I’ve decided to keep my New Year’s Resolutions. First, I had to decide to make a few. I don’t, as a rule, make any Resolutions. I never knew what to resolve to do. Lose weight, get in shape, that’s a good idea, eat healthier, I can drink to that, and I will. It would be sill to promise myself I would do any of those things, though. I’m either a realist or a slob, you can choose. Making a resolution to drink more beer, or watch more television, while technically achievable, is probably a bad idea, so I used to give the whole resolution making tradition a pass.
I steal a few ideas.
One of the editors I work with told me her resolution was to write more.
What a grand idea. I have really gotten lazy, lately. Too lazy to write. It is one of my favorite things to do. This year I’m going to write more.
And I’m going to finish a novel. Good or bad, it will be done. I have 4 of them I’m working on right now. They could all be part of one, different parts, but that would probably be more work than writing four novels. So, I’m going with the one that has the highest word count.
I have a computer, and a tablet and they are almost always with me. I try to keep them charged and ready. Modern day notebooks, think of what Coleridge could have done.
I’m going to take more pictures. Another editor I work with has a website dedicated to photography and it has piqued my interest. He shoots scenes that have their own beauty, sometimes a little gritty, and bleak, but with an internal logic and candor. My friend, the editor, shoots using film (he may develop them himself), often black and white. Somehow, it adds life to his photos. I would never go back to film, I still take a lot of awful pictures, and I can just delete them. And I think it takes a real eye to use black and white film, you have to be able to see the world in a different way.
When I got my first smart phone, I took pictures of everything. Using various apps, I would alter them with heavy handed attempts at humor that almost always fell flat. Despite the failure to accomplish anything close to my goals I had so much fun.
I have a camera, and an iPhone. I carry them both, everywhere I go. It’s only a small point and click camera, but it has features I haven’t figured out after 5 years, so I don’t want anything more complicated.
I’ve become more interested in the picture, the small parcel of time. A picture tells the story of that instant, and by simple addition the life built around that tiny flash.
I Saw the Light, and the Darkness
More than anything I’ve become fascinated with the intersection of light and dark. That place where the shadow ends, the estuary between night and day. Everything happens there.
It influences my writing, as well. I’m drawn to the suddenness of change, the inexplicable wrenching of reality.
It All Happens So Fast.
Standing at the window of the third or fourth floor of the place I work you can see a small parking lot. However, not long ago, you could see a building. It had been painted black. The windows had been boarded over and painted black. It was so black from a distance you couldn’t see any detail. It was as if someone had ripped a hole in the fabric of day and midnight was seeping through.
I used to walk past it on my lunch break. It had a small porch facing the street. There was a patio on the right side, toward the back, all black now. Somehow, the absolute absence of color seemed a blemish, a scar. Moreover, it hid the age. You could sense it was old, but there was no way to tell how old. It could have been ancient.
Nightclubs opened, failed and closed. Location, location, location, and it was in an awkward place.
Everybody left, and time took its awful toll. Slowly decaying, if you walked past you could see the stucco falling off, leaving ugly gray holes in the pitch blackness. From the fourth floor of the building I worked in you could see where the roof was caving in. It was imploding.
Some homeless people and a family of cats moved in. A symbiosis developed, the homeless people left little bowls of food and milk on what was left of the patio for their little feline friends. Ultimately, the building had reverted to its original purpose. People, living and trying to get by.
One warm, spring day, a large tractor with a huge shovel showed up and knocked the building down. It only took one day. All that history, gone, in a flash. I would have liked to see inside that building just once.
Life moves fast. Here today, gone tomorrow, and you have to keep your eyes open, or you’ll miss it.