Tuesday, December 30, 2008

new year; or, beginning again, again, again

It is soon to be a new year.


I am most likely not alone when I offer the declaration that"2008 was a bad year." I will have less accompaniment when I say this very bad year followed closely upon the bedraggled heels of yet another bad year, and the voices are likely to become even fewer when I say that one trailed behind another horrid year. In truth, I might be alone when I say that I would have to begin counting in leap years in order to find a good one. I am sage enough to note that when bad years become epidemic it might not be the fault of time or calendars, but perhaps the blame should be laid a bit closer to home.

This writing thing has become hard. I don't know if I am protecting myself from you or from me. But, introspection is difficult when you don't like what you hear. In years past I avowed change, betterment, and a nietzchian dismantling of self, and for the most part that has been my life. While I may count my past years as horrid, I can not count them as wasted. I have accomplished much and I think that considering how much I have demanded of myself, I do believe I have delivered. But just as a phoenix should not have to answer for itself as it is moulting, so too, I realize that this may not be the best time for self reflection. It is too difficult of an accounting, this one, as 2008 was the ultimate dismantling. In my on going struggle to become, I have done more than just prune this year, I have cut myself into pieces.

Some of these losses are permanent, some temporary. I have left the path to the PhD in American Literature and with that I have lost the rosy dream of a shared office on faculty row, a 4/4 teaching load, a yearly paper on Sarah Orne Jewett, a Volvo station wagon, the ivory tower, and an overly caffeinated reading of the latest Cormac McCarthy. I have given up my personal independence to live in a house that is not my own in order to pay off debts: fiduciary and physical. I have given up my social life in order to rest. I have cut so deeply that I feel hollow. I worry that I may have nicked something vital.

The part of me that has always been the voice of hope is pushing me with an optimism that I can not longer remember to make this last bit a glass half-full; something with a rising note that makes me and you think that all will be well. But, that voice with its pretty words about rebirth, wings, and discarded ashes is hollow this year and is easily quieted. I want to write about spring, I really do, but I cannot forget that it is only January after all.

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