I've written a lot of end-of-year lists in my day: a lot of reviews and recaps. I'm not at all against celebrating accomplishments and labeling things "good," "better," even "best." But this year especially, it feels like we've gotten a little lost in the line between art and commerce: the distinction between necessary creativity--creativity for survival--and product. Artists (maybe especially writers?) have long been asked about process, and that's fine. Humans are wildly curious about humans. When do they wake? What do they drink? What do they write with? What do they listen to as they revise? Are they a dog person or a cat person? But, aside from curiosity, that stuff doesn't matter. It seems like a lot of us have gotten too hung up on the people behind the thing.
So, instead of a best-of, this year I'm focused more on looking ahead. Last year around this time I was pushing to become stronger: digging in to what could better the world. The news of Trump was still new and stinging, and that hasn't really changed except that we're in the middle of its embarrassing reality now. This next year will be even more of that finding strength, I hope. Do even more: physically, mentally, creatively. But beyond that, my goal is to let go of more. To stop comparing: to stop wasting time. To keep ears and eyes open. I want to try new things, constantly. I want to push myself outside of comfort in order to learn as much as possible.
I've got a written list of goals for 2018 that I'll put up somewhere where I can see it each day. It's well known that Shalane Flanagan wrote in her planner "win NYC marathon" months before the race, and looked at it every day. That's not to say putting the words in ink won the race, but there's something about seeing the thing. Every day.
Create for the sake of creating: write in order to read, read in order to write. Climb the mountain for the sake of the experience. Learn for the sake of knowing. And generally try to have the attitude of a puppy.