Anew 2018

IMG_2128It remains to be seen what 2018 will bring, and if it will be better than last year, but at the moment, I am feeling very (very) cautious stirrings of optimism. I am aware that in even saying that out loud (such as it is) I am opening the door to be knocked on my ass. Today, at this moment, I am willing to risk it. Tomorrow? We shall see.

Several weeks ago, I was the invited guest at a joint book event for The Burning Point and for my friend Rachel Hunt Steenblik’s book Mother Milk. As I was preparing my remarks (on the fly, from the stool in front of a room full of people, as one does.) I realized a stretch of prose actually worked as a poem. It was unexpected.

When the call came
when the letter arrived
when the sunlight finally
fell on your face
the struggle fell away
and you only remembered
the beauty.

It was like childbirth
everyday.
We brought forth
our future.
Every choice we made
determined
what raw materials
would be in the hands
of tomorrow.

Some days took years
and were times
of transition
where we thought
we might die.

Some years were full
of euphoria
or rushing release.
Most years were
slightly uncomfortable
until we remembered
how to breathe.

So there’s my first poem. It may not be any better than the angsty crap I wrote on my t-shirts in Sharpie at art school when I was 16, but I’m putting it out there anyway.

New Years resolutions haven’t ever been my thing, but I am making a few small(ish) changes and acknowledgements. I stopped writing after I turned in my manuscript for TBP last year. I hear it’s natural after such a cathartic project, but I also realize I need to write like some people need their Diet Coke. I work out my mind, clear the chaos inside, find the northstar, whatever you want to call it, I do it by writing. Not all of my writing is here, and I have a couple of book projects that are still in embryo, but here is where I turn to most faithfully. At this point I doubt anyone is reading, considering blogs have gone the way of the wooly mammoths, but just as when I started and had zero readers, I have never been writing for an audience. I write for my own sanity and center, and sometimes I even do a good job. So we are back to the beginning where perhaps someday my grandchildren will find this interesting. Or not. I do it for me and that’s enough.

I’ve deleted my calendar apps from my phone and computer, and moved to a paper calendar and journal format. I cannot believe how much more productive I feel swapping out this format. There is something about putting pen to paper that transcends a well-designed little icon on my phone. I need that visceral touch. I need to scratch things off my to-do list, and to messily move things around with arrows and boxes and whatever pen color is on hand. It feels good.

I’ve deleted some social media from my devices, too. I know lots of people are doing/have done this. I’m a late adopter? I’ll still use it when I want and when it suits me, but I’m less and less interested in keeping up with a thousand different streams of thought when I can barely keep on top of my own.

Christmas was good. Very low key. We spent the week before in New York City with (most of) the kids. It was free form and completely enjoyable. We didn’t get into any shows, and didn’t really have a master plan, but spent each day just sort of going wherever sounded good. We rode the Staten Island Ferry back and forth, which remains one of Bean’s very favorite parts of NYC. We ate a lot of cheap slices of pizza, and found some good restaurants. I got to meet up with some Manhattan friends for brunch, and we hit the Christmas market in Bryant Park. We caught services at Trinity Church, and spent a whole day at The Met. I rode in my first NYC taxi, and took the subway a bunch. It was a perfect holiday, and we were back home by Christmas Eve.

New Years week found us filled to the rafters with Tennessee and Missouri family. I love having people fill my home. I don’t mind the chaos, the clutter, family everywhere—it makes me happy to be surrounded by people I love.

Now it’s nearly mid-January and the kids are all finally back in school. The winter cyclone of arctic air pretty much shut down the eastern seaboard for the first week of the year—even yesterday we were still in the single digits. We’re not used to that level of cold, and our homes and infrastructure isn’t either. Everything shut down. The trade off is that we get miserable summers where everything molds and the heat index sucks the life out of you; we’re not supposed to get crappy ice vortexes of winter.

Today is my first day all alone since December 15. If you’re an introvert you probably know how I’m feeling at the moment. As much as I love the holidays, I can feel my tank filling as I sit here in the quiet of my office, no tv, no video games, no kids, no ambient sound at all except my little space heater and the dog softly snoring nearby.

Happy New Year.

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10 thoughts on “Anew 2018

    • One of the highest compliments anyone ever pays me is to say that I am no different in real life than I am online. I hope this is just like a conversation. I don’t know how to be any different. Thank you for reading.

  1. I’m still reading too. Your writing helps me clear the clutter out of my head too somehow. Thank you for your thoughts and your strength.

  2. I enjoy your writing so much – I’m glad you’re still here! You have such a way with words – they touch my heart…

  3. I always love reading you – it carries me until we can sit down until and visit in person. The kids and I are coming out in March for Spring Break to come see John, then will be out permanently for the summer at the end of May before we are off to our next adventure in Belarus. Looking forward to catching up.
    I hope that 2018 is wonderful for your family (and mine!). Happy New Year my friend!! Lots of love!

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