I suppose that most of us have goals. My goals as a writer tend to be mnemonic: I will finish the novel. I will publish another poetry chapbook. I will submit my work to literary magazines more frequently. Perhaps some of you share the same or a similar mantra.
Often, I will be in the second half of the year, however, before I realize that I have interrupted myself so frequently with a lapse of discipline, or my “real” life as a wife and mother, or, yes, even my own creative spirit (I can get enthusiastic about so many different projects and collaborations!), that I have not taken all the necessary steps to ensure that my writing goals will be met by a time certain. It is not that I am failing to accomplish things. I am just not always accomplishing those things I set out to accomplish.
Having deadlines set by others is usually a blessing, even if it is sometimes nerve-wracking. Having no deadlines works fine too … depending on what day it is. I learned long ago, however, that our lives and our work must follow a certain road in order to fulfill … what? Our purpose? I prefer “our potential,” I think. Or, perhaps, “our promise.” Sometimes the road seems crazy, with many curves and turns, and very few straightaways; however, the road is always … instructive. Do not misunderstand me, though – this isn’t another expression of the “it is the journey, not the destination” proverb. Far from it! The destination is part of the journey. It is the journey’s raison d’etre, for heaven’s sakes! It is the impetus, the inspiration, the drive. Of course, the destination is touched and shaped and often greatly altered by the journey. The two, however, are inseparable.
Yes, our road may be crazy, but as long as we are on the road headed toward our particular calling, we will get there eventually, even if the destination does not look quite as we had imagined. How do we know if we are on the right road? It is both simple and powerfully mysterious: participate. Do the work.
It is a new year. There is talk of change and hope and promise everywhere. Participate.
2 thoughts on “Another New Year”
You probably won’t remember me, but I was in your law school class at Wake. I called our wild and crazy friend Russell Palmer tonight to celebrate Villanova’s entry in the Final Four, and he mentioned that you had become a successful writer in the Charlotte area. I have to say that I’m not surprised; you always seemed too grounded and wise to be wasting your time in law school!
I look forward to reading your work – I have always harbored literary aspirations, but have thus far been too cowardly to attempt the leap. I’ve spent the last 20 years drafting bills for the NC General Assembly, and that has sufficed as my “writing career.”
By the way, if you care to share your secret political blogging identity with an old classmate, I’d love to see what you’ve been up to in that milieu as well. In any event, I just wanted you to know that I’m proud to see that one of us answered the call and is doing well at it!
What a treat to hear from you! Hmmm. Drafting legislation. Wow. That is a tremendous responsibility, as well as a gift. Legislation is a wholly unique animal. I apparently have read some of your work, and just didn’t know to credit you!
That loud noise you hear is the thunderous collective laughter of people who know me best who have just read your comment about me being “too grounded and wise” to waste my time in law school! They are saying to one another, “Look! He misspelled ‘crazy’ and ‘neurotic!’ ”
However, you will be happy to know that I still make use of the fine education I received at WFU law school. It has helped me become a more engaged, more informed citizen, and guided my passion for the kind of writing I do on “that other blog.”
Russell must be over the moon about Villanova!
Sean, thank you for your kind note. I look forward to staying in touch. These “writer’s pages” are still in progress, but I am dedicated to updating them with more frequency, and making them more accessible, as well as fine-tuning contact information etc. I hope you will be a frequent visitor and that we can stay in touch!
Take good care,