I always tend to get a little sad after the holidays, in the quiet hammock between Christmas and New Years Eve. This year it has been wonderful: big, crusty loft all to ourselves (recently cleaned), surprise overnights and dinners out, breaking back into tango (slowly, arduously), and sleeping more than six hours at a stretch. I am healthy. The people I love are mostly healthy. The people I love mostly love me back.
Christmas was a patchwork blanket: twinkle lights and jelly jars, christmas carols blasted through an empty building (the hipsters all gone home to townships north, to Connecticut and Westchester), a nine course feast prepared, a party for the orphans and the jews. Whisky, flaming pudding, new traditions, and charades. The whole house smelled of rosemary for days.
Thinking back on calendar year two-thousand-twelve, the year the Mayans stopped their counting, I come up with: a semester, a summer, a semester. Friends made, friends lost, another few tens of thousands drawn against the bank. Another several dozen books stacked on the shelf.
I will look back on this (somewhere ages and ages hence) and it will be my golden age. Poised on the brink of thirty, everywhere a possibility. Old enough to know better, still young enough to try. Eating grad school pizza, drinking my tuition in 6 oz. plastic cups of grad school wine.
And there is the writing. All told, 218 pages this semester, plus 14 pages of translation. Of that, about seventy-five percent belonging to the tango book, or my presumptive thesis, coming in at just over 45,590 words. The last two weeks away from it have been a mercy.
And then this quote, from Betsy Lerner:
“The only real difference that I have been able to quantify between those who ultimately make their way as writers and those who quit is that the former were able to contain their ambivalence long enough to commit to a single idea and see it through.”
The world didn’t end December 21st, but I imagine given Newtown, earthquakes, hurricanes, and civil war, it could end any day. We have this hour and not much more.
So that’s my project for the coming year. Commitment. To friends, to love, to auld lang syne. To living well, to honesty, politeness on the MTA. To writing this one thing until it’s good or done. To being thankful for the fact of spending almost every waking hour each week either reading books or writing them. And that ain’t bad.