Good morning.

First off, I want to say thanks to everyone at the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines for hosting a great event last night. And thanks especially to all the folks who came out, particularly Danielle and Sarah, who are apparently responsible for my books getting passed around several of the schools there. The reading was fun, I got to meet a lot of new people, AND there were Fritos. What more do you want?

Meanwhile, it’s the last day of 2004, which has me thinking about resolutions. First off let me be clear: I really am not that big a fan of New Year’s Eve. Mostly because it’s a holiday that I’ve always felt involves pressure: pressure to do something fabulous (as Samantha Jones would say) pressure to go out, pressure to Make It Memorable. The last few years, though, I’ve been very grateful for my neighbor David, who throws a party every year that is always fun, always festive, and just a mere walk through the woods from our house. It’s so close and casual I could even wear my pajamas if I wanted. (But don’t worry: I won’t.) This has taken some of the pressure off of New Years for us, which is great. Now we just cook a big meal, eat entirely too much, and try to get to his house without tripping over any big tree roots. (It’s happened, believe me.) Still, though, there are resolutions to think about.

I try not to be too ambitious, sticking to things that may be challenging but are definitely do-able. Like one year, I resolved to wear lipstick more often. And I do. Another, I decided to start flossing every day. Done. Last year, I resolved to try and take more time to relax (didn’t happen, too vague I think). So now I’m back to specifics. I think I’m going to resolve to write more neatly, i.e. have better handwriting. (Any students of mine reading this right now are scoffing, remembering my cryptic and often unreadable comments on their papers.) Also, I’d like to make a true effort to clean out more of my closets. And finally—and this is the hard one—I’d like to stop saying, “I feel bad…” because it’s the manifestation of me feeling guilty about entirely too much, or maybe everything. I feel guilty if I don’t recycle, if I don’t let everyone ahead of me in traffic, if I have to say no to someone who wants me to do something. I want to be compassionate and a good person, but this is kind of ridiculous. I think it’s time to just let go that illusion that I can make everyone happy and do everything perfectly, time to stop obsessing. I think this is going to be hard, to be honest. A lot harder than flossing and lipstick. But I’m up for the challenge. We shall see.

I hope you all have a safe and happy new year. This one could be our best yet. Right?

have a good day everyone!