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Saturday, December 29, 2018

At the threshold of years: a few resolutions

Caspar David Friedrich, A Dreamer
Wikipedia Commons

Merry 5th day of Christmas and Happy New Year,
with some thoughts, hopes, and plans for the coming year...
  • Turn in two final book manuscripts.
  • Continue running the Christ Church Cooperstown women's group another year--next up, a book discussion about the curious medieval document, The Cloude of Unknowyng. (Last year, there was one book event--Buechner's Godric.) Figure out some more wild outings and events and workshops, often arts-related.
  • Send out at least one poetry manuscript. 
  • Do some work for Fr. James Krueger's meditation retreat Mons Nubifer Sanctus in Lake Delaware with my friend Laurie, now that we're both on the board.
  • Read more. 2018 was a bad year for reading because I was stretched a bit too thin. I want to read more classical writers and also some of the early Christian mystical writers. More poetry and stories. And the stack of unread novels.
  • Make like a tree and put forth green leaves. Drink from deep sources.
  • Work on that odd idea for a new novel. Secret, of course.
  • Improve my health to avoid losing months to illness...
  • Skip blurbing other people's books for at least a year (because I couldn't manage those commitments in 2018.)
  • Keep up with volunteering because that is, well, right. (If you're not entirely happy with your life, try volunteering in various sorts of places--you find out that you receive a great deal more than you give.)
  • Mess around with collecting the stories.
  • Remember love one another, and that I can't transform the world but can be transformed--and that such a thing does budge the world a tiny bit. We are each rather tiny...
  • Be a responsive mother, wife, daughter, friend. That's a goal for every year.
  • Be grateful that I live in a warm house in a cold climate, that the lights and plumbing work, that peace mostly reigns in my country, and that I manage to keep getting requests for book manuscripts even though I haven't bent the knee to the gods of publishing and marketing in the various helpful but unclean ways possible.
  • Prune my book collection so that the second story of my 1808 house doesn't fall into the first, organize my manuscripts, and clean my hodgepodge writing room.
  • Don't run after what the culture declares as valuable. Sink into what matters and what lasts.
  • Laugh and be joyful. Frolic with that curious secret society known under various names, including The Bread and Cheese Club.
  • Don't ever tell your deepest, most glowing resolutions in such a silly thing as a blog post!
Make liminal wishes...


  1. At 83 you don't make resolutions. You imagine they will be made for you by a higher, horse-mounted power. Instead you ask questions. Will I go to the grave as a simulacrum of the near-lifesize poster in the doctor's surgery - the human nervous system with the inflamed bits coloured red? Any chance I'll tap into that curious energy I seem to have lost and add another 20,000 words to the MS of Rictangular Lenses? Am I really in love with Lindsay, the anti-hero of RL? Why on earth did I compose this:

    Sonnet – Ecstasy but not quite

    “Keep a light hopeful heart.
    But expect the worst.”
    Joyce Carol Oates

    When was the best time? I get asked,
    Assuming from my face of lumps and lines,
    That joy and confidence have long since passed
    And, like a cowpat, left dull dreck behind.

    The Sun replies it’s surely yet to come,
    Recalling what he’s read on calendars;
    Childbirth is often cited as the plum
    By those who covet middle-class applause.

    Not yet, the realist says, nor is it due,
    No best, no better, only similar.
    It’s where you’re standing in the righteous queue,
    Prate prophets reading from apocrypha.

    For me it comes and goes as clarity
    When something newish fits exquisitely.

    Should I spemd more than $10 a shot on haircuts? After my romanic nose my burst-cushion mop is oft inspected at Tesco.

    You know the sort of stuff.

  2. Drat. Google ate my long, thoughtful comment.


    83. Hmm. B3 for energy, is it? B3 for 83? I can't recall, and I'm only 65!

    Though it is quite amusing and apt (maybe for Auden in old age! or Maud Gonne! those wonderful wrinkles), I do not find your face in the dark mirror of a cowpat. And I think that how I read the poem (that is, in several different ways) is entirely dependent on whether I believe that your realist is, in fact, a realist. This could be a riposte to Browning of "grow old along with me, / The best is yet to be." And there's a fleck of Donne's busy old Sun, still annoying the poets but for a different reason now.

    That's all you get, since the officious 'net has eaten my earlier comments and I must be away! Good cheer despite all--merry 6th day of Christmas!

  3. thank you for the list, dear Marly! Hmm, secret odd idea for a novel??! I'm on tenterhooks.
    Wishing you a bright and sparkling slide into the new year (as they say in Germany)! ♪ ♫ ♪♪♪

    1. Might be a good idea. Might be stupid! Shall stew longer...

      Thank you for the sparkling slide!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.