A Year in Three Parts

Part I: Writing. It is as pervasive a part of my life as sleeping and my morning coffee routine. I’m nearly always doing it. You are probably too. The little notes on the yellow squares stuck to the refrigerator reminding you to buy milk or pick-up the dry cleaning or some such banal domestic necessity. LinkedIn posts, Instagram, though not Facebook or Twitter – if either of those aren’t obvious you can DM me and I’ll explain in agonizing length my reasoning. My name must be penned on countless documents daily, though perhaps that’s an over exaggeration. I could count them if that was something I was inclined to do. I am more a stater of numbers than a counter of them. Then there are the blog posts like this one, and of course the writing, or writing again of that blessed book of mine. I am not cursing it. I do in fact believe that it will give blessed voice to this wealth building issue in the timeliness of times when rights are diminishing instead of getting heavy with possibility.

Writing – my year has been a blur of letters dancing on and off the page, a mosh pit of violent activity when I am begging them to perform a waltz. Such is the life of a writer awaiting the one perfect en pointe, the words dancing in balance. Grace, grit and sophistication forming a paragraph nothing short of reverent, the final footfall the exclamation point that keeps you practicing the art.

Part II: Reading. One cannot expect to be a good writer if one is not a good reader. Some of the most successful writers say so, and while I hadn’t given it much thought before “they” made mention of it, I have mostly enjoyed reading except when I didn’t. That is to say before I wrangled my dyslexic brain into subservience and before I gave up trying to hold my head perfectly still and let my eyes do all the work – before then, and when I was forced albeit unsuccessfully to read about military warfare for my political science coursework – a real snoozer that I never got through and almost prevented me from graduating. Thankfully between, Peter my Super Salad co-working and Foreign Relations Graduate student, and the active duty Army Infantry Officer that also served as a Bartender, pouring me hard cider’s, post shift, at Conran’s while imparting his real war experiences, I graduated. Aside from that I have enjoyed reading for pleasure and edification and I offer these books as some of my favorite of this past year.

Part III: Travel. I pack a suitcase as often as a mother packs lunches for her kids during a school year. Between house flipping, visits to the Cape and jaunts to visit friends or rendez-vous in European destinations, I travel – a lot. The first half of my year kept me closer to home as “home” was more temporary. The Troy had its conveniences which I have grown to appreciate in real time. Among them, parking on the roof of the building. The spot is always there, waiting for me, no matter the time of my return, which is a very nice feature of a place. Second, I could throw out the trash, just three doors down from my unit, whenever I wanted. I did not have to wait for a designated day or two to dispose of it. I love throwing things away so this feature of high-rise living is lovely. The Butterfly App which granted access to the package room offered its own series of delights that I will miss, but I’m a mover on’er and having secured my next condo – No. 6 if you are keeping track, I left the Troy behind for a third floor walk-up on Shawmut Ave, and though I have been too busy to do a thing to the place, in truth it didn’t need much doing. Of course that won’t stop me, I’m hardwired for change.

In June I flew to France to visit friends and film a documentary – well I didn’t film it, I was the talent, though I am not sure how much talent was required to eat and drink in the home that Julia Child built with her husband Paul built in Chateauneuf – Grasse but I can assure you I enjoyed it even if it was a bit painful to watch it play out on the tv screen. Twice I ferried to my favorite island for sun, sea and shopping. I ate my way through Charleston and walked my way across Amsterdam and London. I washed my clothes between visits but they largely lived in my suitcases which never got put away.

I think for the first quarter of 2023 I will stay put, plant a seed in my new place and see if I can grow a fragile root. As a writer, I feel like I absolutely have to pick a word for the year, but one word seems so limiting. I’m considering the mundane – there is beauty in a simple word like Pond or Frog, why couldn’t one of those be my word? Any who, this is good-bye to twenty-two. It was a very good year for me, and I hope it was for you too.

The Weather Outside: finding the holiday spirit

If it’s going to be frightful, at the very least I could make an attempt to transform the interior into something delightful. Like an old barn that is made magically special with a singular string of fairy lights, or maybe two, my yet to be started apartment, could certainly benefit from a sprig of holly and some evergreen. I can’t let the Instagram holiday decorating denizens defeat me before I even pull out my tree stand.

You know it isn’t real right? Like the wild wonky mirrors inside the circus tent that turn you into a thistle thin reed blowing in the tall grass or a plump peach of a pretty little girl that prefers playing with Barbie’s to riding her bike, it’s make believe. Try anyway. Perfection is overrated, and nobody worth their salt ever let a camera filter get in the way of a fun afternoon.

Insta is aspirational, inspirational, infuriatingly fake perfection that I am going to attempt to copy. Armed with handfuls of Command Hooks, spools of twine and thin green wire. I’m not afraid to pull out the hot glue gun and the duct tape too if it comes to that, nor should you be afraid. If you were a paid influencer with a slue of Martha Steward minions – the likes of which hailed from her eponymous Mag, that would be one thing. The creation of an entire town cut out of gingerbread and piped with icing, sprinkled with crystalized sugar and presented in under an hour, commercials included, would be de rigueur. Me, I would leave my kitchen looking like a flour bomb went off, a dilapidated house held together by string, a few tall candy canes shoring it up, and a large glass of wine in hand. My consolation prize for the effort.

While I suspect my merry making might have a similar outcome it feels worth the effort. I’ll turn on the tv to White Christmas, I really adore that leopard pill box hat and poof that Vera Ellen dons for her arrival in Vermont, and create my own original decorations. Just as I might not be able to create the much adored designs I’ll find on-line or hung from the chimney’s of every retail store from Madison Avenue to Bond, they will not likely be able to replicate mine. It only seems fair. Now for the merry-making.