All these places have their moments

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Happy new year, sweet friends! May 2014 bring us all strength, success, and happy surprises. 

This has been a good year thus far. My birthday was lovely – some of my favorite people, old friends and new, gathered to celebrate my aging. And my sweet co-host got me my favorite cake in all of New York, strawberry shortcake from Veniero’s. Lots of it. The gathering morphed into an impromptu New Year’s Eve celebration with an equally sublime selection of people. It wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind but we made it work and I was reminded how dear my friends are. And how important forgiveness is. As I’ve blahhhhged about incessantly I made some big mistakes in 2013 but I have not let them define me. Quite the opposite. Letting go of regret and forgiving ourselves is as crucial as anything for making progress. 2013 had many more moments of beauty than it did heartache, thank God. It was a year of music and film and travel and writing – so much writing – I wrote more words last year than I had in a very long time, and this forum was the impetus for much of it. Today I submitted a piece to the New York Times, as per a literary agent’s suggestion. I don’t expect it’ll get published – the column I submitted to is saturated with excellent contenders for publication – but it feels very productive to get my words out there. Yesterday I got my first rejection from a literary magazine for a short story I started last summer, and that’s okay. Now that I’ve “failed” I realize it’s much favorable to never trying in the first place. 

Yesterday was apparently an important day astrologically, a day for the Cardinal signs (Capricorn, Aries, Cancer and Libra) to set clear intentions for the new year. This was coincidental in terms of the calendar year; the alignment that suggests this could occur on any day, it just happened to have done so on January 1. I did set intentions, and I spoke them aloud – some lofty goals where my writing is concerned (two screenplays and a novel, that same dang novel I’ve been threatening to finish for six years) and some logical ones where matters of the heart and mind are concerned – specifically what I am no longer willing to accept from myself and others. I look forward to implementing all of these. 

I started painting yesterday – dear one got me paints and canvases for Christmas, a result of a conversation we had during which I claimed to not be able to paint. How fun to have a new hobby that has nothing to do with anything else that I do. Writing is no longer really a hobby; it’s a compulsion. It’s my raison d’etre. And recent events have underscored why I do it at all.

Eleven and a half years ago my dear friend passed away in childbirth – about as hideous a circumstance as I can imagine. I’ve written many words to her since then but I’ve never written about her and it was time – and so I took the advice of the agent I mentioned earlier and wrote an essay about that terrible time. My friend’s little sister has become a very important part of my life in the years since – we always got along well and this brought us closer. I needed her blessing to submit this essay and so I sent it to her (after fact-checking with her). I heard back from her on my birthday and her acceptance of and appreciation for what I wrote is all the validation I need to know I was meant to write that piece. Again, the likelihood of it being published is slim, but that’s not why I needed to write. 

(Since I know you read this – thank you, honey. your feedback means the world to me. Your friendship means the universe.). 

It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we allow ourselves to believe in ourselves. 

When I blew out my dozens of birthday candles I made a wish for everyone in the room, and for the people I love who weren’t there. I hope it comes true. 

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