I'm not going to try to argue this year, or buy more time. I'm as ready as I'll ever be.
New Year's Day makes me feel like I should have my wits about me, like I should have a great retrospective of the past year ready, highlight photos and all, and also something thoughtful to say about the coming year, plans, goals, excitement. And I have had moments in the past week of feeling excitement. I love a new year, I do. I've said this before, but it's like a freshly snowed field, nothing yet marring its perfect smooth surface. I guess though, now, what I'm mostly feeling is panic that I have to ... begin to mar its surface. Yoy. It's like my perfectionism, which usually only plagues me with writing (and other creative endeavors) is spilling over into my life. DON'T MESS UP THE BEAUTIFUL PURE PERFECT UN-BEGUN YEAR, LAINI!
Don't step on the snow!
Unless you're a deer.
Graceful pin-prick hoof prints are okay. No big sloggy human trail, please.
I would like to be a deer this year, please. Metaphorically speaking. I would like to leave a delicate tattoo of neat prints across this field of snow. Elegant. Large airy spaces between prints, as if I were almost flying.
But ... no. That doesn't sound right either, that effortlessness. I don't know. I'm winging this here, typing this off the top of my eternally confused head, but somehow a year of effortlessness would not seem like a year that had been lived. Elegant deer tracks across a perfect field ... I am having this distinct feeling that life isn't supposed to be like that. That you'd be flying above the surface of it, missing most of it, that those flying weightless leaps would carry you above everything that is real and earthy and good -- and bad too, yes, of course. Sigh.
I have this memory, I was probably eighteen, living in Northern California with my family, and I had gone out jogging on the defunct Air Force base where we lived, Hamilton Field. It was an interesting place, Hamilton. "Defunct Air Force base" sounds like a derelict no man's land, like we were squatters or something, and there were vast swaths of weird no man's land there to be sure, abandoned airplane hangars backing up to marshland, etc, but there was also fantastic too-good-to-be-true military housing (my dad was still active duty): big old 1920s Spanish style houses with servant's quarters (sans servants) and built-in nooks for when the telephone was a new-fangled contraption, multiple balconies and terra cotta tiles and ancient oak trees. So great. Also so irrelevant to the story. Anyway, jogging down this lost and forgotten road, all was silent, and in a second--a burst--a deer appeared from nowhere, right at my shoulder. It spooked, leapt past me, and vanished like it was half-deer, half-fae, flying. It did that weightless thing where it seemed to hang impossibly long in the air between every touch of its hooves to the earth, and fwwt! it was gone like a streak, just gone. It was such an experience in contrast, in context. Like: Dear Laini, I thought I'd give you a moment of insight in what it is like to have a human body instead of an animal one. Love, Nature. Suck it, Nature, who needs that? I felt so unbelievably ungainly and heavy for the rest of the jog. Why was I not flying like that deer? Like I was being punished by gravity. It sucked.
Ever since, I have nursed a grudge against deer. Ha. Not really, but that was a Moment, in some weird way, and the above photo does remind me of it, thinking of my field of snow, my 2013, and wishing to be weightless ...
And I do wish for that. Jeez. Elegance and effortlessness, to glide above all appearance of struggle, to jot out my book all tidy and easy, manage to cook interesting meals that are actually planned in advance, have tons of pep for playing Mary Poppins or Wonder Woman or whatever Clementine wants to act out today, find time to exercise, never look like a hobo ...
But the feeling that strikes me about that life is that it would be like a blog version of life: not the full story, you know, only the parts that paint just the right rosy picture of an enviable life. Not a real life at all. Real lives are full of mess, and a human cannot cross a snowy field like a deer, and if we could, we would not be human. Besides, deer can't write books, so I DO NOT WANT TO BE A DEER!
Oh god. Starting off the year with incoherence! Command Z! Command Z!
Ha ha. I guess what I am saying is that I am a New Year's Day mix of anxiety and hope, the eternal New Year's Day hope that somehow this is the year I will get my act together and be the Best Possible Version of Myself. I love a sense of beginning, be it a little beginning, like a Monday, or a big one, like a January first. (Incidentally, I told Clementine, in an effort to explain "New Years" that a new calendar begins today. She woke up very excited, thinking I meant a new Advent calendar, and a whole new month of tiny chocolates and toys. Oh, Pie. What a sweet life it would be, if every month were an Advent calendar.)
But I don't really want to be a deer and glide over the snowy field leaving as little trace as possible. I want to churn that field up, make snow angels and stage epic snowball fights, use every trace of snow in the creation of weird creatures and when there's no more snow, use mud. I want to live the hell out of 2013, big and loud and messy! It's like the buttoned-up proper well-behaved child versus the pink-cheeked, messy-haired, dirty-kneed, wild-eyed glint-of-the-wild-savage, can't-calm-down-because-LIFE-IS-SO-AWESOME! child. I want 2013 to be like that child. I want to be breathless and wind-blown, I want to shriek with laughter like I'm three, I want to be filled with wonder, and use my whole body climbing up things and sliding down things and swinging from things and jumping into bodies of water and ...
And I think that maybe my panic is that I won't be able to. Again. That I'll be at my desk, fretting, like I was for much of last year, that I'll be up late every single night working, that this panic is riding into 2013 on my shoulders (like Razgut) and is here to stay. My hope for 2013 is that I can do what I need to do--write book three--without misery and panic, and still have time for life and family, and not feel like I'm chasing Life up the street all the time, like the kid always late for the bus, always arriving out of breath and sweaty--if at all.
That, and lose weight.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!