Snow. Book. Tea.
1. You know when you’re with a group of people and one of them says, “Hey, everyone tell a funny story,” and the mood lifts and everyone’s scrambling for their best funny story and you realize that the only good funny story you have isn’t recent, it’s probably at least three years old, and you’ve told it to many of the people before? You look self-consciously around the room and realize that people have already started talking, and the laughter swells, and any moment, it’s going to be your turn and you’ll just start to babble? And you might say something vaguely entertaining or clever, but it will never be what you really want to say, because what you really want to say is something you’d only say to people you really trust, without thinking of it first?
I feel like this is an apt description of what it’s like to participate in social media.
2. Tonight I’m going to a party where people will be reading poems they wrote and other people will be reading poems they didn’t write and everyone has been encouraged to read original material if they wish. I don’t write poems, but I will be reading an essay I wrote, although I’m not sure which one yet.
3. This year, I won’t meet my goal of reading one more book than I read last year. It’s a little bit crushing but the truth is, I haven’t been reading as much because I’ve been living a whole lot more, and I think this is a fair trade-off. I’d like to learn how to read in small snatches which, up until now, has been as frustrating to me as the idea of the “power nap”. Why lie down to rest unless you have three hours to kill? I also really dislike reading just a few pages before arriving at my destination, or needing to get up and go into the doctor’s office. It’s silly, but I do.
4. At the end of the year I tend to get very nostalgic because each one of my years has been better than the last. I’m not basing this on circumstances (some years were definitely more difficult than others) but rather on the fact that I have been happier, more fulfilled, closer to knowing who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing. I don’t know if this pattern is sustainable, but I’m thankful it’s been my experience up until now. I like a lot of quiet time in December to ponder what’s happened in my head and heart. So far, even though I haven’t had a whole lot of extra time, the quiet moments have been rich — truly beneficial, meditative experiences. So that’s been a treat.
I fail as a writer every day. I allow my insecurities and my desire to please other people get in the way of telling things as they are, in both their beauty and their ugliness. I am often afraid to put pen to paper, and then consumed with guilt when I do not.
But I keep writing. Failing at it so often, and keeping at it regardless, has made writing the thing that has taught me how to do all other things; it has become the model by which to live. Art isn’t life, or even necessary to life, but it has taught me how life can be and what I could be, if I keep trying. For that reason, I will not stop.