Archive for December 31st, 2010

Some of our Anti Room writers share their New Year’s resolutions – what are yours, if any?

Nuala Ní Chonchúir

I am a firm believer in New Year’s resolutions. I know January is not the jolliest month for many but I like it because it’s my birth month. I also love the freshness of the turning year, the way it stretches out in front of you like clean paper, and that chance it gives to be new and improved.

My resolutions are practically identical every year, which, I guess shows that a) I don’t really succeed in keeping them for the whole year, and b) people don’t change much. I believe in simple resolutions – ones that may be semi-achievable. I always start off the year on a health kick, so the first one is generally ‘Eat less, walk more.’ The second is ‘Worry less’, because I can worry about pretty much everything and I drive myself mad with it. And the third is usually along the lines of ‘Be nicer. To everyone.’

This year I am adding ‘Buy less stuff’, which won’t be hard now that we are all so much poorer. And – one I’m less keen on – try to understand Twitter. Ath-bhliain faoi mhaise to all the readers of the Anti-Room.

Arlene Hunt

New year’s resolutions.- Easy. Deadlift 115kilos by June,  squat body weight by same period. Press 30k, push press 50k. Do strict pull ups without band SOMETIME this year, run 10k in under 50 minutes, stretch stretch and stretch some more. Oh, and stop pretending Meanies are a food group.

Antonia Hart


In Listowel some years ago the novelist leading the writing workshop I was at asked us how much we read. How many books? One a month? Two a week?

I answered, ooh, about one a week, usually five a month, knowing the answer because for four or five years I kept a note of what I read. Not the kind of note that comes with star ratings and possible reread dates, just a page for each month, with titles and authors. Not enough, the novelist said, you must read and read and read. But just to get those five books a month read, i had to read in the interstices of my life: stirring the chili, walking to the DART, waiting for the loo, at the school gate. For two or three years, during a miserable patch, I slept with the light on and my thumb in a book, so that if I woke at night I could plunge into some fictional life and not have to lie there in a spiralling fret about my own. Soap operas, alcohol, dope, mashed potato – most people have something to bury themselves in. My book-gobbling is an escapism with a veneer of civilisation. 

Last summer I went to another workshop, led this time by Claire Keegan. I was thirty before I learned to read, she said. Before I learned to read slowly. To take in what I was reading. Read slowly, she said. And when you think you’re reading slowly enough, slow down again.
That’s one of my resolutions for 2011 – to stop gobbling. To read slowly, and take it all in.

Sinéad Gleeson

I have the same resolutions every year, and barely a fortnight into January, they’re a myopic blur. As well as the old perennial “write more, dammit”, which I swear I’ll do on pain of eye-gouging every year, I have yet to see this through. This year, in some shape or form I’m going to get more involved in music, after being coaxed into some vocals for Strands. Given that I’m now partly bionic, I have no excuse for being as unfit as I am. Cue lots of repetitive exercise to 1980s’ Power Ballads. And finally, I plan to seek out more positivity and be less tolerant of moaners, me-feiners, takers and people whose only problems are First World ones.

Aoife Barry

I always look on the dawning of a new year as a chance to wipe the slate clean; to make better anything I may have stupidly done or neglected in the year past; to improve the bad habits of mine that even I loathe; to start afresh, anew. It’s a time to begin new things, to get back in touch with old friends, to finish projects and start learning Japanese or do that singing class I’ve always wanted to do.

Life being what it is, however, things don’t always go to plan, and each new year I’m faced with some eerily similar thoughts to the pervious year. “This year I will be more organised, I promise…I won’t waste money and I’ll stop watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians instead of tidying the house. I’ll look into night classes and start yoga again. I’ll read all those books piled up next to my bed and I’ll bring lunch to work every day. I’ll wake up with a smile instead of a grimace and keep a positive attitude. I’ll even bring out the bins instead of waiting for my boyfriend to do it. Yes, a new me!”

This year, as usual, I do hope to do the above things. But one thing I really hope sticks is that positive attitude that sometimes seems so elusive. Maybe it’ll help me when I spot the bin ready to be brought downstairs…or even prevent me from turning on E! when I should be doing something else.

So if all my resolutions fall to bits, I’ll still have a smile on my face. And I won’t let anyone tell me it’s an upside-down frown.

Eleanor Fitzsimons

I don’t generally make New year resolutions on the basis that I can thus avoid the crushing and early disappointment of inevitably breaking them. However, this year I’m planning to take the kids on weekend day trips in and around Dublin. I’m also going to try to find a couple of decent candidates to vote for in the general election. As good things come in threes I’m going to try to highlight some of the issues and causes that I feel passionately about via Antiroom and anyone else that will have me.

June Caldwell

I resolve to feck the fat and melt the critics in their entirety. A paedophile told me recently, in the snide nasty way that only a paedophile can when faced with evidence of the abuse resurfacing, that I was ‘morbidly obese’. This person, who has been grotesquely overweight [and medieval ugly] all their adult life – with a spouse who fits the ‘two seats in a plane’ category – made me realise that my post-hip replacement fat stores have gone on multiplying like lab bacteria for way too long. I‘ve written plenty about this syndrome before https://www.tribune.ie/archive/article/2008/nov/09/bodymatters-waist-disposal how family members, friends and random gobshites somehow assume power over your BMI when it heads cloudwards. A counsellor woman a few months ago pointed at my knockers and spluttered: “What are you going to do about them?” Unprompted. I wasn’t even talking about my weight at the time. There’s nothing quite like being fat/slim/fat/slim no less than eight times in adulthood to fully cognise how the world treats you differently from a Size 10 to a Size 18. Though this time around it is true that my knockers have enjoyed a record-breaking Double F fat finale, which if I was thick as farm mud and lanky and owned a jeep, I’d probably end up with a reality TV deal where people all over the world could watch me eating toast in the mornings and picking up pedigree turds from the lawn. Eight years ago, while living in the inner-city (back when I was an employed house-owner) I lost four stone in eight months, half-starving myself on only half Weight Watchers points, zero alcohol and exercising so manically that I wore down the remainder of my right hip and had to have it replaced, I was truly astounded at the reaction from the locals. People, mainly men: it’s true, who had utterly ignored my blobby self sitting at the bar supping Guinness for nigh on two years, were practically riding my leg the minute I sat down. I had all kinds of offers of romance – even one from the local lithium-laced schizophrenic who was known to talk to street signs when he drank too much – to a local bank robber who suddenly wanted to cocaine-confess all his fiscal crimes, because I looked good in the general rankings. I had a rake of one night stands and partied like a loon before I allowed myself to get angry at teeming hypocrisy of it all: that men can look like pure shit but women have to be wank-fodder to get on in our feeble-minded world. This time I want to get slim and stay slim, for me, for health, for the sneaky life event I have planned in a year’s time and moreover so the sub-humans can look elsewhere for their ‘no life’ snipes: paedophiles, gobshites, non-thinking counsellors and all other brand of pass-remarkables that populate the bus-stop poles, shopping centres, parks, post offices and coffee shops of our green and rotten land…I wish you all a Happy Mind Your Own Poxy Business New Year! Roll on 2011!

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