Dear 2011

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Dear 2011,
I’m here in 2012. You thought it would never happen, but just last night, you passed into a new year. Quietly, a sketchbook in my lap and music on, you faded away. We weren’t that great of friends this time around – especially these last couple months. We didn’t treat each other well. I let you pass by too quickly without saying enough to those I loved, and you raced on leaving me by the wayside questioning what in glory’s name had just happened. I’m thinking this is a mutual goodbye.

I tried resolutions with you last year, but they fell to pieces by the middle of January. And let’s be honest, it was entirely expected. Well intentioned, yes, but also poorly planned. For 2012, I decided to take a new approach. It was inspired by a conversation we had in one of my lit classes (the one I loved most, where Messyrs Joyce and Yeats and I became bosom friends). Artists, my professor said, tapping the chalkboard, artists do not have mission statements. Schools, universities, companies, they all have mission statements. Artists, however, artists have manifestos.

I don’t proclaim to be an artist, but my love is found in the black and white pages cluttered with words and punctuation. I fall in love with every jot and tittle, every subtle nuance and understated joke. I am a writer – ink practically runs through my veins, and it stains my fingertips. I am no strangers to scrawls and a mess of arrows that are meant to categorize the mind. I am kin to the filled margins and stark lines crossing out misspelled or misguided words. My work dwells leagues from my poetic idols of Yeats, Frost, Miloscz and Armitage. My lines fade in comparison the my prosaic inspirers, Joyce, Pierce, Lewis and McCourt.

But yet, I write, sketch and expand my own little manifesto into a small journal. It is my greeting and promise to twenty-twelve, one that I wish I had made with you.  I learned what you taught me, shook your hand and sped on by. I nodded my head to your thrumming basslines of Billy Joel and your rhythmic concertos and sonatas of Beethoven and Debussy. I wrote you and crumpled the paper a thousand times over. I sang you soft, heartbreaking ballads and angry songs (Danny Boy and U2 respectively). I looked you in the face, made up my mind, and doubted again. No more doubts for you, 2011.

With you at my back, I memorized the route from the mountains to the city, engraving the hills in my mind and breathing deeply the crisp air. I dug my own little niche in a place, fought for it, and nursed my stinging hands. I learned from it. I cursed you, and told you I loved you in the same instance, disliking the indecision. I’ve begun to hike my own path, take my own photos, write my own biography.

I’ve learned that when you can’t decide, toss a coin. In the moment that the penny starts to descend, you know exactly what it is that you truly want. Your heart lies where your mind wanders.

This is why I wrote my manifesto. To know where it is I stand, to build my own foundations and to keep my head on straight. Not to make a promise to 2012 or to anyone else, but to make a promse to myself. To see in 2013 where I was, to see how far I’ve gotten. This year, unlike with you, I will make my motto je ne regrette rien. I will regret nothing.

2011, it was good to have you. But it’s best to see you go. We’ve learned from one another, and that’s all I can ask. No more, no less. You taught me how to make 2012 a year brilliant with possibilities. And thank you, 2011, for filling it with new hope.

We’ll just leave it at the fact that when I get my movie in Heaven, chapter 2011 is gonna be a sight.

Sincerely,

M.

PS – what do you think about “Even If it Breaks Your Heart” by the Eli Young Band for your themesong? I think it fits.

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