Friday, December 31

hockey, dextromethorphan, and the bliss of doing nothing

I’ve been really sick all week. The fever broke last night, I think, and my brain sort of works today, but the week has been a joyful mist of woozy illness combined with good extra-strength cold and flu meds. Feverish, stoned, and blessed with holiday hockey to watch.

It could have been worse.

One of the un-joys of casinos is that there’s tons of money passing through our hands and, with it, a million germs. New employees to casinos, or old employees coming back, tend to not have a sufficiently robust immune system to handle the microbe overload. After my Boxing Day shift last week, functioning on four hours of sleep after a late shift on the 25th, I came home and succumbed to some serious sneezing.

In between prolonged sleeps and supplemental napping I’ve enjoyed house sitting at a friend’s place and taking advantage of her television, something I usually avoid like the plague. But during the holiday week there’s some fabulous tournament hockey to watch – both the IIHF World Juniors and the Spengler Cup in Europe.

If I had to be sick, I picked a good week.

One might think that it would have been a good week to write some really psychedelic stuff, but I was having a hard enough time focusing on the TV and following the puck. I have a feeling that “Dick and Jane” prose would have been a challenge. So I took the week off, postponing a freelance contract until after the New Year and not even cracking the manuscript. I played utter and complete hooky.

And I barely even felt bad about it.

I read blogs his week (occasionally feeling brave enough to try to comment in English), many of which were following the standard New Years motif of goal setting and resolution making. Many were well-written and yet did not stir me. Two did though, mostly because they bucked the resolution trend: Judy Clement Wall posted a beauty at Zebra Sounds about creating a personal manifesto, and Giulietta Nardone notched a lovely piece at Giulietta the Muse about following your enthusiasm. Please, check them both out - you won't be sorry.

Both, to me, were about defining who we are and then being it or chasing that ideal as opposed to setting external goals and measuring worth according to whether we achieve the goal or not.

The inversion has been all about not setting goals in traditional ways; about setting out on a journey and seeing where the road leads me. Yes, there was a story to write. I suppose that was a goal in a sense, but it was still about the journey more than about finishing anything. It’s still about the journey, about letting something organic grow rather than trying to manufacture something artificial.

Organic is good; A journey is natural. I can let it form itself, stop when there’s a rose to smell, run when the way is clear, enjoy the woods when the brush is thick, and not sweat it. It’s not about where I get – it’s about getting. It’s about how I get. It’s about who it makes me.

I’ll be pitching cards tonight night when the clock strikes midnight. No big deal. Ultimately New Years is just another day, a Friday to a Saturday. If I can have another year much like this last one has been I’ll be a happy puppy. I lack for almost nothing, have everything I actually need. The manuscript is getting better and better, and might actually be close to ready for beta readers. I’m close to friends and Mom, and that’s at least as important as anything else right now.

And I’m on the right journey. I like the road. The path is pleasing - creatively, aesthetically and relationally. There are no goals to reach, just a dusty lane to walk, sometimes just a deer path, occasionally no path at all. But there’s always a direction and the journey.

I find that’s enough. I wish the same for you: Enough.

Happy New Year, folks. Have a good one, take a cab, and be excellent to one another.