It’s the turn of the year, the time to put on the Janus mask and look back at where we’ve been and ahead to where we hope to go. Behind us lie our surprising successes and inevitable disappointments, our moments of unexpected grace and life’s perpetual foot on our necks. The whole catastrophe. But glory hidden inside it all, if we know how and when and where to look. And that’s what an arbitrary calendar date can help us do. Name specifically what happened the last 365 days and what we still dream of for the next 365.
This blog has served both as a way for me to remember what happened and trumpet forth my vision of what I still hope to happen. It was birthed almost three years ago and since then, I’ve posted 696 entries, attracted 113 Followers and received 69, 210 page views. Like any writer, I’m sometimes besieged with doubt: “Why am I doing this? Do I have anything worthwhile to say? Does anyone really care to read it?” Like any writer, the answers are somewhat irrelevant. The writing comes from some inside need that defies questioning, a practice of shaping the world through language, using words as the mirrors that reflect experience and define vision and with the extra pleasure that someone somewhere might be reading it and responding. “Yes!” “Hmm.” “Is he crazy?” Doesn’t matter so much what reaction, just the pleasure of keeping a conversation going.
No question that certain themes come up again and again and sometimes to the point of boring myself or the reader with “that again?” The challenge is to keep saying the same thing over and over again but in different ways. Same as the composer using the same 12 notes or the jazz improviser working through Body and Soul for the 1,000th time. It’s a healthy practice and yes, many times, it misses the right notes or repeats the same old riff, but the glory is in the attempt.
And what precisely are these themes? Mostly praise and it’s cousin, outrage. Praising the power of art, the beauty of music, the astonishing souls of young children and equally old folks and the winning combination of all those souls meeting art. Speaking on behalf of the wondrous things that have small voices in this loud, shouting, electronically amplified world, bearing witness to the things that Fox News doesn’t cover and can’t be bought at WalMart, tuning the ear to those tender notes buried under screaming guitars, testifying to the God and gods that stay away from TV Evangelists and deluded dogmas.
I suppose my goals, such as they are, are the same as when I first wrote them in the ABOUT ME paragraph on the right— to simultaneously enjoy the world as it is and help change it to the something better it might be. I wish the same for us all as the old year turns the corner to 2014. May it be so!