Monday, January 2, 2012

Do the next indicated thing

Because we hear her, or of her, too seldom, Nina Simone sings Leonard Cohen.



It is not easy to identify whether the no-man's land sense that follows the year-end holidays is a place where only I falter, or whether most of us fall into a wandering torpor. Under clear skies with mid-80s temperatures, under the shadow of a passing blimp on its way to the Rose Bowl, today it feels that I'm waiting for the courier to arrive with my assignment. Mine arrives via index card inside a manila envelope. The note says, Do the next indicated thing. I can just hear the subtext: stop tap dancing. Catch any bus that passes.

Yesterday my son found and printed for me the DON'T BREAK THE CHAIN chart from The Writers Store, a simple grid of 365 blocks to be crossed off each day that one has written something. There is room, fortunately, to add 366 for this leap year.

Wanting to keep IT, whatever It is, as simple as possible, I will do all I can not to break the chain. In the meantime, I have a collection of new rubber stamps that needs to be turned into samples. If you see Rubbermoon's posts on Facebook, the two most recent cards as of Monday morning, submitted by Kathy Lewis, are glorious, light-hearted and inspiring.

So, with a blog post and my weekly retail paragraph completed, I can draw my "x" through box number 1 (I got a late start). So far, so good.

14 comments:

susan t. landry said...

finally: New Year's resolutions that make sense.

1. write something every day.
2. listen to Nina, always.

(i discovered her when i was 14 years old; saw her live every chance i could for over 40 years.
i felt like a family member had died when she passed...)

your posts always get to me.

Melissa Green said...

Marylinn, I think the holidays swamp everyone who participates in them. We stagger away from the groaning board, the gifts, the forced cheer-who wouldn't be exhausted and stupefied? I think from Thanksgiving to New Year's is a time so heightened with frantic helium, one can't help but crash after its all over. Your advice is sound, spoken by one coming out of her torpor: do the next indicated thing. And the 365 sounds completely fine and doable. Thanks for Nina. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Thank you. I never saw her live...40 years of performances, what a well of memories to draw upon. Even in the videos with only still photos, she lingers like perfume. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - You are welcome for Nina, thank you for the conversation that reminded me. January is like emerging from a state of suspended animation, having been absent from everyday life and lured off course by treats and distractions. Back to oatmeal and adieu to Trader Joe's dark chocolate-covered cherries. It's for the best. xo

Elisabeth said...

Keep it simple and keep going, one step in front of the other, Marylinn. That's a great philosophy. I only wish I could adopt it too. Happy New Year to you.

grrl + dog said...

phew!
you made it!

So you find it motivating to have the chart to cross off?
I guess the act of marking it would bring a lot of satisfaction..

Erin in Morro Bay said...

Interesting that I've made a decision to write (at least blog) less this year. Being the wacked out organizational nerd that I am, I've always loved the first week of January - new calendars, new notebooks, an excuse to do more de-cluttering... It's akin to that feeling I have at 5:30 am, when the day is so brand new and I'm the only one who has touched it yet.
Erin

Jayne said...

It's a leap year?! Oh, thank you, Marylinn--best news I've heard all year!. (Really, had no idea.) An extra day to do the next indicated thing! ;)

A wandering torpor it was: that first day after the New Year (and, seemingly, all of 2011, at least for me). But I'm thankful to be here in 2012. Somehow, it's the even years that tend to more gentle with me.

Off to take a look at your stamps on Facebook....

Happy, happy New Year, Marylinn. :D

(Thank you for Nina. I love the way she sings Cohen's song.)

Marylinn Kelly said...

Elisabeth - Happy New Year to you as well. Keeping it simple (or more simple, which is good enough sometimes) is not a natural state. I have to practice relentlessly. As I think of many things, if it were easy, everyone would do it. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - Landing on - more or less - both feet in 2012. The chart provides a visual, a good match for me, and...well, it is early days yet but I think it is helpful. It certainly doesn't hurt. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - With the group shows, studio tours and all the projects in which you take part, trimming back on blogging makes sense. And I know you have interest in other writing...dividing ourselves like pies, a bit for this, a bit for that. Though I am challenged to get to those organizational things, I, too, love a fresh notebook, calendar, planner (in the old days) and share your feeling about each new day. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - Aren't Nina and Leonard a swell combination? I have never noticed if any particular year, odd or even, is more kind to me. I do know that the present ones seem to have a much more supportive, loving tone...do you think I may have mellowed? Happy New (even-numbered, leap) Year. xo

Trooper Thorn said...

Now I'm shocked to realize this is a leap-year. The 2010 Winter Olympics have me all screwed up on my quadrennials. Thanks to you I won't look like an idiot on March 1.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Trooper - Glad you stopped by and now have the leap-year info in your bag of tricks. Thank you for commenting.