One word for the New Year.

December 30, 2017 § 6 Comments

 

Growing up, New Year’s Eve meant eating chili on the couch, watching the ball drop, and each of us declaring to my mother (the family scribe) our New Year’s resolutions.

All were recorded in an innocuous notebook with a cover the color of dried peas.

If we didn’t make them for ourselves, she did. My father’s made-for-him resolution every year? Lose ten pounds.

Mine was usually to be less scatter-brained.

Looking at that book I see one made in high school, definitely by me: to sing as well as Judy Collins.

No one in the family lived up to those vows, no matter who had made them. From the get-go I knew this was a system that broke down somewhere between plan and execution.

But after leaving home I still made resolutions in a notebook of my own:

Write 25 songs, paint the living room, finish the novel.

The resolutions are numbered and everything.

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The Great Christmas Dispensation.

December 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

Welcome to the blessed season of the universal excuse:

“I won’t be able to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________ because it’s Christmas.”

We fabricate and tender excuses all year long. I won’t be able to _________ because I am getting married.

I have the flu.

My car broke down.

My kid is sick.

Even when our excuse is legitimate, we feel as if we are shirking, because all around us the hum of busy people doing busy things reminds us that we are not keeping up!

Except at Christmas.

If we can resist the urge to wrap everything in sight in shiny paper, resist the premise that love requires lavish gift giving.  If we can recognize the act of kindness on the part of the calendar and a long ago birth, we can, all of us together…

take a deep breath…

and look around as if we have just awakened from a relentless, whirring dream.

Because we have. « Read the rest of this entry »

What you wish for.

December 2, 2017 § 4 Comments

Be careful what you wish for is the familiar saying.

It is a pessimist’s warning, delivered with a frown.

Getting what you wish for is sure to disappoint!

Or bite you on the butt.

You’re better off with the known, the as-is, the just-okay.

But that doesn’t stop us from wishing for the long shot, the impossible, the rainbow. It is why we buy a lottery ticket.

We spend hours imagining what isn’t, and often what can never be.

But why?

Perhaps we are testing the boundary between the possible and the impossible. Maybe that line is chalk, and maybe it can be scuffed out with the sole of a sneaker, a new one drawn in. Who knows?

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