When I was in my first on-campus residency of my MFA program at Converse College, I found myself in an unusually uncomfortable chair among a small sea of other chairs, waiting for the evening reading session to begin. This night, the author reading her work was a poet named Catherine Carter—a professor at Western Carolina U. whose poetry drew laughter from every person in the room (an admirable feat, considering her overly exhausted audience). Her voice was soothing, and her poems were filled with irony, something I particularly enjoy.
Catherine read a poem, which I have long since searched for and been unsuccessful in finding, about the foolishness of New Year traditions, especially New Year’s resolutions. She proposed—in words more eloquent than I can hope to curate as I sit here on my couch, under rested and over caffeinated—that one can make such a pledge at any moment, because each moment itself is the beginning of a new year.
And that thought has stuck with me since that evening. I’ve been similarly challenged through my reading this semester to stop making excuses, stop putting things off until tomorrow, and just do whatever it is that I want to do today. If I want to write a novel, the only thing stopping me is my own laziness. If I want to read 25 books each year for the rest of my life, nothing is standing in my way. If I want to keep a clean house, or cook all my family’s meals from scratch, or start a garden on the terrace outside my apartment, I have the ability to do so. And if I choose not to, it’s because I wanted to do something else more than I wanted those things.
If that makes sense…
So here is to new beginnings. Because I’m old enough to seize the day (I’m cringing at the usage of such a cliché, but I’m too tired to think of more clever wording), to do today what I would have, in the past, done tomorrow. I want to be a successful writer, and I’ve come to the realization that the only person ’til now that has kept me from doing so is me. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?
Photo courtesy of michaelhebb.