New Years Resolutions

One Year Later: The Post-Cancer Recap

Last week was the one year anniversary of when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. What a year! I never expected so many of the things that happened this year:
  • Getting cancer in my 30s.
  • Going through chemo, which sucked but also had the wonderful side effect of bringing out the best in my husband and friends.
  • Deciding to stop waiting for my agent to hear from publishers and instead form my own imprint and publish my first book myself.
  • The support of so many people regarding my controversial decision.
  • Feeling healthier than I ever have in my life. 
  • Eating a diet that's pretty close to vegan. This is after previously being someone who prided myself on my ability to try any food, anywhere. I never expected it, but food tastes more amazing than ever.
  • Finding myself completely comfortable with hospitals and needles. 
  • Having short hair—and thinking that it doesn't actually look so bad!
Regarding that last point, after the first inch grew back thin and straight, my hair is now growing back as fierce and curly as ever. In the picture above, you can see my short cut is starting to curl at the edges. That picture was taken a little over a week ago, and it's already visibly longer. I'm stealing an idea from a friend and am going to take a photo of myself each week as my hair grows out, so I can decide what length I like best. As long as I don't look too ridiculous—and those curls will start to look silly—I'll share the photos here. Okay, okay, I'll post photos here regardless. But I don't promise that I won't sometimes be wearing a cute hat.

And how did I fare with my New Year's Resolutions that I came up with right as I finished up chemo and began radiation? I stuck to the important ones (my first mystery novel is coming out at the end of August, I'm working on other fun writing projects, and I'm cooking delicious healthy food) but I failed in a few ways that surprised me:

It's true. Hell has frozen over. And look outside your window; you'll see some pigs flying. Yup, I'm now on Facebook. With my first book coming out in less than two months, I set up an author page (not a personal one). I haven't yet decided what I think of it, but I'm around, so you can find me there.

I wanted to practice my French, but I haven't spoken a word of French since 2012 began. Okay, maybe three words. Or thirty. But I didn't start a new French language course. It turns out it's so much work to be one's own publisher. (More on that next week.) Getting my book ready for publication didn't leave me with much free time. I also didn't keep a sketchbook, or keep up with this blog as much as I would have liked. I did keep a notebook of notes, and I see I've got lots to blog about, so that's one thing that'll be easy to do more of. But French? I apologize in advance to the French, whose language I will slaughter when I visit France this fall after my last cancer treatments are complete.

This year has taught me that it's true you can never know what will happen in your life—but you can be prepared. Having wonderful people in my life got me through this year, and I know now that I can get through anything.


12 Resolutions for 2012

Last week I wrote about 11 lessons from 2011, so now it's time for 12 resolutions for 2012.

Actually, there's really just one big resolution I have for 2012, but it can be broken down into 12 smaller pieces. Last year wasn't such a fun year. This year, I resolve to have fun. 

1. Make sure writing stays fun. As I move from writing mode to publishing mode, I can see how easy it would be to get caught up in the stress of relentless promotion. But you know what? I'm not going to do it. Yes, I'm going to put in a bit of time researching book review venues and I'll tell people about my books. But when I come across something that sounds more stressful than fun, I'm not going to do it. If that means I sell fewer books, so be it. That's not what I want my life to be about.

2. Be a tourist in my own town. I can't travel as much as I want to this year, but I can have fun exploring locally. I'm going to take advantage of all of the things around me in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anyone up for a trip to the Asian Art Museum's current maharaja exhibit?   

3. Cook delicious healthy food. I'm on a health food kick to make sure my cancer doesn't return. There's no reason food can't be healthy and delicious. It's no fun to eat bland food, so I'm going to figure out all the delicious recipes that are also good for me. I've already discovered that kale and avocado salad is heavenly. I'm serious!

4. In August, I'll publish my first mystery novel, Artifact. The launch date coincides with when I'll be finished with my main cancer treatments. It's been a long journey getting here, so I'm really excited. Artifact is the first in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series. Here's a short teaser: When historian Jaya Jones receives a mysterious Indian artifact sent by a dead man, she discovers the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. More details about the book can be found here.

5. Finish editing the second book in the series. I made myself cry when I wrote one of the scenes in this book. That had never happened to me before with something I'd written, so I can't wait until I have time to finish editing this book.

6. Parle Français. After stalling out at intermediate French, I'm going to try out Rosetta Stone's higher level courses. When I'm in France, people usually switch to English as soon as they hear me speak, because my French is so bad. The next time I make it back there, it would be great fun to be able to converse with people in French. Wish me luck!

7. Send more physical letters. The post office is dying, I know. But we're all dying, so why not go out with a bang? Until mail dies, I'm going to send more fun letters, like the mail from a Mail Art workshop at the San Francisco Center for the Book (at right). 

8. Keep Twitter fun. There's one school of thought that says it's good etiquette to follow everyone who follows you, and there are even apps to help you un-follow everyone who hasn't followed you back. That doesn't make sense to me. I follow Neil Gaiman. He's never going to follow me back, but who cares? I really enjoy his tweets, so why would I want to lose that? When I only have a few minutes, I check out my list of friends and chat for a minute. If I have longer, I check out the rest of the people I'm following and do some tweeting and re-tweeting. But I'm never going to want to spend enough time on Twitter to follow the thousands of people I see some people following. I'd only be faking it to gain more followers in return, which isn't right for me. I do follow new people, but not as an automatic reflex. Everyone can use Twitter in the way that feels right to them, and keeping interactions with people fun rather than strategic is what's right for me.

9. No Facebook. I'm still not going to join Facebook. I get that it could be a venue for exposure, since I have a book coming out. But it has never seemed fun to me. I haven't given in to peer pressure thus far, and this isn't the year to do so.

10. Keep a sketchbook. I keep various notebooks, but always mean to keep a more general notebook/sketchbook. It's funny, but I think that of all big resolutions I've got here, this will be the hardest one to see through.

11. Wear high heels more often. I stole this fun resolution from Nicole Peeler. I don't mean uncomfortable heels. I mean heels like my rubber-soled Fluevogs (at right) that are both cute and comfy. I'm six feet tall in heels, which I gotta say is a lot of fun.

12. Write more blog post lists! I have fun structuring things into lists. It's a form that works well for me. So stay tuned for a year of some lists.