On this last day of 2013 I am weary of new year’s resolutions – you know those promises we make to ourselves that have a shelf-life of twenty minutes – sixty if I’m lucky. I awoke this morning considering the flexibility of certainty – the same type of certainty that has always been ascribed to death and taxes.
What follows are the few things that have proven true – for me in 2013.
What I know:
I know that I expect decency in ostensibly educated people and am sorely disappointed when decency becomes a foreign country these individuals are afraid to visit. And one would think that after a few years of this forehead-slapping frustration I would know better but…
I know that truth is an illusive landscape that when strung together with imaginative prose can provide cascades of honesty regarding the human condition. I’m sure it’s called good fiction and until I am told differently I’ll go with that.
I know that memory can be resistant to logic. A sweltering heat can rise from this terrain erasing any tragedy in the offing. Reality is the thief; the mugger in the dark, “hand over your memories and no one gets hurt.”
I know that as tragedy strikes good friends, I am left in awe of the strength that can reside in the human heart. A heart so rent with grief that one fears for the possessor of this roughed-up organ. But no, it is as if internal forces dedicated to battle appear overnight to slay grief in its cradle.
I know I will never sing as well as I’d like to. I have a lovely, talented friend from high school who possesses a beautiful, forceful voice. She has sung her way around the world and now for reasons (she believes) stronger than her voice she says she will not sing again. This makes me sad. I am one who has had many dreams of opening my mouth and having some beautiful, if not tuneful, music exit. I used to like the idea of karaoke but I’m afraid of being seen as part of the legion of the sad, unfulfilled and lonely lip-synchers moaning about lost loves, chances, and continence.
I know that youth is what sticks even when we go unrecognized at our reunions.
I know that a good memory can be a serious design flaw
I know now that some song lyrics mean different things depending on the amount wine ingested.
I know that some songs only make sense after three glasses of wine which is too bad when two glasses is all one can tolerate.
I know there are drinks (famous writers/drinkers of hard liquor have told me) one can order by fingers – like ordering two fingers of desire to open one’s emotional house, a brief and tragic three dimensional cut-a-way: here I am at my desk, that’s me tossing and turning in my stone sleep, there I am turned away from prying eyes – my face unrecognizable – even by those who love me. Wine is my vehicle of choice as I search under the weight of desire?
I know that living in the past can be an addiction; the monkey on one’s back that pushes us beyond mirrors and reality; that cruel beast that wraps his hand around the slender stem of that third glass of moscato – too sweet to do any good.
And lastly –
I know too that, even as it seems our souls are sewn from the same cloth, they are held together with a mere thread of memories; a heartbreaking slight-of-hand that can bind us to decency or doom.
i feel as though i am crawling towards the finish line of this year my friend. my writing this year has been sporadic, and i have struggled to stay optimistic after some heartaches. But I do know this ~ maybe you don’t like how you sing. But when you write, my dear Gwen, your words sing and ring true. Your insistence on truth and your devotion to what is right, courageous, and true, stir a song in my heart. And that, is the truth. Happy new year, Gwen.
Kate, thanks so much for hearing music in my writing. I’m having trouble trying to envision you NOT being optimistic. I am sure optimism is laying low – maybe out for the evening. Whenever I need a reason to just BELIEVE I think of you. If anyone can make some sense of heartache it is you. All the best to you and yours in the year to come.