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Happy New Year!

Heather O'Neill shares her 10 resolutions for 2014

The year 2014 shaped up to be a busy one for Heather O’Neill, what with her highly-anticipated book, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, which came out in May. 

At the beginning of the year we asked Heather to share with us her resolutions for 2014. From conversing with cats to a moratorium on projectile pastries, Heather offers us a candid, funny, and enlightening look at her personal goals for the year.

1. Finish everything that I start. I've left characters in interrogation rooms, in subway tunnels, in strange motel rooms, in doctor’s offices—all in perpetual limbo. I have an unfinished screenplay with assassins sleeping in the back seats of their cars, waiting for the call from their boss. I am not Samuel Beckett. Their melancholy weighs on me. 

2. I want to have my portrait taken by a rock and roll photographer. Author photos are boring. The photographers always make you stand in front of your bookshelf and sort of smile but don’t smile. I want to put on a sequined three-piece suit and a top hat with a chicken on top of it. I want a big, big fan aimed at me. 

3. Read more philosophy. Read more history. Follow politics. 

4. Go visit my family more. 

5. Say hello to cats. I read a study that said they understand what we are saying, they just choose to act as if they do not. 

6. Control my temper. I hate my neighbours. Last summer I threw an apple pie at my neighbours for leaning over my fence and antagonizing my dogs. It ended up backfiring because my backyard was filled with giant raccoons eating the pie the next evening. 

7. Leave my neighbourhood more often. I'm not going to say leave Montreal, I hate traveling, and our bridges are not safe. But I will maybe go to Chinatown a little more, some hotel bars on René Lévesque Boulevard, and the theatre in Old Montreal. 

8. I'm going to not be afraid of expressing my opinions or of sounding stupid. I think I spent a good part of my youth being afraid to speak up. I want to sit next to men in cafés and say outrageous things that would impress Jack Kerouac in the 1950s: “There are two ways to fall in love. One maintains the status quo and the other causes revolutions.”

9. I want to write a philosophical treatise called something like: A Philosophy for Those Who Feel Sort of Sad in the Morning. I want it to be published with a pre-read cover, the way that you can buy pre-worn jeans. It will already have notes in the margins and parts of it underlined in pencil. It will claim to have been translated from the French and published in 1943. 

10. I will be happy to be me. There’s nothing in the world that feels as good as being comfortable in your own skin. The thing that plagued me most in life was low self-esteem. I think everyone should take a moment at the beginning of 2014 to congratulate themselves just for being here. We are the result of billions of years of evolution! Let’s think about that as we ride the subway home, get lost in our lovely paperback novels, stick dishes in the microwave and kiss our sweethearts. We are all getting just a little bit better every year. 

Heather O'Neill is the author of Lullabies for Little Criminals and the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted The Girl Who Was Saturday Night.


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