Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, I found myself alone on New Year’s Eve. And while being alone doesn’t bother me – I actually ended a relationship last year because I didn’t get any sort of alone time whatsoever and that drove me to the brink of insanity (and, okay, also because I was in love with somebody else) – I found myself slipping into a wistful sort of despair last night. Fortunately, I had a bottle of
champagne “sparkling wine in the champagne style” to cheer me up! I’m so glad that alcohol is an anti-depressant!
What’s that? I’ve got it backwards? Well, that explains so much…
Nevertheless, the bottle of Domaine Ste. Michelle was mine, all mine. I had an “emergency” frozen pizza in the freezer, because I typically avoid frozen and processed foods. Not just because of the chemicals and preservatives, but also, the taste – the food is usually bland, and I always think, “I could do a better job than that.” That’s the problem with being a decent cook – you have no excuses. There are exceptions, like frozen vegetables and Eggo waffles, but my experience with pizza has never been much to write home about. So I was pleasantly surprised when my Freschetta Naturally Rising Supreme pizza actually tasted good. The crust wasn’t the cardboard I expected, but rather, thick and chewy; the mozzarella tasted fresh and flavorful; and the pepperoni had a smoky bite to it. It was better than some of the take-out joints around town. Yes, Little Caesar, I am talking to you and your ragtag band of “pizza, pizza!” minions. I would definitely buy it again. In fact, let’s make that an Official Resolution: more Freschetta in 2011. Who says resolutions have to be difficult?!
So I had my pizza and fauxpagne (ooh! cool new word!) and I decided to raid my DVD collection and watch movies. I started with Lost In Translation (the Murraython continues), followed by Superbad (because everybody needs a little McLovin) and When Harry Met Sally (the quintessential New Year’s film). The movies were good – all funny and distracting – and yet, still, I found myself wallowing in a rather unbecoming fit of self-pity, and drained the bottle with ninety minutes to spare. Because, while I put on a brave face here and am generally an optimistic person, the truth is that 2010 was a challenging year. Losing my job was just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think I’ve ever had a year filled with so much potential that ended up squandered. As the ball dropped on Times Square in glorious three-hour-tape-delayed fashion and “2011” came ablaze amidst flashing lights, confetti, and a street-filled chorus of Auld Lang Syne, I just sat there, unsure of whether to cheer the passing year and welcome the unbridled virgin potential of a new one, or to mourn another unfulfilled 365 days and look forward not with jubilation but trepidation toward an uncertain future. In the end, I guess, I felt a mix of both. I am the type of person who always welcomes fresh starts and clean slates and believes that things will work out in the long run. Just once, though, I’d like to look back on a year and think, “Wow, that was a good one. I’m sorry to see it pass.” It’s been awhile since that happened.
Enough of the “woe is me” stuff, though. I’m feeling much better this morning. And while I don’t usually make resolutions (frozen pizza notwithstanding), I think I’ve got to this year. I can’t survive on a weekly batch of $15 articles, so I hereby resolve to make a living off my writing in 2011, or die trying (and by that I don’t mean literally, but rather, giving it all I’ve got and if it doesn’t work out succumbing to the steady paycheck of a Corporate America gig, which in many ways is kind of like a slow death anyway). I’m going to shoot for some magazine submissions. Enter a few short story contests with cash prizes. And most importantly of all, I am going to finish querying every last literary agent in the book, in an all-out effort to get my novel published. Sooner, rather than later; I want to have this finished by the end of January. This past week I came tantalizingly close when an agent requested the first two chapters of my manuscript, only the second request I’d gotten all year. I ended up spending ten days carefully rewriting the first chapter to ensure it was as good as it could possibly be, only to end up with the usual “thanks-but-no-thanks-this-project-is-not-right-for-me” form rejection. But that doesn’t matter, because the request reawakened the dream for me, and had me once again tasting the possibilities. One year after completing my novel and I still have dozens of unqueried agents – it’s time to finish my work there. If ever a year came to a close in which I’d become a published author, that would be one I’d look back on in fondness.
So, there we go. A few resolutions, a healthy enough dose of optimism, and a game plan. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Bring it, 2011.