The turning of a calendar is arbitrary and perhaps an odd time to be making assessments, although there is no bad time to take stock and decide whether everything is on track and moving along on plan. For that matter, birthdays work for this purpose, too, the passing of a year being complete with a full journey around the sun measured and filed away.
Being born on the first day of spring, more or less, has its advantages, as I have always had three-quarters of a year to prepare for the coldest and harshest time of the journey through the cycle of seasons. Or is my assessment that winter is the most unpleasant time simply my perception because of when I was born? Do December babies love winter? Do we always love our first season the most? Have I just solved Ray Bradbury’s love of late summer and fall – Ray, who was born Aug. 22?
Last year I resolved to write a short story a week, a la Bradbury, an exercise that survived perhaps 10 weeks. It did result in Chapter One of what I consider my best idea in a while, the Comfort & Joy Detective Agency, although even that has stalled after that one chapter like so many of my projects. I have struggled with stick-to-it-iveness, which is why my journals have become my most successful writing project: I have done some scribbling almost every morning for almost four years now, contemplating goals and issues and navels, tossing out fragments of story and imagery.
Some of those fragments and observations have appeared here, some of them have been transcribed into still-unfinished projects. Here’s one from New Year’s Eve, this past Monday:
“You’re finished,” she said. “So celebrate.”
“That sounds so final,” he said nervously. “Like I’m finished, so it’s time to die. I want to call this new year My Year of Finishing, but to me that makes it sound like ‘this will be the day that I die’ or something.”
“Can I point something out?” she said. “The man who wrote the song with the refrain, ‘This will be the day that I die,’ lived to write the song. Last I looked, he was still alive almost 50 years on.”
“Oh yeah,” he said, now sheepish. “OK, then: 2019 will be My Year of Finishing.”