I had expected 2014 to be a spectacular year — 14 is my lucky number, it’s the year I turned 50, and goshdarnit, I was due. But, damn, looking back, I realize that it was pretty miserable all around: identity theft, tax fraud, shingles, arthritis, credit card theft, clogged pipes, sudden deaths, unsudden deaths, a torn ligament in my right thumb (I still haven’t recovered from the surgery), major relationship trauma — far, far too many bad days. Too many times this year, I have found myself in the crosshairs, walking what I thought was a clear and straight path only to find myself stepping on a landmine. Even a casual visitor of this blog will recognize that there wasn’t much to see here — long gaps and silence. The stagnant blankness tells you everything you need to know about my creative practice in 2014. Goodbye goodbye.
Sure, I could look back and focus on the positive, dwell in the professional accomplishments — a well-received MLA presentation, the OU President’s Colloquium, directorship of a successful Liberty Fund conference, completing a chapter length biographical essay of a writer I value and admire. But to be honest, while those projects gave me tremendous satisfaction, I can’t really say that they brought me joy.
What brought me joy was the day I was able to leg press 410 pounds. I found joy at the Antioch Writer’s Workshop, listening to Matthew Goodman speak with passion and brilliance about creative nonfiction.
I found joy last month in Boston, spending an afternoon in the Public Library and then an evening sharing dinner with my brothers. Joy riding the Paint Creek Trail in September, joy picking berries for my breakfast each morning in June, joy receiving a handcrafted ceramic vase from the girl I adore.
Joy writing this.