Every moment is a dying moment and a new beginning; every day a new year starts. So paying attention to the end of a man-made calendar year invites irony even while it draws benediction. Mulling the non-binary lying of benediction with irony – both benediction and irony have fluid shapes and fuzzy boundaries, for example a metaphorical image of irony as large polka dots imbalancedly in a variegated mess of benediction, or vice versa, seems entirely plausible – in the last days of 2015, I realized that this is a fundamental state of human being, wrought as much into writing – whether penny-dreadful Harlequins or immoderate literary fantasies; the range, shapes, and tones vary – as into my everyday life of elemental love, conscious good, and whiplash cynicism.
Long an admirer of Pollyanna, I love to hear the ways people love and are kind to themselves and others. For many years this was a practice I sought. At first I struggled to keep all of me, the cynicism, fear, shame, and anger, along with the love and kindness to self and others. And then the struggle stopped, not because the love kindness cynicism fear shame anger disappeared, but because the struggle, petulant, distracting, or sucking me into an abyss of perfection, was getting me nowhere. So that was resolved in practice. But not in my writing.
Writing under my nom de plume, which is my nom de nom which is my legal name, memorializes me, or, at least, memorializes my name. So I want beautiful, inspiring writing to throw lustre on my name, but what I want to write is often, mostly, flat, ironic. Be careful; I’m not just peer-pressured into wanting to be inspiring (or flat-languaged). At a gut level, with a final constancy, I love the inspirational. But when I even think of writing with singularly inspirational portent, my lips turn down. Can’t do it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. I like writing flatly, ironically. I want to write, with round eyes and a flat tongue, the ironic underside of benediction.
But (third time, third time lucky) surely I can write blips of gratitude here, offer genuine Pollyanna puffs of contentment for love in my life, for being able to write the words I want to write, for being able to drink wines in the evening, and fragrant coffees in the morning, indeed for being able to smile at the strangers who are laughing, swaying, and being silly in front of me. This gratitude curls away from irony.
In the spirit of this gratitude, then, …
All of you, those who have opened this post, those who have not, and everyone who does not know it exists:
As this moment dies, this sun-day ends, this calendar year draws to a close,
I wish you comfort with, or at least respite from, your cynicism-fear-shame-anger,
I wish you safety, joy, and good health in drinking and eating (so many of you will not have the safety or the good health or even the potable liquid to drink or food to eat, but, still, fiercely, I can wish this, I can deny the irony of this helpless benediction),
And I wish you love to give and love around you, even if unspoken, even if love is simply the mundane sloth of mourning doves on the wall.