Michaeline: The Fabulous Five Weeks of New Year Plan

a check. Upper banner: May Courage and Good Health and Fortune Favour You. Your Course keep Cleap (clear) Through all the Year. The Consolidated BANK OF SUCCESS Pay to (blank line) the Bearer, Three hundred and sixty-five days of Prosperity, Good Luck and Happiness. L (pound mark?) New Year Greeting. Being the sincere wish of (blank line). Mountains, crest, New Zealand (?) flag bearer woman, native person (Maori?) with a spear and two feathers. Mountains and a road with a small bridge. The border repeats: Good luck, happiness, prosperity.
OK, Capitalism. But from New Zealand! So it’s got to be better for us! Wishing you all a nice draft from the bank of success in the coming year. (Image via Wikimedia)

Look, it’s been a rough 2020 for the world as a whole, and for many of us personally. I’m not here to tell you what you should or should not do. Except for this: you need to make room in your life for things you enjoy. Some of you are probably doing an excellent job of this already, while others may feel guilty about failing yourself on this as well as other things.

Well, first of all, stop feeling guilty about fun. It IS a luxury, no matter what people these days say. If you don’t find room for fun, well, that was life for millions of people all through the ages.

But . . . it is a delicious feeling to have a little fun when you’ve already got a lot going on. There’s no failing this quest – but there is winning this quest.

So, go ahead and read through my advice – and I’m going to tell you, making plans is really, really fun for me! I love giving advice, particularly if I think it’s good advice. But if it’s not for you, no hard feelings. You can comment about what does work for you, or go research a little deeper into methods that look more interesting. But I hope this will work for some of you (and I hope it will work for me, too).

Four kittens marching through the snow on hind legs, with ribbons around their necks, holly in their front paws. Flag by biggest cat reads: Bright and happy thy New Year. Caption is Happy and Free Jolly Cats are we.
May your new year be full of metaphorical jolly cats (and literal ones, if that’s the way you like it). (Image via Toronto Public Library)

The whole Fabulous Five Weeks of New Year Plan hinges on second chances and redemption. Maybe you don’t keep resolutions well for a whole year. This is a shorter-range plan than that. You only have to try for five weeks at a time. Then, the beauty of 2021 is that February 12 is almost

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Michaeline: New Year Visions for 2020

Girl reading a newspaper with glasses sliding down her nose, and a skeptical, intense look on her face

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Twenty twenty. I’m not sure about other countries (I know its different in Japan), but in America, perfect vision is 20/20. There’s also a famous news program of the same name that was a vehicle for the famous interviewer, Barbara Walters. The show used to be about investigative reporting and in-depth features – a role taken over by the new breed of comedian newspeople.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have perfect vision for the year 2020? According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics website, though, only 35 percent of people have 20/20 vision without corrective measures. Figuratively speaking, how many people have metaphorically good vision? I would guess it’s a lot less than 30 percent, especially among writers.

I think we’ll stumble and fall in the dark and in our own ignorance quite a bit in 2020. But I also think we can find things to help us see better – we can light a candle, or find something that sharpens our focus.

And I think having less than perfect vision can help us sharpen our other senses – let us be more in the moment, checking the direction of the wind in our faces, and the smell of the surroundings.

It feels very naïve to be optimistic about 2020, but I can’t help it at New Year’s time. There’s such a fresh slate when the calendar turns. Why is that? It’s not a naturally occurring distinction. It’s completely arbitrary, and decided by us. Some of us will feel the same refreshing feeling of newness on January 25th, or during the moment of the Spring Equinox, or September 18th. Maybe the new year is a set of rose colored glasses that blurs reality – or maybe it’s a good tool to sharpen our vision for the future. I guess we’ll know by the next new year how it all turns out.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a very happy 2020.

Michaeline: Fallow

Sheaves of wheat, covered in snow

“January” by Grant Wood, via Wikimedia Commons

Fallow, fallow, wallow, swallow. Swallows of Capistrano, and soon it’ll be spring again.

LOL, forgive me. I’m a bit out of practice. I haven’t written a darn thing since January 30th. I cooked and cleaned for the New Year, and then I took a break. I slept. Oh, lordy, I slept! I went to bed early, I woke up late, I took naps, and even now, I’m looking at the bed in the corner of my spare bedroom and thinking a power nap might help me write a fabulous post for the new year. I recognize the perfect post is an illusion, and keep writing.

When I’ve been up, I’ve been reading. My goodness, having a pair of reading glasses is making a difference! I read two Wiseman books about the group dynamics of teens – teens are the best drama generators in the world, so I figured it might be a helpful dash of fertilizer to my fallow, fallow brain. My conscious mind isn’t doing much with Queen Bees and Masterminds; I think the best thing to do with pop psychology is to read it, and let the subconscious mind sort it all out, and bring out the useful bits in a story. I’m also reading a lot of Captain Awkward’s advice columns, so when the advice collides with a likely character, I’ll be ready to capture the whole thing down with my pen and paper.

I’m not quite ready to get back to work (see above paragraph about the siren song of the bedsheets). Monday is a public holiday, so I think I’m going to sleep some more, and read some more, and then catch up on my internet obligations. By then, I should be raring to go back to my old story, or maybe a new story, and turn my thoughts into readable words, and be able to share them with others.

I feel very naughty and indulgent, but sometimes, it’s a good idea to spoil yourself. Isn’t it? We’ll see, come Tuesday morning!

In the meantime, I hope 2018 is treating you all well, and bringing you many things to think about and wonder about.

Michaeline: January Potpourri

New Year's post card with David Bowie as a rooster

Wishing you a New Year’s full of creativity and surprise! (Original artwork by Emily Duskova)

First of all, let me wish you a prosperous, productive 2017, full of stories and fun! It’s the year of the Rooster in Japan, and soon enough, we’ll be able to celebrate Chinese New Year on January 28, so if you missed your goals for Occidental New Year, there’s a second chance coming soon! Clean, plan, and get your eggs all in the proper basket, LOL!

Today, I have lots of little things to clean up. How did last week’s puzzle work for you? (Missed it? You can play HERE.) Continue reading