Year of the house, year of the burgh…

Happy New Year! I truly did not mean to be gone from blogging for such a long time but since nothing is worse than reading a blog about all the reasons a person HASN’T blogged I will just say I am happy to be back and that my time off was filled with vacation, good friends, family, food and much love. S. and I spent much of the holiday in Louisiana – New Orleans and Lafayette – and had an amazing time making various music and food pilgrimages around those two areas.

There is little I love more than a new year, and while I tried to restrain myself from creating too many resolutions for 2010 I fear my list is worse than ever, although it’s designed differently and really, is more about organization and goal-accomplishing than anything else. I won’t go into the whole creation with you right now but S. and I have declared 2010 The Year of the House, and the Year of Pittsburgh. We’ve officially been living in our home for a little over a year now and while we’ve managed various small tasks, like planting a small garden and replacing windows, we’ve yet to really set our minds to creating a home out of the mess the previous owners left us with. This is due partially to funds and partially to time…one thing we have learned is that every project in an old home takes a minimum of three times the time and three times the money as you first anticipate. And if I am to be fair in this post, I have to admit it is S. that has done the majority of the work thus far because for whatever reason I fear touching this house that I own, as though I could somehow make it worse, and that is not fair to S. or to myself. Previous years have taken us away for many, many weekends at a time, to visit family and friends, for concerts or long weekend trips alone, and while we both cherish all of the time with those we love we have decided to put a halt, as much as possible, to unnecessary travel and concentrate our time, energy and money on the house, for this year. Oh, there will be a visit to Chicgao to see the beloved J. and SA and some previous commitments we already made but there will be no more stretches like the one that occurred last winter where we were gone for twelve, yes, twelve, weeks in a row. If we have learned one thing from this old-house ownership thing, it is that it takes sustained attention, love and money and if it is going to look any different at the end of 2010, we need to apply a whole lot of each to the situation.

So, the Year of the House. The Year of the Burgh. A natural and pleasing by-product of our recent commitment to the house is spending more time in the city we love and don’t take as much advantage of as we should. As I discussed with S. over vacation, I spent much of 2009 feeling pretty lonely – he travels for work often and being a transplant in Pittsburgh is much more difficult without the ready-made community graduate school provided. Pittsburgh is a much harder community to break into than, say, Raleigh-Durham, because it isn’t very transient in nature and the family and neighborhood ties run long and deep. But if I am being honest with myself I am not putting the work in necessary to make a community – I have many friends and even some family here in the city and a thousand opportunities to instill roots here. So, year of the house, year of the burgh. Expect calls from me.

I haven’t written much since Thanksgiving – I have to admit finishing the first draft of my novel caused a bit of a crisis of faith for me. I waiver between absolute conviction that the book I wrote is pretty terrible and serves, as I discussed before, as the book I HAD to write in order to move my writing forward, the space I needed to occupy for a while, and then berating myself for thinking in that way because that sort of thought process is really just another way of quitting, and I am terrible about finishing processes I start. Ultimately I am fairly sure the novel will be revised and submitted over the course of the next several months if only to prove to myself I can complete the process but I think it’s going to look very different from it’s original incarnation. More on this later, surely.

One last thing…I am tweeting now under the everything in between alias…if you have been following me under my real name you know by now it’s all about work stuff and so if you want to follow me talking about things like books and tv and movies and Pittsburgh and writing and etcetera, my “handle” is  inbetween77.

Wow, it feels good to be back…to write something, anything. Wishing you all a wonderful beginning to the new year – I’m looking forward to a very bloggy year!

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10 Responses to Year of the house, year of the burgh…

  1. The Year of the House sounds wonderful. And if that keeps you home and making a place for yourself in Pittsburgh so much the better. I wish you and S a happy and successful year doing both.

    Fixing and submitting are what I hope to be doing on my novel this year, so we are on track with our twin projects. I will send you an invitation to Litopia which is a fairly fabulous writers’ forum where I have been spending time and getting great advice from writers both published and unpublished. You can check it out and see if it’s for you.

  2. appellationmountain says:

    How exciting! I feel asleep watching the Jeff Goldblum movie Pittsburgh last night. O Fries featured in my dreams. 🙂

  3. Amanda says:

    That all sounds very positive and enthusiastic. I wish I felt more excited about 2010. My plan of it being the “year where we pay off some more of the mortgage and possibly extend the driveway” just isn’t getting me fired up, for some reason.

  4. litlove says:

    Happy New Year, Courtney! It sounds like you are all set for a wonderful 2010!

  5. shoreacres says:

    Since I’m impossibly forgetful these days I can’t tell you who said it, but I’ve long admired the woman who finally stood up to that silliness of the 70s and said, “You CAN have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time.”

    It’s a fact – working with anything that requires physical labor also requires huge commitments of time. It took me a while to figure it out vis-a-vis my boats, but eventually I “got it” – no matter how hard I work, I only can sand so much wood in an hour, and varnish and paint take as long as they take to dry.

    We’re so used to things in the cyber world going faster and faster and providing instantaneous results we get frustrated when working with the physical world – you just can’t speed up certain processes. That’s why so many things take three times longer than we expect – it’s not that something has gone “wrong”, it’s that our expectations are a little off.

    Sounds like a great year to me! Too bad I’m not closer so I could come saw and paint!

  6. Pete says:

    Wishing you very happy and fulfilling years of the house and burgh. I’m also planning to spend time on my house this year and it’s a great idea to define it like that. Happy blogging this year!

  7. Stefanie says:

    It sounds like you are beginning the year in a good place. I can’t wait to hear about all the house stuff. I am also certain the revision of your novel will go better than you think. Happy New Year!

  8. smithereens says:

    It seems like you both put a lot of reflection and wisdom (the 3 times more time and money thing…) into your projects for 2010, so I bet it will be a success! Happy new year

  9. Courtney says:

    Char, thanks for the words of support. Reading about the revisions you did in your novel have really helped me look at my book with new eyes.
    A – my stomach just did a little flip flop, thinking about O fries…
    Litlove – Hi! And Thank you! I just read your piece on Barthes…am trying to come up with some sort of response but fear I find myself with a bit of writer’s block on the topic…
    Shoreacres – you make an excellent point – I am definitely used to things moving at cyber speed and with our house that’s just not going to happen!
    Pete – we can house blog together!
    Stefanie – well, just stay tuned. You are going to hear more about the house than you ever wanted to, I’ll bet!
    Smithereens – the words wisdom, and me, together? You are too sweet, but I appreciate it!

  10. Courtney says:

    Oh Amanda – I didn’t mean to miss you! Yes, I have to say, I think you need at least one fun resolution, my friend!

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