Year-end Miscellany

This will possibly be my one and only post for December. I have been in a pensive mood of late, observing the world as writers normally do, trying to understand its subtext: another mass shooting down south, a man•made fiscal cliff looming with both sides being intransigent, an old calendar ending without the predicted ending of our world, having to dig deeper for survival in an age when stable institutions we once relied upon (i.e. corporations and governments) have seemingly abandoned us. The tea leaves tell me that it is a tough, overcrowded world out there and it ain’t going to get any easier in the next little while.

I completed writing another novel this year (my sixth yet•to•be•published one, in addition to the four already published and the hundreds of shorter pieces published in various magazines, blogs and e•zines). I’m reconciled to being a posthumous writer if my estate will summon the energy to publish my unpublished tomes after I have made the Great Exit. I have learned that there is a time for mining, and that rich veins of imagination do run their courses, and that to be distracted by trivialities (like earning a living) at these times can interfere with this flood that comes from the “other side,” a God•given gift. And for me, that time is now. I also realize the cost that comes with heeding the words Jesus spoke to his twelve buddies when he said, “Come follow me.” He never mentioned a rose garden or a fat purse at the end of the line. By taking up the cross (or the pen, in this instance) we signed on for lean times, rich only in personal growth.

I’ve seen the younger generation in my family move on and expand their horizons this year – a point of pride, given that theirs is the generation we robbed with our grandiose plans of “Me First, and damn everything else, including the environment” – by buying houses, upgrading jobs, moving countries even, to where the prospects are brighter. And it reminds me of when I took this same trek through the desert from the third world to the first world in search of greener pastures, a long time ago it seems now. And I too moved this year, right into the heart of downtown Toronto, in the hope of new horizons opening for me. Moving ever so often is good, for it clears the cobwebs. And hope is a good thing to have, always.

I’ve seen old friends start to falter, even die, reminding me of the long, lonely journey we must all make one day, a journey that converts our daily pre•occupations into trivial pursuits and calls into account the most important things we did or should have done, and makes us gnash our teeth for not having done them when we should have. These friends at the head of the curve give us pause, and we are richer for having known them, for in their passing they have given us the gift of self•examination.

I’ve seen artists flourish this year when we published an anthology of writers, poets and painters. It gave us an opportunity to go into the small towns and villages in our part of eastern Ontario and present our audiences with a calling card that was welcomingly received. And I have seen writers look up in hope when I stood before them and said that technology has not doomed us but liberated us from the slush pile. There may be no more money, but there is no more waiting.

It is always good to pause at this time of the year and look back on what we accomplished and what we did not. A time for understanding the incompleteness of life, which in itself gives us the fuel to go on and dot some of those “i”s and cross some more of those “t”s. Yes, the world is a rough place but humans are resilient beings, and those who roll with the punches will survive.

Dear friends, thanks for continuing to read my blog. I wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas and much wisdom in 2013.

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