5. Write morning pages. Every day would be a stretch. Twice a week would be good. Julia Cameron, author of the extremely influential The Artist’s Way, explains:
4. Revise 2 manuscripts. This requires the strength of 500 resolutions. Revising these projects is going to be like climbing up Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro. Taking a swim in the English Channel. Orbiting the Earth. Inhabiting Neptune.
3. Don’t give up on Crossfit. Or pull ups. Or wall balls. Or burpees. Or pull ups. This video will encourage anyone making any kind of resolution, or even thinking about making a resolution, crossfit or otherwise, to try and keep it.
2. Write this blog. It comes and it goes. I’d like to keep it coming.
1. Improve my chi. Although it is rumored that my wonderful husband steals my chi, I don’t think we can ever have enough goodwill, karma, and life energy to share with others. So once again I will work on being a better person.
(Maybe I’ll buy great smelling tight leather pants, too)
I could have listed my top 50 favorites, but I managed to narrow it down to 5. Happy Holidays!
5. Silent Night by Lady Antebellum. Old song. New twist.
4. The Roches sing We Three Kings. They give this worn out carol some atmosphere.
3. Love Came Down at Christmas. This version is much different than Shawn Colvin’s, which is what I sing along to in the car, but the City of London Sinfonia’s version is quite beautiful. Side note: the lyrics come from a Christmas poem by English poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) who was opposed to cruelty to animals, slavery, and underage prostitution. She also wrote the lyrics to another carol, In the Bleak Midwinter.
2. Straight No Chaser – 12 Days of Christmas. Acapella + homage to 80’s Toto’s Africa + sense of humor = my devotion.
1. The Osmond’s Christmas Medley. We sang this relentlessly when I was in high school show choir and I still sing it today, although it doesn’t quite sound the same as a solo.
Continuing to share my story of teaching English in Slovakia when I was twenty-one, which inspired my latest book, Traffik, what follows is another excerpt from a letter I wrote to my parents at the very beginning of my trip.
After flying to Vienna and staying the night in a hotel, struggling with jet lag and homesickness, I returned to the airport the following day to meet with the other Americans who would be teaching in Slovakia. At the end of the one-week orientation, we went on an outing to the Czech Republic where we toured a castle, a palace, a church and its catacombs, and finally a wine cellar…
“The wine cellar wasn’t as romantic as it sounds. It looked more like a community center with a beer hall inside. But we ate a good dinner and tasted four wines each. We sat at long wooden tables on one end of the room, and then there was a dance floor, with a stage for a band, and then more tables on the other side where the locals sat. At one point, the locals, who were mostly older, started singing sad but pleasant folk songs. After dinner, a band showed up and started to play! Everyone danced – young and old – to both techno music and to waltzes and polkas. A lot of people in our group danced. Although our polkas weren’t as good as theirs, we might have made up for it in effort. Nothing is more rambunctious than an upbeat polka.”
In his book, Travels with Herodotus, Ryszard Kapuscinski wrote about the first time he left Poland in 1958 (3 years after Stalin’s death) for his first journalistic assignment abroad:
“We flew in darkness; even inside the cabin the lights were barely shining. Suddenly, the tension which afflicts all parts of the plane when the engines are at full throttle started to lessen, the sound of the engines grew quieter and less urgent – we were approaching the end of our journey. Mario grabbed me by the arm and pointed out the window: “Look!”
I was dumbstruck.
Below me, the entire length and breadth of the blackness through which we were flying was now filled with light. It was an intense light, blinding, quivering, flickering. One had the impression of a liquid substance, like molten lava, glimmering down below, with a sparkling surface that pulsated with brightness, rising and falling, expanding and contracting. The entire luminous apparition was something alive, full of movement, vibration, energy.
It was the first time in my life I was seeing an illuminated city.”