Saturday, January 1, 2011
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?
“Little steps” is the newest entry in my Notebook. Old notes are archived here.
In the Forum: stop thinking, start coloring.