In January, I was full of plans and goals. I designed a new class on Latin American Literature, made specific writing goals, and set about doing a massive book purge. I was unhappy with the amount of screen time I used, and thought about ways to reduce it, while also reflecting on the progress (writing more poems, decluttering, seeing friends) I had made in some goals, while neglecting others (exercise and cleaning the basement continue to be issues!).
February rolled in and was a big month for us, full of new adventures. We decided our girls would be in a new school the next year, and started thinking about what that might mean for all of us. I tried some new teaching tricks, like asking my students to write about their values, and remembered why I love Catcher in the Rye so much. After a fantastic anniversary trip, we were grounded quickly by family responsibilities and health issues. I read a few great books, realized I had written 500 posts, and had a few poems published.
March came in like neither a lion or a lamb, but something much more magical, as our senior class turned the school into Hogwarts for the day. I tried out some readings and activities about The Hunger Games with my students, and thought about how best to evaluate my teaching and use music when I teach literature. I got a little obsessed with Pinterest, thought some more about change and skinned knees, and read another great book, about blood, bones and butter.
April was another jam-packed month for us. We took an all-girls road trip to Hilton Head for spring break, and I baked a cake and thought about appreciation and public schools. I did some emotional eating, had a terrible Monday morning, and thought about poetry as a kind of journaling. I celebrated National Poetry Month once again, write a lot of drafts of poems, and revised my approach to Poetry March Madness. I read a brutally beautiful memoir, was somewhat disappointed by an old favorite, and finally got to explore Pottermore.
May was a milestone month for us. I realized my fantastic ten-year-old girls would be the Class of 2020, which made me feel a little on the elderly side as I celebrated my first decade of mothering. As my school year was winding down, I got a wonderful reminder from my students about the joy of teaching. June saw our little Lucy take the stage in her first big recital, and I tackled a project I’d been thinking about for months and made a High Fidelity playlist. My girls and I got obsessed with tabletop board and card games and picked up a few new favorites, Sleeping Queens and Dweebies. I read some really good books and realized how fast the summer was slipping away.
July was a very light blogging month for me; apparently, all I did was my traditional summer cleaning and go see the Katy Perry movie. August was also light, as I spent a lot of time in Westeros and made some pretty intense back-to-school to-do lists. No birthday post from me for the first time in years. It’s clear to me now, looking back, that my energy levels had dropped significantly, and that I was not feeling completely like myself.
In September, I tried to reinvigorate myself by tackling my first MOOC, an amazing online course in modern poetry, got to read some wonderful poetry and write my first essay as a student in a long time. As much as I enjoyed it, I knew I wasn’t feeling right, and finally got some answers about my mind and body health. I ended the month hoping to feel better soon, and spending some time thinking about grading jail.
October saw me somewhat on the upswing, trying to get back in touch with myself as I thought about what counts as cooking, tried to get back in touch with a gratitude mindset, and made a playlist of songs with biblical allusions. Although I felt a little swamped by ModPo, I plunged forward and even submitted some found poems to a new market for me.
The upswing didn’t last long, and I got bogged down, both by an increasingly hectic school year, but also a general fogginess and murkiness in my own head. I only wrote one post in November, about some different bits and pieces that were holding my interest, and one post in December, trying to take the first step back towards blogging and a deeper personal revival.
Watching my blogging dwindle over the course of the year helped me really see when I started to feel shaky, but it also really helped me once again see how important blogging is in my life. I lost my gratitude habit this year, but I also lost touch with a method of self-reflection and creativity that has meant so much to me over the past five years. As I think about the upcoming year, the resolution that seems most vitally important to me is to recommit myself to this space, to this pursuit, and to revitalizing myself as well.