poetry • art • marriage • momhood • faith

“My Resolutions” or “The Benefits of Peer Pressure”

Helen Keller Quote

I’m not much of a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They just don’t really fit my calendar.  I mean, think about it: each new year starts just a week after Christmas Day, at the end of a two-month-long holiday spree, and (if you live in the northern hemisphere as I do) right when winter is really starting to bite as harshly as the wind itself.

With all that going on, the last thing I care to do on January first is make a bunch of commitments and promises I don’t feel up for keeping.  No, on January first, after going to Mass (it’s a holy day for us Catholics) and eating my traditional meal of pork and sauerkraut (or just the pork, since I’m not superstitious and am the only person in this household who likes cabbage in any form)—after that, I don’t want to make resolutions. The only thing I want to make is my way to bed to hibernate.


But thanks to peer pressure (particularly that of the talented and inspirational Kim Blum-Hyclak and my wonderful local writer friends) I did make some resolutions this year, albeit, a couple weeks in.  So that you can help hold me to them, allow me to share my self-promises with the world.

I have set a minimum goal this year of :

  • writing— and finishing— 2 poems a month
  • writing a blog post each month
  • sending out  6 submissions
  • entering 3 contests
  • reading publicly once a month
  • meeting with a workshop/critique group once a month-ish (let’s just say 10 times this year)
  • teaching/sharing about poetry with a group twice
  • reading (or rereading) a poetry book each month

I know, for a lot of writers out there, that is a high limbo bar, a low and slow pitch. But for someone still trying to re-find herself — let alone words and creativity — after the loss of yet another baby… this is a BIG. DEAL.


As January closes (ok, so it was still January when I started typing this, and now it’s February, but humor me), I would like to share that thus far this year I have:

  • read cover-to-cover more than once the aforementioned Kimberlyn Blum-Hyclak’s inaugural book, In the Garden of Life and Death
    (Buy it. Read it. Thank me later.)
  • read at a reading, with actual people listening
    (Have I mentioned what a big deal it is for me to “get back out there”? I haven’t? Well it is.)
  • written more than 2 poems I’d consider sending out! Whoo-hoo!
  • entered one contest
  • written this blog post
    (Yep. Timestamp says February, but I’m totally counting it for January.)
  • … and I have not one, but two workshop/teaching/sharing engagements in the works!


I’m trying not to overwhelm myself. I tend to do that. I pile too much on my plate and lose my appetite. So I’m really trying to pace myself. But right now, I’m looking forward this year with a lighter spirit and a grateful heart, feeling the healing power of my Creator through my creating.


… and next week is the annual icon retreat. God is good.

1 Comment

  1. Ev Ev
    February 1, 2015    

    Julie, both you and Kim are inspirations. Thank you….

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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