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Resolutely

NYR 1
I have a buncha files saved on in MS Word named variations of “Blog Blog Blog.” I have more than a decade’s blogs saved up there. It is actually verging on ELEVEN YEARS. About a fourth of my life. I have written these blogs in three different houses on three different computers in two different cities.

Beautiful Maisy was a toddler when I began. She is about to be a teenager. Sam the grade schooler is halfway through his junior year. A pirate cat and a demon-infested cat have both shuffled off their mortal coils to ravage the mice-infested high seas of heaven and to rule in the bowels of hell, respectively. (Don’t worry, Boggart is FINE in hell. He owns real estate and has a great job torturing the damned as he once tortured us, the living. Boggart, I have NO doubt, ADORES life in hell—that’s how contrary that little butthead was.)

I have gained and lost more than ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY POUNDS—that is a WHOLE PERSON—-mostly in five or ten or (on bad years) twenty pound increments, see-sawing up and down. I have converted rabidly to and then abandoned the South Beach diet, Raw Eating, Glycemic whatnot, some crazy thing about eating spoons of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, Paleo, and My Fitness Pal.

I wrote six novels. I almost died. I went to France. I lost all my grandparents and a friend. I made a friend—maybe two. I joined a book club. Believe it or not, in this decade, I mellowed. My husband mellowed, too; he shaved his head, grew a beard, AND BOUGHT A PAIR OF FLIP FLOPS.

(If you think “bought a pair of flip flops” doesn’t belong on the same list of life changes as “I ALMOST DIED,” then you do not know Scott.)

We thought we were Anglicans, but we moved churches as we moved geographically. We became Methodists, communist Presbyterians, and are now Quasi-Communist Baptists. We learned we want a place that feels connected to serving community. A place where the doors are open to all—even weirdos like us, and we don’t care what the sign over the door says.

I blogged all this.

My first file of blogs, cleverly named BLOG BLOG BLOG, became SO huge and unwieldy that when I opened it, my WHOLE computer would say , “Ummmmmm, NOPE!” and go Blue Screen of Death. I split it into three files and got a new computer, because if a WORD file can crash you, it is time. Especially if you are a novelist.

After that, I started marking them by year. I have files named Blog Blog Blog 2008, Blog Blog Blog 2009 etc etc, all the way through to Blog Blog Blog 2013. This is the first page in a file I JUST made called…you can probably guess.

NYR 2
Most of those files are ONE HUNDRED to ONE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND WORDS LONG. Each year’s worth of blogs are as long as one of my novels. 2012 is a little lighter—about the length of gods in Alabama, my shortest book.

2013? Barely a novella.

I want 2014 to be different. I miss cataloging my life via blog. But 2013 was TOTAL CRAP. Hard to complain, when it was the year I spent a couple weeks lolling about France. And yeah, FRANCE was a life high point, but not so much a ribald pleasure as it was a desperately needed oasis of rest and joy in what has otherwise been a year of Jackals and Suck.

I think I have been so SWARMED with life-eating metaphorical devil bees and so damn sad I couldn’t find the voice of the blog. I have been sad. SAD. WAHHHHH SADDDDDDD.

I am done with it.

I AM DONE WITH IT.

Life is terrible and sad and fragile. Life is hard and full of heaps of just Godawful crap. This is what life is LIKE, and I KNOW this, and I knew this all along, so what has changed? I think it was one too many bees, and I fell under, down into the bee-pit, and there I squatted, resentfully being stung and declaring all of life to be made of bees.

Done with it. Hear me? Done. Because all life is not made of bees.

I just killed a character in my WIP progress and you know what? I AM UNKILLING HER. I just AM. She doesn’t have to be mortal today.

Neither do I.

I am going to be happier, and one way I am going to be happier is to stop staring into my sad naval with its sad sad depths of sorrow, and remember how freaking BLESSED I am. I have the best husband on the planet. I adore my kids. I am involved in a passionate relationship with a puffy yellow cat who makes my heart to sing. I love my church, I love my job, I love my town, I love my house, I love my dogs. I have some REALLY good friends who have stayed close enough to see my blackest and most chewy most awfullest insides and then said, “BUT LOOK I STILL LOVE YOU AND THINK YOU ARE GREAT!”

Yeah yeah, all these things are all mortal and passing and ephemeral. But I am a person of faith, so the very WORD ephemeral can pretty much suck it. I am also a person of yoga, trying to abdicate before and soon in favor of now.

NYR 3 I have all these things LOVELY ephemeral things NOW. I am not dead yet. SO! It is time to stop lying down. Plenty of time to loll about rotting when I am ACTUALLY a corpse.

With this in mind, I am resolved to GO OUTSIDE and catalog the funny good bits here, as I ALWAYS have, for a decade now. I am going out in active search of that which is delightful and ridiculous and hopeful and broken in interesting ways and intensely, beautifully human—OH! there are SUCH GOOD BITS— I look at the earlier blogs and I remember OH YES! SO MUCH GOOD BITS happen! I am going to find them, and dwell in these good bits, and tell you about them.

And that, Oh My Best of All POSSIBLE Beloveds, Oh my delicious baglets of tasty candy, my darlings, my dear ones, my beautiful goats on the spring hillside (wait, I think those are bosoms? Never mind) THAT is my singular and single and only and lone New Year’s Resolution.

What’s yours?

26 comments to Resolutely

  • Leslie Noon

    Your resolution strikes a chord with me. I think I may borrow it once in awhile. In the meantime I think my own resolution is to dredge up some personal creative courage. To demonstrate that courage I will resolve to actually paint in the beautiful, hand made by a talented book binder, sketchbook that my daughter gave me LAST YEAR. I haven’t had the nerve to actually mar it’s beautiful pages. My daughter has pointed out that if I would use it, that the bookbinder would make me another one because she loves to make books. Surely I can dredge up that much creative courage with such a good backup plan.

  • Myra Fabian

    Here’s my New Year’s Resolution. Bob Newhart brings it on… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0lr63y4Mw

  • liz

    I am so glad to read this post, glad that you are resolved to go forth (perhaps in netting) and ignore the bees, glad that means we’ll be seeing and reading more from you in 2014. (And I can’t believe beautiful Maisy who is only two is actually approaching 13. Because that means my oldest is … I must be doing the math wrong.)

  • Brigitte

    Yes, I think it is bosoms like white gazelles, or some such. As I recall it when we looked up Biblical references to the name of our town when we were newlyweds. :-)

  • Elizabeth J

    We need the bees to make the honey and all the orher foodstuffs. But they should get back to that work and leave you alone.

    Such a beautiful post. I will try to follow your lead. Love the idea that you are quasi communist anything. Flip flops disturb me but I gather in this case, it is a Very Good Thing.

    Thank you for all you’ve given us, me, the world. I wish you peace and a new cable provider on the other side of midnight.

  • Brigitte

    Then I went to FB, saw this, and thought it was perfect for you!
    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));
    Post by The Light Within.

    Dang, that’s a long link! :-O

  • Brigitte

    OK, I guess you just click the word “Post”, my apologies for being a total technology doofus.

  • Kim

    I love your resolution.

    I have two. I will lose 20 pounds (doctor ordered 40, but I’m starting with 20!) and I will laugh. every. day. I’ve already increased my exercise (walking!) and am cutting the portions, and I’ve lost 4 pounds in 2 weeks. I know how to do this, and I will do it.

    My second one is the more difficult: I will take moments each day and just breathe. Feel what my body is telling me and let. it. go. Allow the sky to swallow up my insecurities and my foibles and just BE.

    That is going to be difficult for my squirrel brain, but I think I can do it.

    Love you, Joss ~ and I love that I’ve been here since almost the beginning and you never fail to touch my heart. You have such a gift, and I thank you for sharing it with us. Happy New Year!

  • I love your resolution. It’s one that not only benefits you, but all of us, because it always brightens my day when there’s a new post up over here. Thank you!

    I haven’t plotted my resolutions just yet. I perfected procrastination this year, though. Too bad, that wasn’t my 2013 resolution.

  • Well, consider me inspired. So OBVIOUSLY I always have to resolve to drop a few pounds. Because I indulge over the holidays and I do it with abandon because I know I will resolve to get on the wagon again come tomorrow. That goes without saying. But see, my right eyelid twitches constantly, and I know this isn’t good. I think I need to learn to breathe and be calm and find peace. I have teenagers that are learning to drive and are hormonal and one is on a bunch of meds, and all this makes me crazy. All I know is that I need to figure this out or I’ll send myself to an early grave. I know that your posts will help me laugh, that is for sure. You are the bright spark.

  • Shelley

    Your post is wonderful to an also bee swarmed person. I am looking forward to a new year, cuz chances are high it will be better than tha last. My resolutions are encompassed by 3 words: Joy, Responsibility, and Health. Joy seems the most challenging at this point, but I am also done wallowing in the morass. Happy New Year. Loved the ne book.

  • Brian

    I resolve to:

    1) Reply on every FTK post.
    2) Continue to represent and protect the legal interests of the squirrel. You know the one. Btw, he sends greetings and reminds you that the feeder is getting low again.
    3) Continue to like and share what you put on FB. Like everything for sure, share sometimes. I’m not a big sharer.
    4) Make you laugh with my texty silliness. Or, at the very least, grimace with the knowledge that I tried.
    5) Answer the survey question ‘favorite author’ with your name.

  • Jessica (the celt)

    I love this post, Joss. I am a “realist” (which is really life-speak for “pessimistic for myself but eternally optimistic for everyone else”), but there are times when optimism can be appropriate. I’ve been debating this myself lately, but this part of your post sealed the deal for me:

    Life is terrible and sad and fragile. Life is hard and full of heaps of just Godawful crap. This is what life is LIKE, and I KNOW this, and I knew this all along, so what has changed? I think it was one too many bees, and I fell under, down into the bee-pit, and there I squatted, resentfully being stung and declaring all of life to be made of bees.

    Done with it. Hear me? Done. Because all life is not made of bees.

    I just killed a character in my WIP progress and you know what? I AM UNKILLING HER. I just AM. She doesn’t have to be mortal today.

    Neither do I.

    Life has the good and bad parts of bees, and it’s not all the bad part. Sure, sometimes I’m going to get stung, especially if I’m going for the honey, but sometimes I’ll be able to grab the honey and enjoy it without the pain. I need to quit expecting only pain and start living more fully. (Thank you for cementing this realization.)

    Okay, I’m ready. Let’s do this!

  • My god, I just wrote about my IDENTICAL ONE AND ONLY RESOLUTION. Happy new year, lovely! Will this be the year we finally get together for drinks or snacks or (gasp) BOTH? Oh, say it will!

  • Oh boy, can I relate. My blog has suffered much this past year because I felt I had nothing much to say. Which is completely laughable because anyone who has ever met me knows that I am a talker. I’ve been melancholy this year as well which created major speed bumps. Actually it felt like I was on a roundabout all year and no idea how to get off.

    My goal this year is to be a doer. I want to finish my novel. I want to land an article in a big magazine. I want to take better photographs, maybe even sell a few. I want to have more “in the moment” awareness with my family. I want to be more organized and efficient with my time.

    Crap. I think just created mountain of work. Oh well. I guess I ain’t climbing, I ain’t trying. :)

    Best of luck to you in the new year with your own resolution and I look forward to reading along!

  • c

    i gave up resolutions scads of years ago, and don’t miss them one bit. I do recognize that this season can bring energy to help change things, and I try to take advantage of that. this year, i am merely hoping to survive and not go too far down in the pit this winter, and keep up with the things that are working. happy happy year ahead to you, your blog keeps me company and your writing warms me. thank you

  • I, too, want to thank you for writing this post. It was a sad year for me, not because anything in particular happened but for all the things that didn’t….things that I have wanted for years and tried six ways to Sunday to make happen but apparently just are not meant to be. So my resolution for the coming year is to detach ~ from expectations, from outcomes, from wanting. I am going to look for the funny and the ridiculous – just using the word ridiculous today made me laugh. Maybe some “delightful” will sneak in, too. Happy New Year!

  • Frances in England

    I am so with you on this.

    You know how people talk about picking a word for the year to come? I’m going with Love. And also Calm. Last year had incredible highs and absolutely unspeakable inconsolable lows. Love got me (is getting me) through it, but all of it – even the good – was frantic. So I need to concentrate on nurturing the Love part while also trying to find a more even keel.

    I wish everyone here all the best for 2014.

    Onward!

  • Neal (the viking)

    Thank you for this. It’s been a little rough at times this year for us as well and this was a good jolt to the rampant pessimism I sometimes want to indulge in.

    Another resolution should be to keep up with the cat pictures. icanhazcheeseburger + Joshilyn’s humor is too good a recipe to pass up.

  • From where I’m sitting at this ephemeral moment in time, I see that 2014 will be a year of change. I know not all that change will be good.

    So if I have a resolution, it’s going to be to try to find the good in change anyway. Even the bee-laden parts that I know are lying ahead.

    Love to you and yours, Beautiful Lady! Thank you for your words through the years, and your friendship. It means more than I can ever tell you!

  • Summer

    I can’t articulate my resolution(s) quite yet, but some may be cookin’ up there. Just want to say that since you write the good stuff that makes me happy, I’m delighted to hear that there will be more of it. Something else to look forward to in 2014! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • My New Year’s resolution is to DO things, to make mistakes. Neil Gaiman wrote this wonderful wish for 2014 about how he wants people to make mistakes and create and DO things. I’m tired of being dragged along behind people and doing just enough to get by. I have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce, gosh darn it. If she can have a ridiculously named baby and make a secret album and do the superbowl and shower, then by God I can do some things too! This means 2014 is going to have a lot less mindless TV and I’m excited about that.

    Bring on the mistakes!

  • kathy

    I made a resolution revolution several years ago and no longer do this on New Years. But I truly love and appreciate yours! Your blog is a bright spot in my day. Thank you.

  • Bernadette

    I didn’t make any resolutions this year. I decided to just go day to day and see where life takes me. I’ve had a very very rough last couple of years. I am choosing not to dwell on them. Today, I am choosing happiness. I don’t know what I will choose tomorrow, because I have a strong suspicion that there is a little more sad lurking around for me, but today, this minute, I am choosing happiness.

  • Not quite sure if I’ve resolved to do anything other than try to keep my new year as clean and shiny as possible. My 2013 wasn’t QUITE as bad as yours, but it was in striking distance. So. I was happy to bid that crotchety old Geiser goodbye, and am snuggling my gurgling new baby who is still very happy to see me. I like YOUR resolutions!

  • Resolutions I have made w/o even realizing it until I read this post:

    Slow. The. Flip. Down. (Mentally that is)
    Do more good things.
    Pray more intentionally.
    Encourage people. Say nice things.
    Buy less. Keep less.