Starting as I Mean to Continue

January 5, 2009 at 4:33 am (Uncategorized)

Here we are – already 2009 is five days old. Happy New Year, one and all, and I hope everyone’s recovering from all the scoffing and quaffing without too many lingering kilos and coughs. My right eye has finally stopped twitching; someone told me a flickering eye was all about the kidneys struggling to stay sound, and it’s true mine have been working overtime since my last post of 2008. Let’s just say I didn’t exactly deprive myself of any Christmas cheer. No, Self-Control and I aren’t even on speaking terms until about this time every year. I let it all hang out between Christmas Eve and, say, January 2, and Self-Control just sits there stewing and sulking in a far, far corner of my mind until I’m good n’ ready to call it back to work. And then it gloats.

Today is the first day I finally feel over my New Year’s Day hangover. It was a scorcher. The kind of hangover that makes me wonder why oh why anyone drinks. Or not just anyone. Me. Why do I do it, when it makes me feel sooo bad? Well, how much time have you got? There are plenty of reasons, but I think you already know most of them, either from your own experience or witnessing someone else’s. But the fact is, I felt so hideous on New Year’s Day that I actually fantasised about never feeling that way again as though it’s a fate that’s beyond me. Imagine, I thought, just imagine never being hungover again. Wow-ee. Wouldn’t that be something? Imagine how much better I’d feel; imagine all the things I could do. Huh. And then, just as easily as I dismiss other fantasies I don’t believe have any place in reality, I let it go. Curious, don’t you think, given how realistic a goal moderate drinking is? And we are going to give it another burl. Oh yes, the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. Ours is to stay under .05 for the first six months of the year; not abstaining entirely, nor imbibing with the best. Just enjoying a civilised drink when the occasion calls for it. Can we do it? Christ knows I’ve tried before, and my track record is littered with so many champagne corks and beer bottles it looks like the clean up following the Melbourne Cup. But it’s also worth trying again. Moderation is one nut I’d really like to crack.

So far, so good. We’ve abstained entirely since New Year’s Eve, but let’s face it: that hasn’t been hard. Just the thought of alcohol for the first three days of 2009 was enough to make me run straight to bed with my book. No, that’s been easy. The test comes not when we don’t drink at all, but when we do. How does one refrain from making impaired decisions once one’s capacity for decision-making is impaired? I guess that’s the challenge; I’m going to try to find out. 

In other news, I spent part of yesterday sifting through various scraps and chapters, notes and beginnings. It’s quite exciting thinking about 2009 in terms of what next, and what to do whilst this current MS is still in contention for one of the Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Awards. For the first time in two years, I can allow myself to wonder which of these other skeletons of text might become something tangible, something I can write with both hands, and watch grow with both eyes. Don’t you love the start of a new year? All those possibilities. And a fresh start at making something of them. It’s a great time of any year.



  1. litlove said,

    Happy New Year! I do like the feel of a fresh start. Reading your post, I got the impression that the festive season almost needs to be about excess, so that you can have the sensation of purity and difference in a new year. Rather in the way that lawless festivals marked the demise of the old king, so that the populace was prepared to accept the rule imposed by the new one. If you want to remove excess booze, you might like to think of what will take its place in the pantheon of delicious transgressions. Then you can be bad and have the lovely sensation of choosing virtue afterward. The very best of luck with all your resolutions, Doctordi and fingers crossed for your MS!

  2. Pete said,

    I like the idea of excess at New Year’s but have become something of a chicken in the past two years. A couple of drinks at home with the missus. Oy vey. Perhaps there’s a middle ground between being a bit of a wuss like me and going fully overboard. As for the story possibilities, they sound excellent. Lots of ideas in pre-production and growing steadily sounds like a perfect start to your year.

  3. doctordi said,

    Now Litlove, I’ve been trying to wean myself off the pantheon of delicious transgressions in recent years… booze is about the last vice standing these days, so don’t go undoing all my good work with all these much more exciting options! We must never speak of this.

    (But I love marking the demise of the old king with a full-scale knees-up – I see ale and pigs on spits!)

    Pete, I am searching for that middle ground, I am. I seem only to lurch from the filth and brilliant chaos of the gutter to the blinding blandness of high ground abstinence… surely someone’s having fun somewhere in the middle??!! And it’s not wussy steering clear of the worst of it – we don’t go out, out, haven’t done in years. Small soirees with friends still get remarkably untidy around here.

    Thanks to both of you for the crossed fingers and toes – and yes, I’m really invigorated by the thought of following a new idea down the garden path. I hope you are both feeling similarly rejuvenated.

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