New Year's Eve, 2010
Well, I guess it wouldn't be right not to acknowledge that twenty-ten is closing and a new year starts tonight. I've never been much for New Year's. Never. Never liked the hoopla. Never felt particularly festive and always had to fake having a good time, sometimes when I was freezing cold and spending more than I had. I never could understand the meaning of the holiday. It's not as if the earth is at any particular spot in its trip around the sun. As I understand it, it's more of an arbitrary decree by a pope. That's kind of pitiful, if you ask me.
But I'm no dummy; I'll take this opportunity to say if I could clone this year, I'd take ten. After two thousand-nine, though, anything would have been better. Two thousand-nine didn't exactly raise the bar very high. But there's no denying it, 2010 is going to be a hard year to beat.
This was the year when I studied for and took the GRE (did most of my studying on the subway), drew a line in the sand and said I was going to stake my life on the theater and writing and applied to Boston University. I was accepted (one of only four people accepted to Boston Playwrights' Theater's prestigious program), was given a scholarship, and just when I was just adjusting to that good fortune, was offered a teaching fellowship. I actually stood on the Park Street T station platform and shed tears. It was a Friday afternoon. After 30 years of being a corporate writer, and summarily being let go at my last job by an ad agency that thinks way too much of itself, it was quite emotional to be picked up for my real writing, the writing that comes from my soul.
That was a Friday. On Monday, Sue, Kathryn, and I left for three weeks in Costa Rica (Kathryn came for one week.) I was traveling and on a high with two people who I love dearly. After Kathryn flew back to the U.S., Sue and I continued on our vagabond ways, ultimately ending up in Panama. Both of us were made for the road, with nothing but backpacks. I could have died right then and there, and gone straight to heaven.
I started school in the summer, at Simmons College, and it was like falling face first into a swimming pool on a hot day. The more the professor gave us the read, the more I asked for. At one point I asked him how I was doing in the class. He said, you don't know? I said, no. He said, you're doing tremendous.
September brought on BU, and it was challenging. That's what all the grad students say when someone asks them how it's going. They sort of smile and say, it's challenging. For the record, it is very challenging. But writing is what I love, and it was all writing. I'm the oldest in the creative writing program by a long ways. Hell, I'm older than many of the professors. But age doesn't mean anything when it comes to writing. It's actually an advantage.
And how did this crazy year end? The day after Christmas, for the first time in ten years both my daughters were sleeping under my roof. I did a very stupid thing and broke my family apart for a very stupid, selfish reason, and it took me ten years to pick myself back up and put myself together, and I didn't give up, on myself or trying to put my family back together. And on December 26 Allison was crashed in the guest room and Kathryn was snuggled under a blanket on the big sofa, the one on which I take my naps, and I turned out the lights, kissed them both on the head, and I went to bed next to the woman I love.
All right, 2011. Beat that.