Have you ever seen Finnegan Begin Again? It's been years since I watched this film starring Mary Tyler Moore, Robert Preston, and Sam Waterson. Robert Preston's character is often singing an old Scottish song about a man named Michael Finnegan, whose whiskers are blown back in-again. But mostly, what I remember is the line: "Well, Finnegan. Let's begin again." I was probably 10 or 11 when I saw it, but that bit of dialogue stuck with me. Goes to show how effective rhyme can be when it comes to memory, and in my case, it was around that age that images from movies became part of my longterm schtick.
And it always feels relevant in January. To gaze wistfully into the middle distance and say, "Let's Begin Again." The people around me - those who know me well, anyway - ignore the obscure theatrical reference, not wanting to invest the time in asking, "How's that?" chalking it up to the aforementioned schtick. But I like living simultaneously in 1985 and 2012. Everything that I am is a result of who I was, which is a product of what I watched and read; how I spoke and listened.
Apparently my New Year will not be much different from my old year, in the sense that what I should be doing is planning a syllabus for next semester (which begins in a week) and what I am doing is procrastinating via philosophical blogging. Good grief.
But here's what I'm hoping: To keep a journal everyday. To write 1,000 words of a new book everyday. To read the 1,000 books waiting for me on crammed shelves of every room in the house. To exaggerate less. To exercise more. Etc.
Last year certainly had its rocky moments. One of which involved the critique of a story. One that meant a lot to me but had not yet found a published home. The very accomplished woman who read it, hated it. Hated me, it seemed, and everything I'd thought to be true to that point went Poof! A few weeks ago, I found out that it had won second place in Clapboard House's Best of the House short story contest. It is called "A Case for Annie" and you can read it by visiting:
Difficult as it was, I began again with that story. I sent it out. I sent it out and I sent it out. Nine months after the nightmare began, I received the good news. First place would have been sweeter, of course, but that's the great thing about living through a disappointing year. Every piece of news that isn't awful, feels like first place.
Happy New Year!