At the beginning of 2015, I decided NOT to make a list of resolutions. Though I adore lists, the idea that I had to change who I was to suit a nonsensical list seemed ridiculous. So instead I tried to think of one word that I wanted to use to get me through the year. That word was CREATE. And I did create new things.
Looking back on 2015, however, I did more than just create stories and sketches and scenes for my novel. I created the kind of life I wanted. Now that is not to say that last year was easy, or extremely successful. But I did have my successes. I was able to publish my first poem and my first story, something I'd been too terrified to do up until I decided I needed to try. And looking at my successes from last year, I know they happened because I was willing to CREATE. Maybe that sounds stupid to you, but that one word got me through the difficult writing days, the rejection letters, and the pressue to finish my MFA with a story that mattered.
Since the success of that one word, I decided that this year should begin the same way, with a single word I could carry through all of 2016. But this task was difficult.
I funneled through the many words that fill my brain on a day to day basis: write, dream, accept, success, etc... None of these words seemed to encompass enough of what I wanted to accomplish in 2016 (and yes, I even considered accomplish as one of my words). When I began thinking too much about finding my word, I became discouraged. I'm sure it didn't help that graduation was a week away and I still hadn't picked anything to read (yes, I considered discouraged for maybe half a second, too).
Through all of this, I just wanted to find something to take my mind off of these many thoughts. So I did what I always do. I decided to read, which then started a whole new swarm of thoughts because I realized the first book choice of a new year is an important decision; setting the literary tone for the rest of the year.
I looked at the books on my nightstand: On Immunity by Eula Biss, 10:04 by Ben Lerner, The Journals of Sylvia Plath, and The Collected Poetry of Sylvia Plath. Now don't misunderstand when I say I absolutely could NOT begin the year with any of these books because they are all great. I wouldn't have them beside my bed if they were anything but marvelous. But after Christmas ended, I felt that sense of magic disappear with it. Right about that time I realized I wanted to reclaim that magic (and yes, yes, I did think magic could be my word for about two minutes).
Thus, I came upon one of my books that was in desperate need of reviewing for Young Adult Books Central. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley looked like the sort of book with magic in its deckled pages. So I saved it from a life of loneliness on the shelf, removed the dust cover (as I always do), and took a minute to examine the beauty beneath.
Just look at how beautiful this book is if you don't believe me!
I flipped the book over and discovered a set of words that would change everything: "You have to believe it to see it."
It was then that I thought I might have my word: BELIEVE.
Now it wasn't until a few minutes later when I cracked open this enchanting read and found the word BELIEVE on the gorgeously adorned end pages, that I made my decision. I had my word.
2016 will be the year I believe.
As I finish applications for fellowships and submit stories to various magazines and contests, I know I must believe in my talent, my passion, and my drive to share my words with others. And when I do finish my novel in the next few months like I'm planning to do, I will believe that someone else will want to read it. I will query agents and believe someone might believe in me, too.
I hope, maybe, like me, you'll pick one word to carry you through the rest of this year!