Saturday, January 1, 2011

Little steps


This year I’m making no resolutions in the traditional sense — I have no weight to lose or character flaws I’m eager to address, which are so many and so deeply seated that it would probably be easier to simply pull my teeth.

Little steps: In addition to my daily online travels, I hope to spend more time with books. I don’t read enough. I suppose that sounds ridiculous, but I know I can get more done if I use the odd moments at my disposal more efficiently, and make a habit of reading while I’m brushing my teeth or waiting for my tea water to boil. I also hope to get more writing done, fully understanding that more could prove to be less, but better. Maybe I’ll be lucky and write one great poem — the kind people recite after you’re dead, without knowing its context or from whence it came — the kind we all dream each day ourselves but are too scared to confess or in too much of a hurry to set down.

I said better, but it isn’t really a question of better that I face this year — or worse. In fact, I take back what I said about character flaws. Really, I’m sick of that entire notion. And while I’m at it, I’m sick of guilt, too, and the frail assumption that I’m destined to succeed in some areas and fail in others — yes, sick of it. What I have done, what we have done, and what we will continue to do, is live. And in doing so, we will be awkward and graceful in our own special way, and in our own good time. We will be bastards and we will be saints, more often than not simultaneously. We want to feel good about ourselves — but we must first learn to feel. We have to surrender ourselves to life, not shield ourselves from it.

Little steps: I want to reach out in such a way that friends and strangers understand the profound connection I feel between my life, my work, and my books. At the same time, I want to convey my delight in the random nature of cyberspace and the mysterious forces that bring us together when and where they do. Physical creatures that we are, we nonetheless are learning how to meet and greet one another in our thoughts. In cyberspace our guard is down, as it all too often isn’t when we’re together in elevators and grocery stores. In the flesh, we believe we’re inaccessible in ways that don’t necessarily apply online, where we frequently build relationships unaware of each other’s sex, age, and appearance. We are like strangers who meet in airports and eagerly tell each other our life stories. I want to demonstrate that that is exactly how much time we have: very little — in which we can make something beautiful, or go on trying to find ways to use each other in order to get ahead — but ahead of what? and of whom? Look around. Can you honestly tell who is ahead and who is behind in this world, or prove that such a distinction even exists? By whose measure? Mine? Yours?


Updates:
“Little steps” is the newest entry in my Notebook. Old notes are archived here.

In the Forum: stop thinking, start coloring.

8 comments:

Two Tigers said...

Man, I wish I had read this post a decade or two (or three or four) ago! I wish I had read it yesterday before I descended into the crevasse of reviewing the past year, which had plenty of darkness and danger, in order to emerge into the light of 2011. But you have said it all so well, William, your words would have guided me to freedom and safety in the two minutes it took to read them just now! I think I will print this sheet and save it in an envelope clearly marked "Read This on December 31st or on any Black Day as Needed." No resolutions this year for me either. Living life to the full is enough of a challenge, and, along with being good to each other, our best mission here on earth. Many thanks for these words, my friend.

Art by JFM said...

William "Little Steps" describes perfectly how I am feeling but couldn't put into words. Thank you for your's. And after giving it some thought, isn't that how a baby learns to walk...

Jan

William Michaelian said...

And thank you, Gabriella, for your inspiring response. “Freedom and safety” — now, when you get right down to it, those are like two distinct universes which rarely, if ever, overlap. But don’t expect me to make sense of that statement. I’m too pleased by yours.

True, Jan, and it’s a need we never outgrow. I’ll tell you what — I was thrilled by the message on your blog this morning. As personal as it is, your new exploration of art is what we all need.

Noxalio said...

oh, William, how exceedingly richer our lives are that you my friend in fact simply are ... yes richer is a relative term but in this case i am certain just

thank you for being ...

William Michaelian said...

Ah, thank you, dear Noxy. Isn’t it nice that we should both chance upon this universe, at this time? I consider ourselves lucky indeed.

Woman in a Window said...

Our destination is now.

(And with that, she turned off her computer.)

All my best, William, and not limited to my best, I hope.

xo
erin

Vatche said...

Hey, William, long time no...talk, I guess.

This piece is very insightful and shows your true emotions of life nowadays. I have the same goals for this new year, as well. To read more, to write more, and to try my best. I'm still striving to be a successful writer in this world of Kindles and Internet.

I wish you the best year possible and email me sometime, so we can catch up!

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Erin. Let it be a team effort, then. We’ll all pool our best and see what we come up with.

(When I think of you turning off your computer, I picture you closing your eyes.)

And my best to you, Vatche. Email it is, then — and remember, that works both ways, okay?