Start As You Mean To Go On

A few years ago I picked up the habit of spending at least part of New Year’s Eve cleaning up my apartment. Despite my questionable housekeeping skills and hoarder’s genes, it was a tradition I could get behind much more eagerly than choking down cabbage and black eyed peas, both of which I really, really hate and neither of which, as far as I could see, ever did a thing for me good luck wise.

Last year, somewhere in the cleaning, the bag of trash I was collecting just…vanished on me. I suspect that either my mother or my aunt, both visiting at the time, were trying to be helpful and tossed it out themselves. It unfortunately had the net effect of me freaking out trying to find the trash (my apartment is decent-sized, but not that big, it couldn’t just walk off or hide anywhere) and spending a lot of the evening kind of grumpy because I had never found it and now I was going into 2015 with a bag of lost garbage, and boy, did I not think that was a good omen.

I did find the garbage the next day (in the kitchen, where it totally WAS NOT the prior day – I think my aunt, tired of my bitching, just half-filled another bag and left it for me to find), finished filling it up, and threw it out myself. I spent the rest of the day writing, hanging out, and cooking, starting as I meant to go on with 2015.

But I am pretty sure the entire trash debacle messed with my mojo, because 2015 had some challenging moments in store for me (starting with my cat dying on Valentine’s day…no, before that, with her being sick and me being sunk in seasonal depression). So I decided this year I was really going to put my back into sending it out properly, and welcoming in 2016 with style.

I spent all day New Year’s Eve clearing out trash, cleaning the litterboxes, sweeping and mopping the bathroom. I threw open the windows for airing, I did dishes, I did laundry – I washed the sheets and remade my bed all fresh. I took out some of the boxes cluttering my living room and packed up a box of clothing for Goodwill. I cleared off the couch, which was a supreme irony since I had said not two weeks before to a coworker, “I don’t really use my couch, it’s for putting stuff on.”

I showered off the cleaning sweat and went to a party, where I drank excellent beverages and ate a ton of really good cheese.

On New Year’s Day, I took the last of the boxes out – I know you shouldn’t clean on New Year’s, but since I am not very good at cleaning the rest of the year, I thought that if I cleaned a little as part of starting as I meant to go on, it might be a good thing for me. Who knows. But I did that, and then I dropped a smelly-good wax cube in the wax melter, made a cup of tea, and sat down on my newly clean couch with the manuscript for Book Two, a stack of washi tape for marking pages, and a pen.

I worked all day, occasionally getting up for fresh tea, food, and stretches. Trilby came and went, sitting anywhere on my lap she could find while I read and edited. Mina wandered through, sometimes sitting down on the floor to watch me from a distance. I worked for hours, scratching out words, scribbling in others. By 8 PM I had finished half of the book and hated it less than I had when I had finished writing it earlier in the week. I could see the bones of something decent in there.

I set it aside for the night and heated myself up some soup, refreshed the smelly-goodness in the wax melter, and sat down on the couch with a heating pad and a cookbook to peruse – the heating pad because I found out that morning that keeping the heater running very low if at all was not only bearable but had resulted in an $88 electric bill for December, and the cookbook because it’s Love Soup by Anna Thomas, which I had wanted for several years and finally picked up while I was ordering everyone’s Christmas presents on Amazon.

It was a good day.

Today I woke up, picked up my work again, and finished my changes. After a nap I sat down at my computer – removed from my bedroom to my dining room/office as part of my 2016 initiative to Get Electronics Out Of The Bedroom (I think this might help promote better resting practices on my part) – and inserted all of the changes into the manuscript, as well as shifting around some chapter breaks and the timing of some events.

And then at 7:30 PM tonight, a little over two hours ago, I hit send on the email that would ship the whole shebang to my editor.

It’s done. I mean, the first part is. Now we have to go through editing rounds and all that for the next few months, but the fact is, I just wrote me a second book. 280 pages or thereabouts right now, and I’d had some concerns about making the word count I had promised, but I did it and then some, in the end. And then I turned it in a little early.

Not a bad way to start the year, I think. I would not be opposed to going on that way, happy and comfortable and doing what I love to do. I didn’t knit on NYD, though, and I should have because I have a lot of projects that could use finishing, but I guess you can’t win everything.

It might be enough to have won myself a few weeks to catch up on television shows. Do you know how hard it has been to stay mostly unspoiled for Jessica Jones? Good Lord.

Myself and the Fuzzy Ladies wish you and your loved ones a spectacular New Year.


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