Happy New Year.
I love New Year’s, as I love early mornings. For its promise and possibility. For its quiet reflection. For its gift of a blank slate. But I also love it for being a secular holiday we can all enjoy. For inspiring a common greeting we exchange on days like this when we allow our eyes to meet in passing. An acknowledgment, however brief, that we’re on this same earth, that we’re in it together–a shared understanding that we begin something new. A subtle shift in our collective consciousness. I’ve perennially had a personal challenge to offer ‘happy new year’ greetings as long as I can, and at least until February 1. To somehow perpetuate this common language. (I have yet to succeed.)
I’m writing this in the first hushed hours of this brand new year. Beginning with words. The thread that ties together all our days and connects us one to another.
I often take note of the first words spoken in the new year, as I did those spoken to each of my children upon his entry into the world–as if they should carry some significance. As if they should relay some fundamental truth. Invariably, I muck it up with something mundane. But maybe that’s how it should be.
Like this New Year’s. As mundane as they come. Just the three boys and me, home alone. Dance parties in the den as the sun goes down. Acting silly as only we can, and only with each other. Watermelon and chocolate for dessert. Skipped baths and seven books before bed. A late night made later by jet lag. I rest the baby in his crib: “Goodnight, dearest G. I love you. Sweet dreams.” Whispered last words of the year. Except he uncharacteristically cries out, jet-lagged too, and joins us for stories. Three boys vie for a spot on my lap. We read and sing. I put the baby down for bed once more. Tired, I let my “big” boys tuck me in for a change. They flit around my room, exploring stacks of boring papers, drafting a list of activities for the next day, drunk with freedom. Then they climb into bed with me and drift off to sleep.
Maybe the mundane is the most memorable.
I ended last year with my first piece on Literary Mama, exploring Why We Write.
And I begin this new year in one of Jena Schwartz’s wonderful online writing groups, with daily prompts that unlock the thoughts in my head and usher them onto the page.
Come February, I will participate in one of Dani Shapiro’s writing workshops.
And so we begin again. With words. With each other. We break through the silence of this blank page.
Happy New Year.
It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. – Vita Sackville-West
I’m writing in the dark, slow and steady…because my kids are young and underfoot, and that’s how it has to be, for now. – Dana Schwartz
The goal is to allow the written word to connect with your original mind, to write down the first thought you flash on, before the second and third thoughts come in. – Natalie Goldberg
That’s it in a nutshell — wondering, asking “what if”, allowing your mind and imagination to wander. – Lara Anderson
Writing… is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. – E.L. Doctorow
Writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone. – Rebecca Solnit
It is the job of the writer to say, look at that. To point. To shine a light. But it isn’t that which is already bright and beckoning that needs our attention. We develop our sensitivity…in order to bear witness to what is. – Dani Shapiro
…writing is a way to stand still and recognize time, a way to find out just when and where I am. – Alisa Brownlow