where I’m at – because I haven’t been here

Happy New Year. Yeah, I know, it’s closer to February than it is to the new year swing over, but the break was intentional. Sort of. After the year of daily posting “rules,” which I didn’t stay true to in the end, I did what I have done upon being released from “rules” in the past –I revelled in the no more rules. The photo-a-day project was a good thing; don’t go thinking I’m regretting it. The exercise made me keep my eyes open, and I documented a year, and even if I didn’t manage the one-a-day in the end, I took lots and lots of photographs, a few of them decent. I’m just a natural rebeller against rules so I'd say I did pretty good. (Even better if I got the rest of December's photos back-posted!) Anyway, now that I’ve got those things expelled from my system I’m back. Here’s where I’m at.

Not Resolving
At the beginning of the year, everyone is thinking about fresh starts and resolutions. As a big fan of fresh starts, it is the same for me too. If I were to state some resolutions, which I’m not going to do because I didn’t make any, but if I did, they would revolve around writing and creativity and personal authenticity and cooking and getting more sleep. And revitalizing this blog.

Over the extended bloggerly break I’ve been working out ideas about where I’d like to go with this space now that the photograph project is over. I still don’t have that clearly defined in my mind, but I do know that my intent is to put the focus back on finding inspiration and making pictures with words. What those pictures will look like, I have no idea; I’m just soldiering on.

Finding Inspiration
I really loved writing people watching stories, but just I don’t have as many these days because I’m not trapped in subway cars with them for two hours or more a day any more. And this makes me very happy. I’ve always enjoyed the people-watching aspect of public transit, but doing it every day for several years took a piece out of me. For all the wonderful things a big city is, it is also filled with millions of people who aren’t looking beyond the ends of their noses in getting about their days and to an over-sensitive sod like me, the daily sea of rudeness was demoralizing. So I’m refocusing on the process of finding and developing inspiration in other ways, and my lovely, solitary walks to and from the office each day are the perfect times to meditate on that. That and, er, perhaps, some loving kindness toward the city full of rude people I’m still so quick to judge.

Picture Making
I will continue to use photos to enhance my blog space, but now I’m thinking about playing with photos creatively, and finally learning how to use my PhotoShop software to its full extent, and connecting them to the things I write.  I’ve got a brand new phone and now a number of new camera apps to try too.

Obsessing
It’s January, my annual nesting period; and I’m obsessed with food. Every day I’m searching for new recipes, looking at my cookbooks and food blogs and the good thing is that I’ve tried, with success, a number of new favourites to put on the table. This past weekend’s kitchen adventures included tomato-onion-red pepper frittata (eaten over two breakfasts), chicken enchilada soup, vegetable barley soup, crispy quinoa bake, balsamic roasted carrots, roasted tomatoes with parmesan and Ceri’s broccoli salad. I didn’t have homemade lunches a number of times in recent weeks and the thought of the restaurant/takeout options near work, though abundant in choice, grew increasingly unfavourable. I thought of taking up a challenge, say, to try a new recipe every week, but there’re those rules again.

image from flic.kr

Family Zen
My little family and I are in a really good place together.  Ceri and I have moved ourselves into a comfortable, though never fixed routine. We continue our quest to find something to do every weekend, and times at home are happy and relaxed and thank goodness he is amenable to one of the only channels I’m keen to watch on TV these days, Turner Classic Movies (through which I obsessively shut out the world time-travelled over my relatively quiet holidays). Both my girls have new homes and happy work and social lives filled with good people. We all meet every Friday night after work at our favourite local for “beer o’clock” and dinner where we decompress from the work week and catch up and laugh a lot. I’m so lucky.

Promoting Stories
I’ve started a new semester in my online creative non-fiction class and through it I continue to meet some really great people who seek to do what you and I do – tell our stories. Each new learner that comes to a class inspires me in one way or another; I learn so much from them. In return, I try my best to inspire them to tell their stories.

It’s January. My world is small. A good small – a beautiful thing.

Where are you at?

8 Comments

  1. Reply
    Jerry January 21, 2013

    You have discovered the perfect plan for rolling through the year. Rolling? I think of the snowball as it rolls getting larger and more impressive as it travels. That may be you.

  2. Reply
    Jennifer January 22, 2013

    Hi Jerry it’s nice to see you. Don’t know about the “more impressive” but the snowball rolling and getting larger is a great metaphor! Cheers!

  3. Reply
    Sheryl Robinson January 23, 2013

    I am near the end of a divorce journey that started 24 years ago, a few months after I got married when I seriously said to myself, “I think I made a mistake.” I have two great men-children (17 and 16) who I hope in the future to spend Friday nights with like you do with Carly and Kelsey 🙂 I am looking around getting rid of “stuff” that does nothing to enhance or simplify my life. I’m thoroughly enjoying a relationship that began a year ago. I’m prioritizing the important stuff and getting better at letting go of the rest 🙂 I’m admiring my friend Jen, once again, for all her inspiration, wisdom, and fun spirit! hug!

  4. Reply
    Jennifer January 23, 2013

    Love you so much pal. It makes my heart happy to know you’re in a great place in life. I would love it if you would write a guest post sometime, after I get this thing rolling again!

  5. Reply
    Denise January 25, 2013

    Hi Jennifer,
    I enjoyed your thoughtful post. I haven’t articulated my own directions so well, but I did a bit of looking back at where I’ve been–starting with your non-fiction course. It gave me the skills and confidence to write and submit that first creative non-fiction article. Last month, I counted the articles I’ve had published, and they add up to over 50, in a dozen publications. (I also own or have contributed to several blogs, using skills learned in your classes, of course. I remember when you asked us if we ever thought we’d write a blog!)
    In other words, I continue to be inspired by what you shared through your very supportive teaching and mentoring. I can’t thank you enough! I hope you keep inspiring, and be inspired by, others.

  6. Reply
    Jennifer January 25, 2013

    Denise, it’s great to hear from you, and thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your kind words. I couldn’t me more thrilled to hear about your success in getting articles out there! I remember your work in the class, and this comes as no surprise to me. Congratulations. I’m definitely going to add your blog to my feed reader and my blogroll!

  7. Reply
    Carol February 14, 2013

    I am so with you on the whole…urgh needed a break after a year of constant posting!! I had started to find posting a bit of a chore so needed to be away from the blog for a while to learn to love it again! I actually wrote a very similar post to this yesterday…about now quite knowing what the ‘What next?’ was going to be but that that was ok…I’d kinda figure it out as I go!
    But thank you…if it had not been for you then I wouldn’t have taken up the drawing a day challenge and I wouldn’t be in the position I am now…starting my new shop and attempting to make a living from my art! You really inspired me and I can’t thank you enough!
    C x

  8. Reply
    Frases cortas de amor February 22, 2013

    I also understand the need … I have been so identified …. Jennifer greetings!

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