We’ve all seen posts griping about long lines at the grocery store, hand-sanitizer and toilet paper shortages, resource hoarding and general lack of empathy and understanding. The news is no better. It’s a constant stream of anxiety-inducing updates on confirmed cases of COVID-19, death tolls, the plunging stock market and temporary closures or suspended services.
But perhaps the most surprising thing to come out of this – something the disaster movies missed the mark on – is the human ability to seek levity in the face of imminent disaster.
Last year, I waxed poetic about whether New Year’s resolutions were doomed to fail.
This year, I want to suggest we throw out resolutions entirely. Resolutions are so 2019; 2020 is all about Setting Your Intentions.
What’s the difference, you might ask? Well, Intentions focus on the process, while Resolutions focus on the outcome. If we vow to run a marathon, but only manage a half-marathon, instead of feeling pride for the strides we’ve made, we feel let-down. This year, why not take joy in our accomplishments instead?
It’s almost a cliche at this point. The writer staring a blinking cursor in a blank Word document or at an untouched sheet of paper, unable to go on. And while many claim to have writer’s block, it’s sort of like claiming you’re haunted by the ghost of an 18th-century apple scrumper. There’s nothing to prove you aren’t possessed by a barefoot French urchin boy in a neighboring fruit orchard, but nothing to prove you are either. In other words – it’s all in your head.
Ahhh, the new year. A time, when we all collectively rush out to buy gym memberships we will use for a month and pay for for the next eleven. I’m completely guilty of rushing headlong into resolutions – like a bull charging a red cape. And surprise! – that cape continually gets yanked out of reach – until even looking at the color red makes me feel guilty and annoyed. Studies show that only 8% percent of people keep their resolutions, which begs the question: Are we doomed to fail?
Ezekiel Yusuf Moran is 99 years old. He has been many things in his near-century of life – a son, a farmer, a friend, a lover, a doctor, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a homeopath, a soldier and a French Résistance fighter. But most of all, Ezekiel has been a seeker. Continue reading “Ezekiel: A novel by John Fanning”→
Look at the light through the windowpane. That means it’s noon, that means we’re inconsolable. Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us. These, our bodies, possessed by light. Tell me we’ll never get used to it.
– Richard Siken, Scheherazade
We’re getting older. We’ve had our hearts broken. We’ve broken bones. We’ve bet on the wrong horse or man or woman. We made a poor investment along the way. We lost something important. We wasted time or money or energy on the wrong people. We’re all a little more fragile now, a little more careful. Curiosity is a trait we most associate with children or cats.
Writing and creating art are most often solitary experiences – hours spent staring at blank computer screens or pieces of paper or canvas – time spent trying to find the right words or colors. Time, largely spent, in our own minds. But we don’t have to – and shouldn’t – create within a bubble! Most art is made within a community, with support from family and friends, with sage advice from mentors, with the occasional self-help book. If you’re having trouble getting started or finishing a project, here are some books that will help.