I will miss 2016. I will miss my son being 16/17, and my daughter not yet being 25. Every age my children have passed through has been my favorite. In 2016, my sixth novel was published. I worked on some special projects with remarkable writers. I saw New Orleans for the very first time. The best part is that I made several new friends and deepened friendships I have with others. I spent Christmas with my parents. And I celebrated being married for twenty-six years to my best friend.
There’s a hymn called Brighten the Corner Where You Are (I only just now found out it’s a hymn–I knew it first as a title to a Fred Chappell book). I don’t know the words to the hymn, but I love the title. It’s a reminder that we don’t have control over much in the world, but we can have an enormous, positive effect on the people and places around us. Our sphere of influence may feel small, but everything we touch with kindness and caring and attention within it will radiate that care, and, in turn, affect others. The world is not a gentle place, and if we leave ourselves constantly open to its vagaries and pains (social media, I’m looking at you!), it will suck our energy and our happiness away for no good thing at all. Focus on the space around you, the people around you. Dare to grow that space, inch by inch, touch by touch, person by person.
A few years ago, I followed the example of another writer and came up with a word to describe the coming new year. (I don’t remember the year, but I think the word was patience.) I hadn’t given it any thought this year until a few hours ago, and the word came to me because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot: Enough.
To get prosaic:
Enough food. Enough things. Enough time. Enough sleep. Enough patience. Enough ambition. Enough love. Enough touch. Enough friends. Enough flowers. Enough words. Enough stories. Enough new experiences.
I’m excited to know what will be enough. Enough has no minimum and no limits. It doesn’t have to be pre-determined. It happens anytime. All the time. I look forward to it sneaking up on me. Surprising me.
I am full of hope for the coming year, and want to savor its unfolding. Who knows if it will be happy or tumultuous or sad or trying or outrageous or silly. Bring it on, I say.
Here’s to surprises. Here’s to you, and the New Year!
December 31 Numbers:
Journal: 385 words
Long Fiction: 158 words
Short Fiction: 0 words
Non-Fiction: 0 words
Exercise: 45 minutes, treadmill