Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Improper Poll: New Year’s Resolutions!

People keep asking me if I’ve made my list of New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps it‘s a hint, but here‘s the thing. I’ve spent most of my life working on my worst faults. If whatever's left over isn’t fixed by now, it’s not likely to get there in one puny old year.

Besides, if this old dog is going to learn any new tricks, the reward had better be pretty big and juicy.

So I prefer either to think of resolutions for OTHER people…or else pick one easy thing for myself to do. I am happy to report that a few years ago, thanks to help from my daughter, I accomplished my resolution to overcome a Fear of Oatmeal. Want to know the secret? Here it is. First clear your mind of all thoughts relating to snot and boogers and paste and curdled throw-up. All clear, then? All righty! The secret is that you must pretend it’s a seriously undercooked oatmeal cookie.

Hoo boy, that was a lot of work! Frankly, I’m still working on it and have been too pooped to think of a new one till now. But here’s the new one I just thought of. I am going to scale back on my exclamation point use in personal correspondence.

Surprising, right?! I know!

I’m generally okay in public writing, but I am a closet over-exclaimer. And guess what one of my pet peeves is? You got it. I am a hypocritical, closet over-exclaimer. If I were editor of my own emails, they wound be bleed red ink.

Years ago, there was a book series that every high school girl carried. I won’t say the name of the series, but I once tried to read the first book and it was torture. The unnecessary exclamation points alone set my teeth on edge. It read like this:

I went down the stairs! I went into the kitchen! I sat down!

And that was it. Notice I am not exclaiming here, but I want to. Because what any idjut knows is that you just kept waiting for a creature to jump out and eat the narrator or anything at all that warranted those stinkin’ exclamation points, but there was nothing. Why we were supposed to be excited over the walking down the stairs and the sitting is still the biggest mystery of the book to me. I don’t think I ever finished it, either. Eventually all I could do was count those vile exclamation points.

So my fear is that people do that with my personal correspondence. Yet I once knew a woman—another writer and enthusiastic exclaimer—who used to hint that I must be depressed if I wasn’t exclaiming like a school girl. And I guess that’s what it comes down to. Like or not, in real life I have an exclaiming personality.

And after all, isn’t that part of what makes me who I am? Other than the anal retentive need to spell and punctuate text messages correctly? So on second thought, maybe a better resolution would be to ask my writing friends to forgive my over-exclaiming and be done with it.

By the way, happy New Year!!! Do you have a resolution for yourself or others?


  1. I always solve the New Years Resolution conundrum by setting my goals realistically. What this means, for me, is setting goals that I'm going to do anyway - like waking up before noon on workdays.

  2. I am an over-exclaimer, too, Tammy. I'm also a compulsive explainer. If I do something, I have to explain why. "I wrote this poem because..."
    Aarrgghh. I hate it in myself. Why can't I just put the poem on my blog and leave it there, unexplained and also...unillustrated? I have a fear of naked poetry. If it doesn't have a photo, or a piece of free clip-art, it isn't finished, it isn't done.
    I'm not setting myself unrealistic goals. I'm not going to promise myself I'll finish my "An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel" this year. But I think I might tackle the overexclaiming, overexplaining, and compulsive illustrating.
    Thanks for the help. I needed that. Not that I'm compulsive, but in two short evenings of TV, I ate all but one of a tin of Danish Butter Cookies. My husband ate one, but he never got a second.
    I think I might be more addictive than compulsive. LOL

  3. oops, that should have said "not going to promise myself I'll finish my book "An Unfittie's Guide..." etc.
    Not that I need to explain my typos.

  4. I prefer not to call them resolutions. They are more like, uh, you know . . . suggestions. :) I, too, am a chronic user of exclamation points. I do it. I know I do it. I see myself do it. And I. Can't. Stop!!!! There ought to be an Over-Exclaimer's Anonymous Club. Except we aren't so anonymous now as we've both admitted to the habit on the internet. *sigh*

  5. Any resolutions? Hmmm...I wonder.

    I was working on making a list but then...I got bored? I became realistic? I was embarrassed?

    Sometimes resolutions are pointless...They are things that we proclaim and in a day...or a week...or a month or so, we're back to our old habits and have forgotten what we resolved to do.

    I myself don't use exclamation points too much. However, if you talked to my other writing friends, they would hem and haw and whisper... They might say, "There ARE indeed things Sioux needs to work on. She's far from perfect..."

    But exclamation points? For me, they are...well, they're not really worth shouting and exclaiming about, I guess...

  6. My goals are to exercise my muscles more: my physical muscles, my writing muscles, and my spiritual muscles.

    I love oatmeal, but now I'll have to close my eyes when I eat it.


  7. Did you know that there is a support group for people with quakerphobia? They have sessions that begin gradually. First they show you the spoon, then the bowl, and so on...

    I wish I could form a fear of chocolate. That would solve a lot of my problems.

  8. I figure my figure is shot and nothing I do short of liposuction will stop the butt/gut jiggle when I wiggle. My resolution is to tighten my biceps, okay the flab flag below them, and have succeeded by June.

  9. All of that for an exclamation point! Let me just teach everyone hillbilly and you won't have to worry. :)

    Happy New Year and best of luck with whatever you resolve to.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  10. Tammy, a poorly written email, or post, loaded with misspelled words, poor punctuation, and bad grammar really makes my hair hurt and my teeth sensitive! I want so desperately to send it back corrected!! But of course, I would never do that. People already think that I am a smart-ass, and they don't need any more fodder.

  11. Tammy, a poorly written email, or post, loaded with misspelled words, poor punctuation, and bad grammar really makes my hair hurt and my teeth sensitive! I want so desperately to send it back corrected!! But of course, I would never do that. People already think that I am a smart-ass, and they don't need any more fodder.

  12. I resolve to eat oatmeal again, which I used to love, just prior to reading this post! Yes, I am aware that I used an exclamation point.

  13. Yep, I do too much of that exclamation point thing, too, both in emails and on comments. But I figure, oh well!!!!!

    Critter Alley

  14. I have so many goals, it'll take me a year just to list them all!


Any return "messages" are appreciated!