Wednesday, January 01, 2014
Bringing in the New Year
My life had gotten very small in 2012, irised down to Books to Die For and the end of Dizzy's life. I ended that year with no dog, a few too many friendships that had been turned into business relationships, and no external structure to my life other than the need to pay my bills and show up for the things I'd promised to do. So in 2013 I said yes to almost anything that offered me a paycheck or a deadline, just to keep myself in motion, and I wound up distracted and distraught.
But people are kind, in general — at least, in my personal experience, individual people are kind when one deals with them individually. (People in groups often become terrible, but that's a discussion for another day.) And people were kind to me last year, and put up with a lot, and offered me solutions I could not have come up with on my own.
So the year ended much better than it began, in a deluxe apartment in the sky. I have plans to see much more of friends and family, and enough work to take me at least into February. I even went to Mass yesterday (and will go again today), becoming part of the reported trend of American Catholics returning to the Church because of Pope Francis.
The incomparable Laura Lippman starts her year with a one-word resolution. It's an exercise I've found useful. My 2013 word was "reappear," which I did in some unexpected ways — one's never quite so visible in a place as when one's leaving — but didn't quite achieve the way I meant to.
This year's word, then, is "reclaim."
The work I do, if I do it well, happens in the shadows. My job is 1) to help other people say what they want to say, know what they need to know, and be seen where and how they want people to see them, and 2) to be as unobtrusive as possible while I'm doing it. It is not about me . . . except that, at some level, it has to be. Exactly how, I'm not quite sure. Figuring that out is part of what I mean when I say "reclaim."
In more mundane terms, "reclaim" is about getting back to my fighting weight; reconnecting with old friends here and elsewhere; and setting some professional and artistic goals of my own. There's nothing like a move for making you focus on what you own and what you need, and that's what I'm hoping to get out of this one.
Happy new year, everybody, and thanks. Everything gets better from here. I promise.