I never make New Year resolutions. I know myself too well. Every morning I make the same resolutions, to eat less, exercise more, be nicer to my family, be nicer to myself, to write a minimum of 500 words, not to moan about whatever minor ache or pain I might have (real or imagined), not to get depressed about things over which I have no control. Every night I realize I have failed, again, to keep any of these resolutions. I occasionally make the 500 word mark - if I include blogs. I'm rarely overnice to my family and y'know they're really rather a nice family - for a group of men that is. I am horrendously hard on myself. I ALWAYS overeat, never exercise enough and am on constant alert for that tiny twinge which will signify that I am about to shuffle off this mortal coil within a time-frame that will not permit me to apologize to everyone for being such a pain in the neck for the last fifty years.
FIFTY! There it is. 50. This year I will hit the half-century and although I finally discovered a few years ago what I wanted to be when I grew up I'm really not that much further along the road to achieving it. In fact, like Robert Frost's traveler, I have reached a fork in the road and know the financial and familial reasons why I should take one path but in my heart, my soul I know I want to take the other.
So what do I do? If I'm serious about writing - and I am - I will of course continue to write, albeit in reduced pockets of time. I think my bouts of depression have eased up since I started writing and I certainly find it the best way I can express myself, letting the poison out so to speak. In ways I think I'm using the financial downturn and reduction in household income as an excuse to go back to my boring office job full-time. For if I have to work full-time I have an excuse for not writing as much and so cannot challenge myself with that horrible self-doubt and procrastination that appears to be my constant companion.
Since my ghost-writing project ended I have found it extraordinarily hard to get back into my own fiction writing. Nothing is ...satisfactory. I don't know that I have anything to offer the grand canon of Irish literature, even in the commercial fiction genre, although I know that it is only the marketing departments in publishing houses and booksellers who insist on 'genres', for most writers a piece of work is either well-written or not. My writing ( on the basis of the comments in the rejection slips to my novel) apparently straddles commercial and literary fiction.
But it is the only way I know how to write. I write the stuff I like to read. Stories, stories about people, about how they feel in certain situations about them getting through each day no matter what, about the high days and holidays, the days of mourning and weeping. About life with a very little 'l'. Like most of our lives. Am I depressing you? Well I am me, so I'm off for a walk in the cold winter's night and maybe I'll come up a solution to my dilemma - although I doubt it because it's like everyone else's dilemma, Life with the big ell.