Last year, I thought about goals-setting around the blog's anniversary. I have done one of the two translations I wanted to make, but have made no progress on chansons de geste. On the other hand, in the execution of my Poeta duties, I did learn a bit about Norse verse. The lyre book is well underway. Writing for Poeta took more of my time than I expected.
This year, what with the new year coming just before the end of my maternity leave and the end of my tenure as Poeta, I feel like looking at new goals now. My resolution for the New Year is to not do so much. Or maybe, not to expect myself to do so much. If I get it done anyway, that'd be great. But I have two kids, a full-time job, duties as an SCA Exchequer and some semblance of a family/social life. It is not reasonable to expect that I'll cover acres of ground in my hobby research.
I received a generous Amazon.com gift certificate as a Christmas gift, and I bought a variety of nifty books: Early Anglo-Saxon Cloth and Clothing, The Heliand (a Saxon account of the Gospel of Mark), a book on early music, a book on Turkish oral poets, an Anglo-Saxon history and a Norman account of England in the 11th century. Good stuff and I want to start reading it.
However, I am recognizing a lamentable tendency to put off doing performance until I've read and researched one more aspect of it: I need to read up on 8th century church music, I need to finish "Singer of Tales," I need to understand the epic poetry tradition.
Partly this is because of my academic tendencies; partly it is because practicing with instruments is hard (my toddler likes to help). But I need to take what I already know - which is actually considerable - and put it into practice more often. I'd like to practice Wulf and Eadwacer with the lyre enough so that I can perform it. I want to do some poems with lyre or harp accompaniment, and set a few more of them to music.
So, that's really it. I'll read my new books for enjoyment, but I want to turn out one to three new Anglo-Saxon performances this year, without doing more research as a precondition. In addition to giving me some new material, it'll be good experience to ground future research in.
Edit: I suppose it is Deeply Unfortunate, at best, to make my first real post after receiving a kingdom Arts award contain the phrase "resolution... to not do so much." I wish to clarify.
I love my hobby research and intend to keep at it. However, in my head, I keep an impossible to-do list (well, impossible unless one is a university professor in this topic, I suspect). This would not be bad, if I thought of this list as "things to work towards" or "future focus areas." But no - it registers as "to do." Today. Being something of a perfectionist, I then get disappointed with myself that I didn't finish my list, even in a whole year. (Never mind that these are areas that specialists can easily spend years, plural, on. A lifetime, even.)
So what I am aiming to do in the new year is to get rid of that ever-present, impossible list. Looking back on my goals from last March... do you see "learn neume notation and Gregorian chant structure" on there? I don't. But I've been beating myself up about not having learned it yet.
That's what I want to "not do so much" of.