My Continuing Resolutions for 2011
By Brunonia Barry
I like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. Starting each year with a clean slate and the best intentions seems a perfect plan, but it’s not working for me. Every year I fail earlier and earlier. It’s the same kind of skewed logic that makes me go off my diet for the entire day if I mess up just a little bit. The thought process goes something like this: If I can’t do it perfectly, damn-it, I won’t do it until tomorrow . . . or next year. I'm afraid that, for me, resolutions, like rules, are made to be broken.
So this year, I’ve decided not to do the clean slate thing but to change my ways. I’m taking my cue from our government and adopting the idea of a Continuing Resolution (CR), something you hope to accomplish sometime in the future but don’t want to pin yourself down to an exact date or method of completion. And since I pretty much make the same New Year’s resolutions every year, this seems to be a perfect solution.
Like the good members of Congress (who, just to prove me wrong, actually did get some things done recently), I’m going to feed you the same old resolutions I’ve been trying to pass for years. I have no idea what this is going to cost, but I do know that you can’t have a Continuing Resolution without funding. I’m assuming the Chinese will be happy to lend me the money for any shortfall. Therefore, building on the solid foundation of borrowed money and unfettered compromise, I hereby resolve to work on the following CRs:
- Health Care Reform: My own, not the country’s. By this I mean diet and exercise, the same things I always mean. Rejoining Weight Watchers is a good start. I figure I don’t have to actually go to meetings or follow their diet plan. Paying health club dues (and not going) and buying outfits for the gym (but never even putting them on) are perfectly legitimate expenses.
- Social Security: Making and keeping friends. For a busy author on tour most of the time or holed up in solitary confinement with the muse and still in my pajamas at 2 PM, making sure I have some kind of social life is really important. “If you want to have friends, you have to actually see them once in a while,” or so my best friend recently remarked. So my new CR is to actually show up at that party and then actually talk to people. It could work. I just have to remember to eat a healthy meal before I go and stay away from the dessert table (see CR #1).
- Unemployment Insurance: Write the damned book, for God’s sake. I don’t care how much I might want to be doing something else (See CR #2), I have to stop my newly discovered partying and earn that advance if I want to stay employed.
- Tax Cuts: Find all relevant deductions for writing. Doesn’t everything qualify as research? Aren’t pay-per-view movies deductible for a writer? What about UGG boots? I was thinking about writing in a character who puts on a pair in early December and doesn’t remove them until well into mud season. This could easily be a memoir or some kind of creative nonfiction.
- Don’t Tell, Don't Sue: This CR covers me if I write something based on what my friends and family say to me at one of those parties. Unless you make me sign an NDA, don’t complain if I end up using your words/stories/dialogue in my book. I NEED CONTENT, PEOPLE!
- Global Trade: I will visit all 30 countries that publish my books if for no other reason than to hear them mispronounce the name “Brunonia.”
- Deficit Reduction: I will stay at home in my UGGS watching Pay Per View movies, so that I am forced to either cook or discover some delivery options more creative than pizza.
- Finance Reform: I will start my own hedge fund consisting of a diversified portfolio of holdings including high interest credit cards from all the major banks as well as Nordstrom and J. Jill.
- National Security: When the paperback of The Map of True Places comes out, I will tour the entire U.S. repeatedly, and, since bookstores are disappearing faster than your privacy at a TSA checkpoint, this might take only a few weeks.
- Jobs creation: I’m going to hire as many people as it takes for me to do nothing but write. We’re talking laundry, house cleaning, errands, shoveling snow, walking my dog, etc. (Ignore CR #7). Do you think I can hire someone to exercise for me?
So there you have it, my self-serving and often contradictory Continuing Resolutions list for 2011. I’d love to hear your New Year’s resolutions, continuing or otherwise.
Happy New Year!