Thursday, 6 January 2011

Notes on a non-blogging year

As much as a non-blogger I've been this year, I'd be really sad if I didn't at least write a little about what this year has been about for me. I know it hasn't been much about reading. I have hit my lowest reading level since 2007. I have also more than halved my posts compared to last year. At some point I nearly thought I was done with blogging. But to be honest, I miss it.
So as for a first New Year's resolution, I'd like to try to make friends again with regular blogging and stick to my earlier idea of blogging about anything I want to, whenever I feel like (although, obviously, more often than I have done lately).
Aside from neglecting my blog, this has been a very good year for me. I have lost my bookselling job at the end of February, but that has given me the opportunity to figure out what I really want to do with my life and start planning it. I haven't finished planning yet, but I'm working on it, which is good. My idea was to open a cooking business delivering vegetarian lunch boxes to shop and office workers. I'd still love to do it, but in this current Irish climate, I doubt I will be able to get funds. Also, I need people who are willing to be my partners, cause doing it alone is out of the question. But I'll see what the new year brings.
In the meantime, I'm back to the idea of taking my writing seriously. I do mean it this time. I'm very proud of myself for finishing and editing my first novel with Nanowrimo, but I don't want that to be my only finished project. This year I'm going to finish my neverending children story which I started aeons ago. And hopefully I'll get more ideas after that.

Looking back to my 2010 resolutions, I can say that I stuck to the one about creativity. With so much time in my hands, I was free to create lots. And had great fun with it. Knitting, photographing, painting jars and making bookmarks. That's probably what I liked most about this year. That's exactly what I needed, and what I want to keep doing in the new year too.
My digital camera was my favourite buy of the year. I haven't parted with it since. My jar-decorating thing is getting better and better. And the knitting thing has produced some much appreciated Christmas presents. I'm gonna have to learn how to knit socks next. It'd be amazing.
Also a jumper would be nice...

The other resolution from last year was to reread more. That, I must say, wasn't followed through. I only reread one Harry Potter book, and I have listened to Neil Gaiman reading The Graveyard book, while knitting. It was such a treat. I wish he had read more of his books, so I could enjoy his voice again and again.
As for the new books read, they weren't many, but there were some great ones.
My favourite in no particular order have been:
The Deportees by Roddy Doyle - a very entertaining collection of short stories about being an immigrant in Ireland.
Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan - an engrossing story with a fairy tale touch to it.
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale - the blogging hype on this one wasn't without reason. Such a good book.
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness - a wonderful ending to an epic story. I still sometimes think of Todd and Viola and miss them.
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown - a lesbian coming of age story. I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I did. So ahead of its time. I will never forget the main character.
Blankets by Craig Thompson - It's unbelievable how the art and the narrative mix so perfectly well in this memoir. Mesmerising.
Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce - I really wish I wrote a proper review for this one. I had so much to say about it, but now I can only say it was adorable, and funny, and clever, and you should read it.

I have to admit I haven't read much not just because I was busy being all artistic and stuff. I've also spent an insane amount of time online. Specifically on that evil invention design to suck you in and never let go until it's too late to do anything else, aka Tumblr. I could say that it helps my mind find inspiration, but what really it's pure procrastination.
So another New Year Resolution is to be strong and Spend. Less. Time. On. The. Internet.


Another way I have used my time was watching the It Crowd obsessively since this summer, and having a massive crush on Katherine Parkinson.
If you have never watched the It Crowd, I sort of envy you, because you can still experience its awesomeness for the first time. But don't leave it too late, cause it's worth it.

And now I'm going to wrap it up by sharing with you some of favourite songs of this year,meaning songs I have discovered this year, not necessarily *released* this year.

Cathy Davey. She has released a great new album this year called the Nameless, but I have discovered her previous album, Tales of Silversleeve, and fell in love with it. I like all the songs in the album so it's hard to choose, but anyway, I have to. (Oh by the way, if you know of a better way to upload music on blogger, please let me know, I'd love to use one of those streaming devices, I just don't how to).

and "Mr. Kill"

The Concretes "Kids"
I've listened to this band a lot this year. They are a bit similar to Camera Obscura, so I had to love them. This song in particular is the one that made me listen to them more.
I love this line: Music could really knock you over back then, so we would lie on the floor just to be safe.

Of course I'm gonna have to repeat myself, because this is a year's summary and I've posted this video already. This song is part of this year's soundtrack so it has to feature:
Slow Club - "When I go"

In my opinion, the coolest, most faboulous Irish singer around at the moment. I can't wait to see her live in February
Imelda May - "Mayhem"

Marina and the Diamonds - "Seventeen"
Why the hell wasn't this on the album??

Amiina - "What are we waiting for?"
The discovery of this band was such a gift. Their music makes me enter a state of incredible relax and well being. I love them so much I bought the full album.

This band's only a recent discovery, but I like them very very much
Allo Dalin' - Kiss your lips

OK, I better stop here. I realise I could go on and on about all the songs and bands I've discovered, so maybe I'll leave it to future posts.
Hope everyone's year has been a satisfying one, or at least one to remember for a few good things. I also wish everyone's new year to be full of new exciting discoveries, love, art, moving reads, tasty food, fun parties, and good company.
Talk soon,
Val :)


Em said...

Happy new year to you!

When I read your post, I thought a big "yes" to Cathy Davey. I discovered her two years ago and went to see her in a pub next to where I live. Then I went to play "Harmony" and realised it was recorded in my local, although I wasn't at that gig. How weird?
It was the best venue, really small and intimate. Unfortunately, it closed a week ago :(

Anyhow, good luck with your projects!

Chris said...

Allo Darlin' is amazing, aren't they?? Ana introduced me to them and I'm totally hooked! And yes...tumblr can be a total time suck, but I love it :p Sounds like 2010 turned out not to be so bad for you :) Hope 2011 brings you everything you could hope for Val!!

John Delap said...

Amiina = total relaxation :-)

Trish said...

I for one (and probably many) would love to see more of you. ;). But sometimes it's nice when life gets in the way. Sounds like you've had a great year despite reading less (I only read 23 books!). I'd love to see pics of your creative projects!

valentina said...

Em, that's mad! You were so lucky to be able to see her in such an intimate venue!

Chris, thank you :) Yes, it was Ana was well for me, and then hypemachine helped in discovering new songs. I like almost all of them, I should probably buy the album.Another resolution this year is to buy all the albums of the band I love and listen to the most.

John, yes, that's the word I was looking for ;)

Trish, aw thanks! I really did have a great year. But I do want to read and blog more, I miss it too much.
And if I do create more I will definitely share.

mariel said...

Here's hoping for a fabulous 2011 for you Valentina! I hope the writing and crafts are successful and you figure out what you want to do next.

We seem to have pretty similar taste in music, so I'm going to look up all those groups! And I'm seeing Imelda May in Feb too! ;)

Darla D said...

I'm glad you're going to keep up the blogging! I'd miss you if you stopped. Sorry about the book store job - I lost mine years ago when the whole chain went under, and it was sad because I loved it. Plus I needed the money! But it was how I found my first library job, so that was good. Keep us posted with all of your various projects!