December 30, 2016

Writing the Old Year off on New Year’s Eve.

How many writers will crawl out from under their other lives to pen a reflection or resolution piece as they contemplate year’s end?

This is almost a holiday to celebrate writing itself. I feel the draw to participate in this gathering of authors, poets, and storytellers. The end of this arbitrary section of time is the perfect time to “live life twice” as my favorite writer, Anaïs Nin, once said.

Some will sit down in quiet reflection and relive the past year in flashback scenes.

There will be stories to record so they are never forgotten, as if they would ever be forgotten. There are stories so important that they will be retold to the writer (and the readers) because they are that significant and have lessons that want to be revisit.

These stories may be the best or worst parts of the year. The storyteller will remember things said and unsaid, moments that make up the whole.

Then there are the storytellers that are busy creating the next 365 days. They are choosing the characters and settings and plotting out what to do with the conflicts. They are imagining the climaxes and some closing scenes. Designing the story as they would like it to play out, the storyteller resolves to live a certain way in hopes to become the perfect character for a certain outcome.

The poets will try to make sense of it all and then obscure it in beautiful language, so that the message is there, but not right there. The poet takes the whole year and dissects it down to a moment, or a breeze, or a breath.

There are poets everywhere at the end of the year who want to feel this year again, because that is what poetry does. Poetry takes the deepest emotions, pleasant and unpleasant, and confines them to a page like a butterfly pinned to a board.

But the poet is also the one who will dream in vibrant colors of the world before them and play with just stopping time in the present and seeing life as they wish it was, or how it heart-wrenchingly could be. They write the “what-ifs” in lyrical sentences that blend and fuse and create the possibility.

The poets will live a thousand lifetimes remembering the year that passed and contemplating the year that will soon be, and then they will write a dozen sentences about the shore and be done.

And finally there are people like me, the authors of events and inspirations. I sit at this time of year and prepare not only for the new year on the calendar, but a new year for me personally.

You see, New Year’s Eve is also my birthday. It marks the convergence of two transformative days to explore and parse out the meaning of time as it passes for all people, but particularly for me. It pulls me to document everything.

But this year, I don’t want to spend any more time reliving the moments that have created the me I have become today. Those moments are still raw and veiled in my own perceptions about the truth of the events.

I cannot see the last year’s experiences. I am too close for retrospection. The love still makes me catch my breath and the loss still makes me forget to breathe. I cannot look back yet; the lessons are too new. And I cannot resolve to make any changes because I do not know, yet, what I do not know.

I am simply in the middle of this.

I am standing in my storm and I have no idea when it will end, where it will leave me, or with whom I will be standing. And while I have come to appreciate the storm after a drought, it is still mesmerizing and frightening, tragically beautiful.

I would vow to be present, but that is the life of an author anyway—always hypervigilant to the movement of everything around me.

The authors like me are sitting at the keyboard, or with pen and paper, feeling the call to this worldwide celebration of writing and finding we have nothing new to say.

I am still here. I am still living my own inspiration. I am still diligently chronicling the scared breaths of the imperfect now. I am still the same person, who is changing every single day. And I will be the same different person on January 1st, a day older, a year older, and still searching for the wisdom of the ages, always in the process of becoming.



Author: Andrea Byford

Image: Flickr/Jeffrey

Editor: Callie Rushton

Read 8 Comments and Reply

Read 8 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Andrea Byford