open to lots of different kinds of people and experiences (excluding marmite, sorry). I can be fairly judgmental, and when people are judgmental it seems to be born out of their own insecurities. I'd like to be better at being a friend...I'd like to ask for forgiveness more. I'd like to find something beautiful about each day, no matter how hard it was. Elizabeth Gilbert does happiness jars, and a friend of mine also posted on Facebook about a gratitude journal idea she's starting, both excellent ideas. I would like to offline journal again, because it's therapeutic, but if I do it as a gratitude journal, I am self aware enough to know I'd most likely end up really venting my spleen. I would never share any of it here, because I'd write things that would appall and shock you and make you really start to wonder about me. So I'm probably more likely to stick to the happiness jar because if I forget to add to it for, say, ten days, I sense there'd be less self-flagellation involved. So I will begin a happiness jar, with a vent-my-spleen journal for balance. 

In summary, it sounds like in 2015 I'll be aiming for more peaceful moments, kindness and generosity, art and writing, breaking out of my comfort zones, tofu but not marmite, travel, forgiveness, and reflection. With some spleen venting because nobody can be happy 100% of the time, and plus stories with no conflict are simply not stories anybody wants to read or watch or hear. It's just how it is.

Overall, I guess what I'm looking for is connection.

My wish for you, whoever you are reading this, is that your 2015 is filled with millions of blessings, a lot of laughing, kisses and hugs from people who know and love you the best (or why not? kisses and hugs from complete strangers if that's what you're into), at least one grand adventure you can talk about for a very long time, and some really amazing moments of peace and grace filled with the knowledge you're not alone in any of this. And maybe also one amazing new friendship, and lots and lots of art, whichever kind makes you the happiest.

Welcome, 2015. Welcome to this crazy, splendid old world of ours.

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