Yes. It is 2005 and it falls to me to tell you how I have resolved to improve myself for the new year to come. And you can too. Although you seem fine to me, frankly; I’m the one whose moral core needs flensing.

This year, I shall leap out of bed each morning, after my coffee is brought to me, of course. I will not loll about in bed complaining I don’t feel well because then I’ll get breakfast in bed and I don’t have the reflexes for it.

Yes, I get jam on the blankets. Time for quick thinking. I start sucking it off. Now my husband’s usual advice when I drip toothpaste on my sweater or sit on a Smartie etc. is “It’ll sponge out.” But do I remember that? So there I sit, unsuccessfully sucking jam off a white cotton blanket and thinking comfort thoughts a) Thank God it isn’t the Hudson’s Bay blanket that lies beneath; it can’t be washed, much less sponged out and b) This is posh possibly, as the great bug-eyed intellectual Cyril Connolly also fed on his bedding. “He lay sucking the sheet ends, always a bad sign,” his ex-wife, Barbara Skelton, wrote in her memoirs. “He sometimes lies for an hour with folds of sheet pouring from his mouth like ectoplasm.”

Two, try not to drink so much. You will, of course, but try not to, is what I am saying.

Third, read things that make you laugh. That means less Norman Mailer and Hanif Kureishi and more of everything else. If you can, buy books rather than borrow them, so that writers don’t have to crouch in those little shanty garages gnawing on a goat’s leg all winter.

And four, stop talking about food so much. Irish writer Dylan Moran points out that there are alleged to be beef tomatoes and plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Is someone playing a monstrous joke on us?

Stop talking about food.

So far, we’ve had the New Year’s Resolution trimmings. Now, we need the heart of the matter, improving ourselves morally.

Last month, I decided to buy my fourth Julia McNeely painting, mainly because I had dreamed of this particular canvas and this Jung person says that’s terribly important. The problem was that 2004 was an awful year, a watershed for the world — and then, of course, this word came hideously alive with the great tsunami on Boxing Day. After the re-election of the Bushlet, untold agony in the most beautiful, long-suffering parts of the world left me trying to find some way to keep from going mad. Perhaps the painting would be a clue.

I cannot show you Julia’s artwork, only describe it to you via “ekphrasis,” a honourable tradition of “telling a painting” that began with the Greeks and continues in literature today. Laura Cumming, art critic of Britain’s Observer newspaper, is better at it than any writer I’ve encountered. Her ekphrasis is so good that I don’t feel I need to see the painting, which is convenient as Britain shall not see me until it has turfed Tony Blair.

Dream of the Blue Sheep, as I call it, shows a pale green meadow where six livestock have been grazing. Behind them is a dark wood where six more yellowy sheep walk quietly through a deep green marked by black tree trunks. They head east out of the painting. The meadow group is pondering heading east, but one sheep closer to the viewer seems hesitant. Centre front is a large animal looking at me head-on, challenging me perhaps, or questioning me morally. He frightens me. Where are we being herded? Onto a train? To where work will make us free? Is there dioxin in our feed? Or do you love us and are guiding us to the lush place, where we can gambol, can do some serious scampering like privileged human infants?

The greatest power of the painting is the sheep’s heads. They are elongated shapes with long awkward ears protruding. But they are a solid stormy Yves Klein blue, eyeless, entirely featureless. These mute animals might be my conscience. Or they might be the only living creatures I admire, since they harm grass alone. I haven’t liked humans much lately.

We are living in a time when the world’s most powerful human, while deciding on a course of action, consults a deity of his choice, which is, I tactfully point out, an invention. Judging from the number of deaths he has caused, I’d suggest talking to a hand puppet squeaking, “Thou shalt not kill, Bushlet.”

I look at Ukraine’s impossibly brave Viktor Yushchenko, poisoned by dioxin soup, and I wish Bushlet’s deity would remind him that Cambodian and Vietnamese children eat American-made dioxin soup today, no change there. And that the EU’s huge, fast aid package to the tsunami’s circle of pain is a hint to the United States: Thou shalt donate more?

If George Bush can talk to his lodestone, I can ponder the silent blue profundity of a sheep’s head. My blue-faced sheep are studies in opacity yet they convey a message. All I do is read, talk, write and play with words all day. Sheep are mute. So give me the secret message, little lamb.

The message is, I think, be a kinder human. Defend the weak. Or else a dark blue face will reproach you.

You have a better chance of living up to this vow than you do of the first four I mentioned. There you’ll be, drunk, sucking on your blankie and talking idiocies about food. “I want eel’s tongues in a Kobe tomato jus warmed by a coriander-scented rock.”

Not eating it in bed is probably the best you’ll achieve.

So put kindness first. Good luck with it.