I do make New year’s resolutions. Last year I vowed to travel to Europe and move to Melbourne. Although these things were planned in November and December, I resolved to follow them through, and I did. The year before I resolved to write more, and 2007 was when I wrote Smoke & Dancing. It can be a good time to set something in stone.

My resolution for 2009 is to attend as many writers’ festivals as possible. The most I’ve attended in a year would be three or four, so more than that would be great. I love to hear writers speak about their work, be introduced to different works and ideas, and meet interesting people. It slots in with different parts of my work and career also. With Bookseller+Publisher, I can report on literary festivals and events of interest to the book industry. Here on LM I can report in depth on my experiences; and as a writer in general I can be inspired by, and learn from people I admire.

Are you making one this year? I hope it’s to read more!

And of course, the cusp of a new year makes you think about the last one. 2008 has been an unbelievable year for me. Travel, a new city, new job, Crikey picking up LM, lots of publications, making a bunch of great like-minded friends in Melbourne, finishing Uni (with first-class Honours), and reading a crapload of books. Of course it hasn’t been all shiny, but it has been one of the best years of my life. The first months of 2009 are looking positive. A few publications lined up (news to come), friends moving to Melbourne, music festivals and concerts and more. I’m also working on ’90s novel’ as some of you know. It’s set in a small NSW regional coastal town which may or may not resemble my home town where I am currently relaxing (read: zombified) for my Xmas/New Year. It’s been inspiring in an odd way to be back home, in that I remember why I’m writing about particular things, and I’m inspired by strange things like sun-faded signs in shop windows. I haven’t done much actual writing up here – a few pages – but material is being lodged inside for consideration. I have done a lot of reading. I’m up to my fourth book in a week, and plan to read two/three more in the next three days. I’m currently on The Catcher in the Rye, one I specifically bought for this holiday. My sister is sitting across from me reading Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels, which I gave her. Have any of you had a chance to read much on holiday?

Best wishes for 2009 to all my readers. I hope you’re getting your party-self on tonight! My rents have hired a smoke machine, lights and everything. We’re having a prop party, and I bought a puppet for the occassion. His name is Benedict (just because I like it). He speaks the Queen’s English. You might say he has a pole (or hand) up his arse.

It’s a beautiful, hot day at the end of an optimistic year (on many fronts). I’m sore and bruised from go-kart and slide riding, I’m salty and sandy from the beach. I hung out with one of my best friends today, whom I’ve known since primary school. We talked about change. Change is how you know you’re alive. This time last year I was all beaten up inside from a relationship ending. I’m still the person I was in primary school. I’m still me from last summer. But I’m so different as well. And I feel incredibly fortunate.

You know what? I’m going to change my resolution right now. It’s too easy, and too self-absorbed. I’m going to change it to…

In 2009 I’m going to be more charitable, more politically aware, more learned on world issues, and I’m going to do more to assist people who aren’t as fortunate as I am, including those whose voice may be repressed or restricted.

Well… the music has begun and my first JD&CZ is in front of me. Happy New Year! Rock on!

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