I teach reading and writing to kids from elementary to high school. I mark a lot of written work, but this week, something in my stack of sentences, book reports, and essays surprised me. A young girl wrote a bundle of reports of her “A+ Days”. Like diary entries, she wrote about all the good things that happened in a day, each short page ending with the sentence “That was my A+ Day”. I instantly charmed, and I knew I had found the topic for this week’s zine. Here is a week of A+ Days, happymaking paragraphs pulled from my daily writing practice. I spend a lot of time complaining because this writing is just for me. But sometimes, good things shine through, and I want to remember them.
November 22, 2015 Would be nice to go out hiking again, but I haven’t been brave enough to face the cold. Gotta get back to it. Though I am happy with my kilometres for this month. Would be nice to get to 100, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. I haven’t looked recently at what I need to make the 1000 for the year. Good incentive to do this zine early, then go for a walk. Even just down the hill and along the beach. 816km for the year so far. I might not be able to make 1000 before the end of December. That would mean 180 in the last month and a bit. I could get very close, but I don’t think I can do that. But at least I know I can do that next year. Now I know what I can do in a year. Or, now I will know what I can do in a year.
November 23, 2015 I’ve pretty much decided not to write fiction next year. I’m going to declare it a fallow year. Take the whole year off–like One Direction–just figure out what else I want to write. There is so much, and also, inspired by rereading the Natalie Goldberg books, I really feel like non-fiction writing is so much more my medium. I feel like that’s the natural form that my writing takes, and that when I try to write stories, I try too hard. Not that things worth it shouldn’t be hard, but do they have to be this hard? I haven’t even started on finishing November’s story. I’m pushing the publishing date into December, and I don’t feel bad about that at all because it’ll only be the 2nd.
November 24, 2015 My brothers and I are all in our 30s now. That’s crazymaking. I suppose the number doesn’t matter so much anymore. It really doesn’t. If the last ten years has taught me anything, it’s that. You can do whatever you want at whatever time you want, and there are no rules to tell you that you’re wrong.
Year long projects are great because it’s a challenge, it’s long enough to figure out if you like something, and it’s possible. That’s the important one. Something you know you can do and do throughout the whole year. So, a daily thing isn’t a great idea. It’s better to do something with flexibility. That’s why I chose a zine a week. It’s not crazy (though it’s a little bit crazy). But here I am, more than a year through, and I haven’t missed a week yet. I’ve done it every Sunday (since I picked Sunday). Yay.
November 25, 2015 It’s not even noon, and I’ve washed my face, made tea and eaten breakfast, finished my book cover and posted an excerpt. I just want to stay in bed this morning. It’s so damn cold. I really want to read through these Miss Fisher books before the end of the year, and I think that’s possible. I finish one about every three days. I’m nearly halfway through the latest. And there aren’t many left now. Six including the one I’m reading. So I could do it. Trying to decide if I can afford to go hiking this weekend. I would really love to. I’ve missed it so much. Stanley Park or Fort Langley. Leaning towards Langley because I’m thinking that Stanley Park is going to be windy.
Here’s a list of things I’m doing right now: working, writing 750 words every day, making a zine a week, reading all the Miss Fisher books, making a book a month, trying to be a better friend, working towards treatment for depression and anxiety, thinking about writing four books next year.
November 26, 2015 I literally can’t seem to put this book down. I’ll probably finish it tonight. I recognize that part of that compulsion is me avoiding writing this story that I need to finish and publish next Wednesday. Like, if I could just finish this story, I would be that much closer to being finished with the year, and with fiction for a while. The December story is done, but for some editing. I’m not going to change anything big. I’m just going to publish it. The closer I get to being done with fiction, the happier I get, and I’m realizing now that means I made the right decision. You know those moments, when you know the right decision to make, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it.
You find yourself fantasizing about having made the decision. You start thinking about your life after you’ve made the decision. That’s where I am right now with this book. It’s why I’m having such a hard time writing it. I just want to be done with it. I’m living the writing equivalent of senior year right now. I’m done, I’m checked out, I’m already graduated and sleeping until noon. Literally, actually, today. I fell back to sleep and didn’t wake up until after noon.
November 27, 2015 I had a can of chickpeas, and I made a curry earlier this week, and I saved the liquid for something I wasn’t sure I would make. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, only that I was going to do something. Last night, in a fit of insomnia, I figured it out: try out the Yorkshire pudding theory. So I put a bread loaf pan in the oven at 425, with two tablespoons of oil, just enough to cover the bottom. Then I beat the liquid in the stand mixer, just a moment or two until it was frothy. I added milk and 00 flour. I figured the white would be better than the whole wheat. A pinch of salt, too.
I had to wait for the oil to heat up, so I just let the batter stand for a couple of minutes after the first mix. Then, when I was ready, I cranked it up high to get it bubbly, then straight into the oil. It’s still in the oven now, not quite golden brown. I’m not sure how much height I’m going to get out of it, but it’s worth a few tries. Also, it’s still going to taste amazing with jam and honey on top. I can’t wait to try it with some fake sausages.
I just went and looked, through the window of course, and it does look like it’s getting a bit of height. Also, it’s 450 the oven is set at. That might be something to adjust as well. Higher or lower? I’m starting to hear the oil bubble, but I’m not sure if that just started happening or if I can hear it now because the kettle isn’t heating up. That kettle is so damn loud. There’s an argument for electric if I ever heard one.
November 28, 2015 Starting this day off right by getting up and out of bed at 9, taking my pills, then brushing my teeth. Yes, I’m back in bed, but I have breakfast, and I’m writing. It’s just warmer in here. It’s nice because my bedroom is small, so I can fill it with heat, and it’s like a little cave. So warm. So nice. First thing, I think, I’m going to do the zine. I know exactly what I want to do, and an accomplishment at the beginning of the day would be a great motivator for the rest. I’m going to make my zine and get it ready to post tomorrow. I’m going to write a bunch of words for my book. I don’t have to write them all. But I have to write at least two thousand today. That puts me in a good place to get this thing done by Tuesday. But this is a good start.
These were my A+ Days.