Sunday, December 28, 2008
New Year’s wishes
Three days and counting. On New Year’s Eve, I intend to have a huge bonfire and ceremoniously burn each page of the 2008 calendar, sending the ashes to the high heavens and beyond, where it can never be seen or heard from again.
For a visual, imagine the giant foot coming from the sky in the Monty Python’s Flying Circus opening. But picture my family beneath the foot. That was our year. Suffice it to say I’m ready for a new year.
But really, other than changing calendars and filing a new tax form, what’s so great about a new year? What is it, really, that excites people? Granted, it’s human nature to be drawn to anything new and shiny. And there’s always the traditional resolutions, those things that we meant to do last year but somehow weren’t disciplined enough to do, or didn’t have time for. But ah, here comes a new year! A clean slate. New possibilities. An opportunity to take stock of what’s most important to you, and refocus your goals.
I like the Stoic-Based Suggestions for a New Year’s Resolution. They’re vague enough to be doable, and high-minded enough to be respectable.
My personal list is simple: not to lose my soul. I had, during the two years prior to this year. I worked at a great job with amazing people, but it left no time or energy for writing. I wrote nothing for myself. Zero novels. Nada stories. I felt soulless and empty, as if my very purpose for being had been stripped away. I felt abandoned by my muse. I didn’t even have any new ideas for stories, which was very unusual – normally I have notebooks full of story blurbs and snapshots and one-liners that I distinctly hear in my head. When my family’s luck plunged early this year, I turned back to writing like it was the only thing that could save my life. I wrote every day, all day, as if it were my job. Certainly it saved my sanity. I’m never going to sacrifice my muse again.
But I don’t want to write only for myself. Sure, I love to play with words, string them together so perfectly they sparkle more brightly than a diamond necklace. But I need to know my writing means something to other people, too. That it touches them in a profound way, maybe makes them think about something they might not have, or at least makes them realize that someone else feels the same way s/he has.
I would add to my personal list: A good year for my family, and to have three novels published. Or four, if I finally finish revisions on the last one. Because I need to be able to provide for my family, too, after all.
As T.S. Eliot said, “For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
Whatever your wishes for the coming year, I wish you all that your heart desires. Happy New Year.