What, January again?

When the end of December rolled around, and January started nagging me about resolutions and holding myself accountable and taking myself seriously as a writer, I’m afraid I was too busy wallowing in the depths of my existential slump to pay any attention. “Yeah, yeah,” I muttered, yanking the blanket of avoidance back over my head, “go nag someone who gives a rat’s hindquarters.”

And then, lo and behold, January 31 rolled around, and in its wake, the Year of the Horse. My year. Now I know next to nothing about Chinese astrology (or any other astrology, for that matter), but I do know that I was born in the Year of the Horse, and when I stopped and pondered this for a while, I realized that every twelve years when that Horse has come galloping forth, I have initiated significant and lasting changes, personally and professionally.

Coincidence? Almost certainly. But never let it be said that I let cold, hard facts and logic dictate my trajectory through this crazy old life. When I heard that the Year of the Horse was upon us, it was like I was possessed by the spirits of “get off your arse and get on with things, you useless slugabed.” No sooner had I received the news and had my little ponder than I was agog with plans and schemes and strategies for whipping my saggy, baggy, sorry existence back to some semblance of productivity and inspiration.

That’s what “Horse” means to me: forward momentum, shaking off the fetters, change, hope, freedom. It may carry a similar symbolism in Chinese astrology, or it may mean something very different. I’m not going to do the research, because my meaning is working quite nicely for me, thank you very much.

Over the past three weeks I have begun the laborious process of dunging out the trunks, closets, boxes and drawers that contain the material detritus of the past few decades. I’m paring down their hidden treasures, purging them of their mounds of papers and mementos, of old clothes that I will never wear again, of old letters from people I never hope nor want to see again, of gifts I enjoyed receiving but could never find a use for, or my daughter’s Grade 3 arithmetic notebooks, and on and on. It’s astonishingly liberating.

I also signed up for a short story writing course to help me rediscover my writing groove. It starts today, with the first story due next Monday. Deadlines, how I love you.

And, as of today, I’m dusting off this poor neglected blog, slapping a bit of rouge on its pasty little cheeks, and shoving it out to the face the world once more. I’m not making any hard and fast resolutions, but my goal is to take it out for a spin at least semi-regularly this year. You know. Once a week, maybe more often if I’m feeling uncharacteristically ambitions or have a deadline that I’m desperately trying not to look at.