I suppose it's possible to go from one year to the next without reflection, without stopping to pause, or catch a breath -- but that's how we spend so many of our days, right? So why not make a big deal about this threshold?
When I was a freshman in college I wrote out T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets in longhand and pasted them to the walls of my room. That's just to explain how the 'L' for loser got tatooed on my forehead -- I like to think by Homecoming I had covered it all up with beer posters, but I can't remember because of all the medical weed my doctor prescribed. What I do like is that the words hit me as deeply now as they ever did. There's a certain pleasure in that.
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
:: T.S. Eliot – Little Gidding ( from Four Quartets) ::
I'm all about the words right now. They give me comfort as I drop old beliefs, etc that no longer serve because it can be tempting to try and head into the new year without shucking off the dead skin of all that we need to leave behind -- I mean, who wants to go into the unknown pink-skinned and exposed -- except newborn babes, obvs-- the fools.
“Don’t be afraid to be a fool.
Remember, you cannot be both young and wise.
Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no.
But saying yes begins things.
Saying yes is how things grow.
Saying yes leads to knowledge.
"Yes" is for young people.
So for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.”
:: Stephen Colbert – from his commencement address to Knox College (2006) ::
“There’s a certain freedom to do whatever I want to do, which I guess is the definition of being an artist.” – Maira Kalman (from Creative Mornings)
ohhhh Maira. I think I'm gonna just sit back and think on that.
May your new year be a fresh start coupled with old favorites.
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