New Year

Dec 31

2009 is soon upon us. The month of January takes its name from the Roman god, Janus. Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward; I suppose this means that he is looking forward into the future and backward into the past.

Among other things, Janus was a god of the gates. As he sees into the future and the past, yet is in the present, I suppose that this means the gates that he presides over are the Gates of Now. The Eternal Present whose gates we are always passing through. And so, let’s toast the Gates and hope that as we walk through them into a new calendar year, we can look to a new year that has the other half of the wine glass that is yet to be filled.

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Tuesday Tuesday

Dec 31

So here it is, Tuesday the 30th and 2008 is coming to a close. It’s funny, I usually don’t reflect on the past year, but instead look forward to what is to come. Usually. This year, things were a little different.

In June, I came about as close to death as I’ve ever come and came out the other side. It may sound cliched but it made me appreciate some of the smaller things in life. I’ll never forget when I got out of the hospital from what was my first ever over night stay: a clear blue sky; a warm, yellow sun on my back. It’s something I’ve seen or felt my whole life, but here it was, strangely pertinent, a part of my life that had always been there-as much a part of who I am as my family, friends, the town I’m from; a part of my identity even though they were ostensibly not a part of me-not physically, at any rate.

Once I was out of the hospital, things started to change. But I don’t think I was consciously aware of just how much was going on, until now.

I finalized my first novel and started submitting it to agents. I’ve also started and nearly finished my second book and started my blog and got my own DNS.

I also managed to re-connect with many, many old friends in a turn of events I never foresaw.

I suppose that, despite all the health related challenges I’ve had in 2008, they provided me with transformation as much or even more than any other event in my life. As 20009 comes, I find myself more excited than ever about the future and its possibilities. I turn 40 this year, and I feel a lot better about myself and my life than I did when I turned 30. I think it’s been a good time.

Yikes! That sounds more like a journal than a blog-like a web-feed video cam into my brain and thoughts put out here for all to see. Well, fair enough. I don’t mind sharing. I am glad to be alive-life is good.

Happy New Year.

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The latest

Dec 28

Well, I broke down and have started reading “Twilight” and saw the movie last night. It’s been the latest craze for long enough that it’s not really the latest craze, but instead, has morphed into something more enduring. What happens when latest crazes last for awhile? I suppose that they pass into something of our cultural lexicon, a zeitgeist that informs cutlure as well as being a manifestation of it.

Oh, how I long to write something that could be so well received. I’ve finished a novel, and am trying to find an agent to represent it. I’m also nearing completion on my second book. I have plenty of ideas for books after that-so many, that I’m not sure how or when I’ll ever be able to complete them all. My main concern isn’t finding inspiration (although I certainly respect how important it is to have), but getting what is in m computer out onto a book-shelf and then have it become widely read.

It’s not that I dream of fame for its own sake-I really want readership, that’s all. I just wonder how long it will take to get my stories in front of the public and how much rejection I’ll have to face. I’m starting to find that many of the writers out there got representation a lot faster than I have (I have yet to get it, by the way). I’m pretty thick skinned, but I suppose we all go through our phases of doubt and confidence. I don’t mind the wait (honest!), I just hope that someday I’m lucky enough to be a published writer and that my titles sell well enough to support me and my family.

Persistance is key, methinks. That, and maybe doing a few things that are out of the box. I’m about to start podcasting my first book, which is the main reason I started to have a blog to begin with.

Oh well….

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Tonight

Dec 28

Whew! Well, the Christmas holidays are nearly over, and while there is still New Year’s Eve and Day ahead, there is, of course, not nearly so much pent up expectation, rushing or any other holiday madness to go with it. I almost think we indulge in largesse on New Year’s Eve to really let out the dementia that is November-December (you can almost imagine Thanksgiving all the way to New Year’s as one, semi-continuous season of excess).

Anyway, while there is plenty I would like to write about, I find that I am utterly exhausted and want to have more clarity than I currently have when I scribe something even resembling blog-worthy tale-telling with my virtual pen. Thus, for the nonce, I fall into the category of journalling here, publicly for all to see, rather than exhibiting something I hope will titilate (did I say that?) the reader.

Well, at least I haven’t posted something about my pet cats. Nothing more annoying in the world than inane blogs where the blogger posts jpegs of themselves and their pets that they believe grants them parent-status. I have three kids, I know what I’m talking about! Part of why I’m so dang tired is because I can’t seem to get the childrens to bed at a decent hour. It’s just now quiet in my house and I’m so beat, about all I can manage at this point (I did my compulsory work on my current novel) is a glass of whiskey and some mindless television -or mindful television that I will watch mindlessly.

Wait a minute, am I ranting? I better stop now before I embarass myself…

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Andy Frith and The Magic of Christmas

Dec 22

Okay children,

gather around and I’ll tell you a story about the Christmas that almost wasn’t. Well, that’s not exactly true, but all Christmas stories start out that way, don’t they? Let me tell you about my own personal experience with the miracles that attend the Yuletide season, in a story I just hadda call: “Andy Frith and the Magic of Christmas”

Long ago, in the early 1990’s, I lived in Athens Georgia in a house on a street called Boulevard. I didn’t really mind living there, my life then was simple. I was a young man in my early 20’s, living the single life with room-mates that were my friends as many people did then and no doubt still do.

As I said, I didn’t mind living there-but there was something that came around every year, a time that I dreaded and had no care for. It was, of course, Christmas. For me, as I am sure it is for many people, Christmas was a lonely time. My friends all went home for the holiday, even if they were from Athens like me. Classes were out, the students were gone. People were off of work, the town was dead. The rhythm of the season slowed everything down to a standstill. Even if I worked the holiday-as I often did-I would still find myself sitting at home, alone, in the dark and the cold that was the house on Boulevard, anxiously awaiting the time to pass-time that reminded me just how alone I was.

One year, I wasn’t so alone. Andy Frith, a friend of mine from work and another native with no other place besides Athens to go in the Xmas, was having some sort of family problems. I’m not really sure just what they were to this day. The gist was, he didn’t want to spend Christmas Eve at home, so we hung out. We got off of work at 11:30, and with the deliberate intention of drinking heavily to forget our mutual cares. However, we both had lacked the foresight to buy alcohol ahead of time. Everywhere we went, package stores, bars, etc. were sensibly closed, their proprietors and customers at home with their family.

While we went around the town looking for a place to either purchase drinks or imbibe them, I kept saying: “Don’t worry, Andy. The Magic of Christmas will come through! We’ll get our twelve pack someplace!”

I initially said this as a joke. I kept saying it as the night wore on and it became apparent that we would face the rest of the night sober. But the thing was, I did feel something. The more I mentioned the Magic of Christmas, the more I felt it. It was like I was invoking some sort of mystical power, a power that heard my voice and heeded my supplication.

Andy and I eventually went to my house on Boulevard, dejected and without anything to lighten the mood. I turned on the TV, ready for yet another Christmas that I couldn’t wait to be over. When, suddenly, a car pulled up. Two men that I didn’t know came to the door, looking for one of my room-mates that was long gone home. I let them in, these men that I had never seen before. And they had plenty of beer and joviality to share. In no time at all, we were drinking, smoking, laughing, watching Star Wars. I knew that, somehow, my repeated invocation of the Magic of Christmas had worked, and this was it.

“See, Andy,” I said, my speech slightly slurred, “I told you, the Magic of Christmas would come through!” Andy laughed at my joke, but on some level we both knew I wasn’t joking and that Christmas had come through. Christmas was real, and so was the Magic that went with it.

The two men left eventually, leaving back into the night from whence they came. I never saw them again. But I’ll always remember that Christmas as one that stood out from all the other cold, lonely nights from the time before I had a family of my own.

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