And so, again we start at the beginning. Maybe we even start a little way back, looking for the point where we lost ourselves in the pre-Christmas rush. Trying to pick up the threads of what we were thinking, what we were doing, where we were heading. Each time I resolve to hold tighter to that thread, but I think now that losing it — or at least setting it aside for a time — is all part of these years with young children. The trick might be to put it somewhere you will remember it; to pick it up again as soon as you can.
So here’s what I’m doing:
Waking early again to read in the still-dark house. (Solmaz Sharif’s stunning collection , Look, is making it so that I practically leap out of bed.)
Noticing. Linda Gregg’s essay The Art of Finding is the thing I always come back to when I feel I’ve stopped seeing & so I’m doing my six things religiously. (“I have my students keep a journal in which they must write, very briefly, six things they have seen each day—not beautiful or remarkable things, just things. This seemingly simple task usually is hard for them.”)
Reading more, reading less. I want to find the time to read more non-fiction this year, which means reading earlier than bedtime if I want to remember what I’ve read the next day. We’ve juggled things around so that our two ‘study’ nights a week are now supplemented by two reading (me)/guitar playing (B) nights a week. They’re companiable & calming as we each sit at our own end of the sofa under a shared blanket. I’ve started with Of Woman Born, underlining frantically and wondering why I’d left it so long. I’d expected something drier, more academic, but Rich disrupts the text with her own raw experience of trying to hold onto that thread.
I admit it, I’m a lover of January. The year is open, everything possible. The house, stripped of its Christmas clutter & many of its small inhabitants, is spare and simple. The winter light slants through the windows, pink in the morning, golden in the hour before dusk. But I’m not a lover of February and certainly not of March. I know that I need to find my way again quickly, before the crisp newness of the year wears off. Then I guess it’s just a matter of not stopping.
Over on Instagram, I’m continuing to read a short story a day for January. Endings are so hard! (A friend asked me if there are enough short stories to read one a day for a year — just as I was thinking that a year of reading had only touched the surface.) I’m also going to try harder to share some of the best here.