Auld Lang Syne

Saturday, December 31, 2011

and another year slips off into the fog

This is it, folks: 2011 is waning and 2012 is waxing. I have to admit that I am not so sad to see 2011 go and I must say I do love January. January, the month of my birth and a nice month to fold in and gain strength for another year. I enjoy beginning new projects and taking a long look at where I've been that got me to where I am.

I am not a big ringer-in of the New Year in the commercial sense. I think New Year's Eve is a pretty plastic and commercial event. People spend too much on too much food, eat and drink to excess, and drive themselves to dangerousness on slick roads. People feel bad if they have no one to kiss at midnight. Some folks decide to end it all rather than face another year of whatever they've been facing. Nope. Not for me at all. I like to stay in, write the final poem of the year, reflect, regroup, re-energize. I actually went to bed at 715 last night in preparation for this. My eldest daughter is here from CA (she is cooking tonight's meal) and her only child (grandson who goes to college in NH) and his girlfriend, and our eldest grandson is here too. He moved in with us in late September. We will hopefully play a board game or two and maybe watch a movie. I may stay in my jammies all day. I will kiss my hubby at midnight (he will be asleep) and will call our kids out west. It will be 9 PM there but maybe the grandkids will be up. All in all, I anticipate a sweet low-key evening.

BUT... I have a task. I must write the final poem of 2011 before midnight. When will I do it? Usually the poem is done sometime between 10 PM and midnight. I will pay attention all day today for just the right moment. Then, after midnight, I will write the first poem of 2012. I will feel good about both. I will check off another pair of poems that link the years.

As another year slips off into the fog (literally), I feel blessed to be alive, to have reasonable health, and to have a mind that won't rest. I am grateful to be a writer, to be a person with something to say. I thank my parents for putting me on this planet with much to do. I am thankful that I am never bored. I am thankful for my family, with all its warts and wonders. I am thankful for my husband who is the one person in this world who comes the closest to really "knowing" me. He pays attention, and is right there whenever I am in need of support and encouragement, and in times when I need to be reeled in a bit. What a guy! My poem, Polaris, says it all:


On our January porch, hands

open to starshine, we are pierced

by Polaris. It's a stigmata I feel

as my right palm presses

your right palm, fingers laced.

It's a burning, a covenant. Later

in our bedroom, some shine

on your shoulder where I touch

as you drift into your own night

sky. We have been pierced

by starpoints, filled with light.

We sail on it, I your compass, true

North, and you my lantern

and flame, tower and beam.

I wrote this for him in 2010.

So what am I looking ahead to for 2012? Here's a quick tenner:

1. reducing, reusing, recycling with a verve!

2. getting the laundry room finished (we are some trim and a step and a door from done) and make the pantry a reality (paint, shelves, organize and move pots and pans to that space)

3. finishing my novel

4. finding a home for my manuscripts (The Boyfriend Project and Psalms From the Commons)

5. embarking on the Wilbur study and reading/writing on it every day

6. becoming more physically fit

7. going to the beach at least 10 times this summer

8. the annual reorganization of my book shelves

9. writing physical letters to my grandkids

10. calling far away friends once a week (pick a friend, call)

I think this is a reasonable list. Most things on it rely upon my ability to stay on target. #4 is a matter of send out and pray.

#2 is not exactly up to me. The pantry part has some jobs for me, but the laundry room not so much. I have curtains to do out there, but depend on Domenic to finish the rest.

I would add a reading component to the list as there are a few books here which are as yet untouched or partially read. So if I had #11, it would be to read them.

I guess #12 might be something about being a better blogger. Oh yes, I am doing ok in this regard, but not daily which was my original plan. Will try to do better.

And on that note, as my tea is nearly done, I will depart to the real world and begin the winding down and winding up that is New Year's Eve.

Blessings to all of you. Bring a friend or more to the blog!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winding Down and Gearing Up

2011, for good or ill, is winding down. It is a time for me to reassess what has happened or not during one year before moving on to the next year. I wonder how many writers do this kind of ruminating. As a poet, my assessments take on a more formal approach. I write the last poem of the year on December 31st late in the evening (obviously I am not a "party hearty" kind of NYE celebrator). I let my mind roam about in the year and something strikes me as interesting enough that I ought to write about it. I've been doing this for 13 years now. It is never the case (so far) where I feel burdened by this writing. I look forward to it for days. I am already pretty jazzed at the prospect. I take myself to a space (physical space) with my laptop and write. Funny that it is my laptop not a notebook. I have tried with a notebook and there is not the same sense of immediacy.

Once the final poem of a year is done (now this is just a DRAFT; I do go back and revise) I get to the business of writing the first poem of the new year. Most often this poem is written only a few hours later, often no longer than an hour or so after the year begins. What is so interesting to me about this little "habit of writing" is the complete switch the poems identify. I thought the closer together they were written, the closer they'd be in tone, subject, approach, even form (or lack thereof). This has simply not been the case over the decade + that I've been doing it. Befuzzling. (like that word? It's my creation.) Is there really a total mind shift that happens? Is the new year so NEW that my head is new too? I think so.

I am working slowly toward a collection of these poems, called at this point "End to End." I think the concept is interesting, though maybe not as interesting as my "Boyfriend Project." (More on that one later as I am determined to get that put together and sent out in 2012, along with finishing my novel. So much to write!)

Back to my winding down and gearing up:

I also try to reorganize my office, reorganizing the shelves as a major part of that work. I like to consider new ways to put my books and supplies in order. I went with alphabetizing last year though I have found that doesn't last. I am such a "stacker" and so hasty when I need a book that I am out of alphabetized state rather quickly and don't know where ANYTHING is. Grrr. So this time I am thinking of going with categories as my organizing principle. Books ABOUT in one section, poetry anthologies in another, male poets in another, women poets in yet another. Random books that fit into none of those categories in another. My own books and journals in which my poems appear are in a bookcase downstairs where visitors can find them.

I'd like to get rid of extraneous supplies. I just cannot seem to do it. I want to put a comfy chair in my office but if I did that, I'd have to get rid of my supplies cabinets. Do I really NEED all those things? Maybe not. Might be a bigger project than I want to tackle. I will need a burst of energy coupled with courage to take that on anytime soon. I'd like to make my spare room into a dressing room for myself, but where would I put my guests? My hubby and I have a 4 bedroom house and only 2 of those are useable as bedrooms. We each have an office. Why? Could we find a way to share? Not at this point. We share a printer (located in my office) and a wireless network (equipment also in my office). Why can we not be in the same space? Clutter and memorabilia is the big reason. His office is very messy. It is also the dumping ground for whatever we don't know where to put... grrr. Are we THAT disorganized or do we just have too much STUFF? Yes to both though the latter is more the case.

This brings me around to the books. I hate to get rid of books. Seems like abandoning a child or leaving a puppy in the woods or along the road. Having said that, I do recycle fiction and nonfiction to our local bookstore: hello, hello books. I get book credit to buy MORE BOOKS when I do that. I like this plan, keeping books literally circulating like a wonderfully bizarre library. So now I will look at the books on my shelves and see which ones can fly out of here after the new year when Lacy is taking books again. I also share my books with friends and schools when they are absolutely done living here in my house. I recently got several copies of my favorite poet's best collection (used, in good shape of course) and these became Christmas/Chanukka presents. I like the idea of my poet friends having these poems so we can discuss and share our ideas about Wilbur's poems.

I guess I'd be remiss in this blog if I failed to address the clothing situation. I have too many in too many sizes. I don't like many of them either. I feel frumpy sometimes. I feel uncomfortable in many of them. Time to go through and be ruthless in my closet. Ought to do that before 2012 happens. Maybe tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day. Hmmmm....... where have I heard that? Did I give away or trade that book for poetry?

Happy end of 2011 and a prosperously inked 2012 to all!

Carol, the cluttered poet