Day two of the new year and I can’t sleep, so this will not be my most eloquent entry.
Today was a low-key start to the year but a good one … I meditated, wrote, watched The Manchurian Candidate (the original …on a side note, we saw Creed the other day and loved it ) … and napped, which is not the norm. Now I’m writing in this thing because I said I would, and one of my myriad goals for this year is to be more consistent about doing the things I say I’m going to do. The productive things.
So, 2015. A year of highs and lows, though I suppose every year is. The global and national lows we all know … the personal ones manifested mostly as disappointments, with the obvious exception being the loss of mon oncle. We toasted him on New Year’s, and have many times in the weeks since he’s left. I can’t remember the last time we didn’t spend part of the holidays together. I continue to miss him very much.
I want to talk about the highs of 2015. The aforementioned meditation is a valuable new addition to my life. Writing: I finished draft one of my novel and am working my way through draft two, and that’s huge for me. I’ve had some freelance work—could always use more but this isn’t Linked In so I won’t harp on that now. Travel: I’ve visited some of my favorite places, Quebec, NOLA, Paris … and achieved my not always achievable annual goal of visiting a new country, Portugal. Friends and family: I’m in excellent company with friends old and new and an exceptional family (canine included). I’ve seen lots of theater and film and music and a little art—need to do more of that this year. I’ve dined beautifully—I’m really good at that—and learned to cook a few more things. I’ve expanded my knowledge in a couple of areas, learned a little more Russian and a tiny bit of Portuguese, worked with a wonderful writing coach, started taking voice lessons … if you’ve ever heard me sing you’ll be grateful for this (unless it’s the one song I sing oddly well) …
In related news, I’ve always found “Happy Birthday” a particularly tough song to sing, and so I usually lip-synch it … my voice teacher, the wonderfully talented Jamie Leonhart, confirmed that it is challenging and explained that this is because the third “birth-” (i.e. “Happy birth-day dear blahblahblah”) … requires you to jump an octave (or something close to an octave, too overtired to Google) …
The biggest highs from my year aren’t things I have photos of or receipts for … they’re the microcosmic internal shifts that occur with every experience, fabulous or dreadful, interesting or banal. It’s this kind of acceptance of things and of oneself that comes with the wisdom of age—for me, anyway; these newfangled generations seem to have a better grasp on themselves than many of my friends and I did in our younger years. It’s choosing to love and accept oneself not in spite of but because of our imperfections … the Japanese have a term for it, Wabi-sabi, which my lovely Elena reminded me of yesterday. To (partially) quote what she quoted, ‘”Wabi-sabi” refers to a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life …’
A little girl who lives on my floor is (s-l-o-w-l-y) learning violin. Yesterday morning, January 1, as Dog and I were headed out for our morning calisthenics, I heard her practicing. Granted she’s a kid and it probably wasn’t her idea, but something about this person practicing her craft early on New Year’s Day falls in line with my goals for the new year(s) … to practice every day the things I want to do, to not avoid things because they don’t come effortlessly to me. Writing is far from effortless. This forum is an easier one because I can be stream-of-conscience and I have to remove self-consciousness from what I write or I wouldn’t ever post here. I can’t and don’t really edit. But writing my book or writing for anyone who is employing or counting on me … that is hard work for me. And yet it’s what I have chosen as my primary creative and career-ish device, so I keep doing it and hopefully get better every day.
Oh so much more I want to say but tiredness is now sitting next to me on the couch waiting for me to finish and go back to bed and so I must find a lovely image*, figure out a lyric for a title**, read through this once and publish.
*to me, this portrait of Dora Maar embodies wabi-sabi
**I’ve used this before but I’m now, thankfully, too tired to do any more research