First thing’s first, my daily sketch:
This was about a 20 minute sketch, done while my soup was simmering on the stove (White bean and kale, if you’re wondering). I was very happy with the proportions, as that tends to be what I struggle with most (I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s much better than my usual attempts, especially given the time frame). Again, I have trouble with matching the values; I don’t go as dark on the dark, and the lights tend to be glaringly so; I attribute that partly to lack of skill, sure, but also I feel like if I had softer, more rounded pencils, I’d be able to do more fluid gradients of shading. As it is, I only have my mechanical pencil, which is generally fine because I usually prefer to ink or paint anyway.
Today was my first day back to reality in two weeks, and I take comfort in the fact that everyone at work seemed as dazed and confused as I was. I barely slept last night, but I was up with my alarm by 5:20, and eased into the day by brewing a cup of coffee, having a shower, writing up some brief morning pages and a to-do list, and listening to a favorite episode of Worst Bestsellers (which, if you like bad books, is highly recommended. The episode I was listening to was their crossover with I Don’t Even Own a Television, another “bad books” podcast which I very much recommend. I also may have a bit of a crush on J.W. Friedman, but that’s neither here nor there). Work itself was productive but overall uneventful (which, rest assured, is a good thing), but I am selfishly glad that tomorrow is Friday already, because the day also felt like it lasted several.
Anyway, I mentioned yesterday that, in addition to my bucket list goals (a living list that grows sporadically), I have some 2020-specific goals that I want to cast out into to ether in the hopes that it will help hold me accountable.
- Consume more media. Which, honestly, probably sounds weird, but. If I want to produce content — poetry, painting, short fiction — I need to be consuming content. That’s reality. I tend to get into ruts of “Comfort listening/watching/reading” things: endlessly watching the same show, or listening to the same album (or, worse, song) over and over, ad infinitum (and nowadays, a lot of that is media is also directed at and intended for five-year-olds). I don’t intend to stop that, per se (that’s also kind of part and parcel of my neurodivergence, I think), but I do want to expand past that. Watch new TV shows, stand-up specials (which used to be one of my favorite things to do), listen to new music and podcasts, read new books and poems. Speaking off…
- Read 50 books in 2020. I used to do that, easy, when I was in college — not so much because I was reading books for school, but more that I was reading books to avoid the books I had to read for school. Also, I had long waits between classes and not exactly a ton of friends (okay, like five, basically). Now, with the ADHD, the kid, a full-time job, and other creative pursuits, I’ve let this slip and I want to rectify that. Today I started Natalie Goldberg’s The Great Spring, mostly because I’d been musing about meta-writing, and I’d loved her Writing Down the Bones when I was younger.
- Buy people more thoughtful presents. I don’t love how commercial the holidays have become, but I do like buying people gifts. I especially love buying themed gifts, or handmade gifts, or just unique gifts in general, but I tend not to do so as often as I’d like because November rolls around and I suddenly feel the time crunch because I know the holidays will be here any minute and I just need to get things done. Throughout the year, I’d like to make it a point to pick things up for people whenever I see something I think they would genuinely love or that would bring them pleasure, instead to making a mad dash to the mall two weeks before the holiday. I also want to buy more secondhand, or from small businesses or independent makers.
- Take more photos of my loved ones. I have approximately five hundred thousand pictures of Bear. I have maybe a dozen of my husband. Fewer of my siblings, and almost none at all of my parents. Even photos of friends haven’t really been a thing for a while now. I try to enjoy things in the moment, and made a conscious effort, years ago, to not go camera-crazy, but now I feel like I have no momentos of so many instances and events in my life, that I really want to strike a healthy balance.
- Do something special for my husband for Valentine’s Day/our anniversary. (I just realized that sounded like I’m conflating those two dates; they are not the same day. Our anniversary is July 17th). My husband always treats me and surprises me in little ways on special occasions, and I don’t feel like I’ve ever really returned to gesture adequately. I’d like to either buy him something special or treat him to a meaningful experience. Since this’ll be our 10th anniversary, it seems like as good of a time as any.
- Return to a regular gym routine/eat more nutritiously. I don’t do diets, especially diets that outright exclude any particular food or food group, but I do think eating reasonable portions, drinking lots of water, regularly exercising, and eating more of the “good” stuff is generally pretty solid life advice, and I should follow it.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
I you have anything specific you want to accomplish in the new year, best of luck to you.