2017 was a sad year. In addition to the major shocking, horrifying and depressing events that took place in the world, on a minor, personal note, I got almost nothing written. How can a person who calls themselves a writer end a year with so little to show for it? Where are the publications? Forget that–where are the pages?
Most of what I wrote was book reviews. Reviews of the many, many books I read, partially to escape the shocking, horrifying and depressing things that were going on, and to escape my own writing failures.
Thinking of those books, though, I can’t say I regret any of them. I read James Baldwin for the first time this year: Giovanni’s Room, Another Country, The Fire Next Time, giving me emotional experiences almost as strong as real life. Pablo Neruda’s poetry changed the way I look at everything from tomatoes to cherry trees. And Arundhati Roy’s Ministry of Utmost Happiness took me on such an extraordinary journey—a difficult journey but with hope found in the strangest places (not unlike 2017, come to think of it).
And that’s why I believe in New Year’s. Even the worst years have redeeming value. Things happen that you wouldn’t want to give back. Even making wrong choices, like choosing to read instead of write, can be rewarding. When you know that going in–know that a year will probably not be what you think, but it will give you much you will cherish–it helps. It gives you hope.
So here’s to 2018. I am so ready to turn the page this year. Turn the page and write something on it, hopefully!