A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Goes Out with a Whimper

Every year for the last dozen years or so, I have written down New Year's resolutions on a napkin, a napkin usually taken out from under my drink at whichever night club I happen to be visiting. Some of these resolutions are pretty ambitious: buy a house, go to Europe, get a hot job. Others can be knocked off rather easily, for little or no money: pierce ears, sing in public. I don't always manage to cross all of them off my list, but I have a pretty good track record. (I'm sitting in the house I actually bought as I type this, taking a break from the hot job I actually have, and I go to Europe just about every year at least once, usually on somebody else's dime.) This year, however, was a shutout. I only made seven resolutions, but I didn't carry out a single one of them.

#1 was "cape." Long, flowing, black, possibly velvet cape. I owned a black cape in college and I wish I still had it. I almost bought one this year on ebay, but decided that sight unseen was not the way to shop. And I haven't come across a really beautiful cape in any shop, auction or sale I've frequented in the past year.

#2 was "J.B.Martin boots." I lust after these every year when I walk through the shoe department of Inno in Brussels. Nobody else makes boots that look anything like these--sort of like pirate boots, with buckles. But again, I don't want to buy online, without trying on, and I didn't go to Brussels this year--or Paris, or London, or anywhere else they can be found.

#3 was "bar novel." I was all set to write a novel in a bar. The bar would depend on which city I happened to be in. In Brussels, it would be Magritte's hangout, La Fleur en Papier Doré. In Paris, it would be La Coupole. In Dublin, Toners Baggott Street, which was the only place W.B. Yeats would drink. But then, life got complicated. The time I thought I was going  to carve out for writing just wasn't there.

#4 was "paint ceilings." Not only did I not do this, I can't even figure out which ceilings I meant.

#5 was "radiant barrier. I was all hepped up about improving thermal efficiency in my house, and this was one of the items I was going to install. But then I decided it was a scam.

#6 was "absinthe." I was going to take advantage of trying genuine absinthe while in Europe. However, I didn't go to Europe in 2013. Worst of all, I learned right after I made the resolution that 1) the best absinthe bar in Europe is in that alley where the Jeanneke Pis is located, and which I pass every time I'm in Brussels, and 2) Brian knows all about, and frequents, that bar, and 3) Brian has a bottle of absinthe sitting right in his apartment. So why didn't I drink absinthe in 2012, or 2011, or 2010, or....? Three strikes and I'm out.

#7 was "electric car." I was going to trade in my vintage Mercedes for one of these. Unfortunately, I can't afford the Tesla I have my eye on (yet!), and it's a little premature to own an electric car in New England anyways. But maybe soon.

So--all of these are being passed forward to 2014.

On the upside, I made it through the year alive (no small feat), all fires have been put out, and I had some challenging (read: lucrative) writing projects. By all accounts, 2013 was a sucky year for just about everybody. I probably fared better than most. The house is warm and cozy, nobody is dunning me, and a couple of exciting developments are in the works for 2014. So it's all good. Now I'm going to pour myself a little glass of cognac, find a napkin, and pen some additional resolutions for 2014.

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