Shaved Meats, Piled High: December 2022 edition
(A 2022 highlight)
Goodbye, 2022, Hello, Who Knows?
I'm not a superstitious person, but as the year winds down, I'm definitely having some "evil eye" vibes. A lot went down this year, and things seem good in the moment, but I can't help thinking of my own tweet from Aug. 15: Life comes at you fast, pauses to take a selfie, then switches into reverse and rolls over you again just because it can.
So I don't want to tempt fate. And it appears I'll have my say -- 13,000 words worth -- when an essay I wrote about my travails this year is published next spring or summer. No details yet, but the check's in the mail, so that's always a good sign.
Long-time readers of this newsletter know I'm not big on resolutions, that I've tried to boil my plans for the year down to a single all-purpose word. Last year, I wouldn't even go that far. Here's what I wrote in December 2021: "I'm also not going to make any resolutions for 2022, not even my traditional one-word one. Despite being an atheist, I have finally absorbed the Yiddish adage: Man plans, God laughs. Oh, I have a few goals. Finish novel. Write poems. Keep walking. Keep passing the open windows. Try to make sure every meal includes a vegetable. It would be nice to get to the end of 2022 and find I had done as well by a goal as I did by my decision to average 5 miles a day walking. Nice, but not essential."
So, how did I do? I wrote a few poems, but decided I loved poetry too much to inflict myself on the form. I finished the novel, Prom Mom, which will be published in July 2023. I ate a lot of vegetables, but I also stand by my habit of having the occasional hot pretzel from Royal Farms for breakfast. Continued to walk 5 miles a day, averaging 5.6 for the year. I started a new novel. I wore a lot of pretty outfits. I started going to the movies with a passion and regularity that I have not known since I was a 20-something reporter in Texas.
In February 2001, I went to my first Mardi Gras. I did not know (could not know) what the next 21 years would bring. That Mardi Gras and New Orleans would become central to my life. That I would have a kid in 10 years. That I would see books make the journey from page to screen, with major stars inhabiting the characters I created. What I remember is that I bought a notebook at a no-longer-there store and wrote down what I was going to "give up" for Lent and that was a one-word resolution of a sorts, too: Fear.
Was I successful? In some ways. But it's day-to-day, right? I'm never going to be a naturally brave person. The things that cause me anxiety -- I think people would be surprised. Anyway, forget resolve. What are you prepared to give up in 2023? And what are you prepared to gain?
Among those things I might give up in 2023 include TinyLetter. The site has gotten super wonky -- I can't upload new photos (I have one from that 2001 Mardi Gras that I was keen to share), can no longer do links and can't even reliably italicize. (It worked in some places throughout this newsletter, not others.) Look, I'm low-maintenance, but I have to be able to italicize.
Read/reading: Nora Ephron, Kristin Marguerite Doidge; Magic to Do, Elyse Gardner; From Hollywood With Love (audio), Scott Meslow; Ringmaster, Abraham Riesman. Multiple galleys.
Re-readiing: Heartburn, Nora Ephron (audio); Happy Birthday, Dear Beany, Lenora Mattingly Weber.
Me, me, me: Oh, I can't tell you yet, but something glorious is happening to me in early 2023.