31 December 2007
2007 started hard, in sadness and worry, and in some ways it stayed hard. Some disappointments, some hopes dead and others deferred. But those aren’t the biggest kind of hard: I didn’t lose my home, my partner, my mind or my life. So perhaps it’s better to think of it as a learning year. (Oh goody, another learning experience. As a wise lad named Calvin once said, I feel smarter already.)
Well… I’m not sure I’m smarter, but a little wiser about some things. Maybe a little more of a grownup.
A lot of 2007 has been trudge-trudge-trudge a little further down the road of adulthood — Lookee here, missus! Responsibility! Fewer easy answers! Sucking it up! Come get some of this wacky adult fun before we run out…. But in spite of that, okay, fine, maybe because of it, I feel better, more clear, younger than I used to. I’m a little less likely to just take people’s bullshit, and I’m also a little more likely to let the small stuff slide, which can turn into a pretty interesting moment of choice when someone’s bullshit is about the small stuff.
I feel a little more free.
And so that makes this hard year a good year.
Every New Year’s Eve, Nicola and I buy the best bottle of champagne we can afford (which varies pretty spectacularly sometimes, but this year is lovely — Alfred Gratien Millésime 1997). We prepare a meal (prepare is a relative term that includes everything from cooking five courses to running out for Indian takeaway, and by the way Indian food is great with champagne). We eat and drink and talk about the year that’s ending and the year ahead. We don’t make resolutions, we make dreams and visions and goals.
One of mine, this time last year, was to feel more like a writer. Not just to have written, but to be more rigorous and more honest. To dig deeper, be more brave. To work harder. And to write things even if I know I can’t, even if I know I’m not good enough or honest enough or brave enough. To suck it up and do it again.
And so I did. In 2007 I wrote a screenplay and a novella that make me fizz — both of them more quickly, more rigorously, than I have written in ages, in spite of the sadness and worry and various fucking grownup responsibilities. It’s the year I started a (second, original) screenplay with an opening scene that makes me wiggle, it’s so cool. The year I came up with a master plan for conquering Hollywood. The year a real live editor asked me to write a young adult novel, and I began to find young people in my head with some things to do and say, some big feelings to feel, some life to live. It’s the year I taught Clarion West and was privileged to work with an amazing group of writers: I think I helped a few of them, and I know they helped me. 2007 is the year I gave myself back to writing, and now I feel like a writer again. Who knew it could be so easy (huge laughter here….).
This year I started going dancing again. I reconnected with old friends. Nicola published her amazing memoir and began writing an even more amazing novel (more about it on her myspace blog). And she began some other stuff that I feel unexpectedly deeply hopeful about, but it’s her stuff so that’s all I’m saying about it, except that it’s both hard and good to feel hope.
This hard year has been a good year. I’m grateful to it, and I’m glad to see it go. Addio, 2007. In 2008, I look forward to hopes realized, dreams lived, hard work, good times, and doing more than I think I can. Bring it on.
My very best to you for whatever you want from the new year. May it come to you in joy.