My entire adult life, I’ve held an interest in mythology … any mythology really, but my curiosity and fascination have been mostly piqued by the ones that spirited me far and away from the Christian one, on which I was raised.
I’ve always enjoyed a good story and you’ve got to admit Christian stories, on the whole, seem so pedestrian when compared to those of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Norsemen, Aztecs or North American Natives (and a great gang of other cultures, as well). How can the story of a wee little tax man (not an historically exciting demographic) named Zacchaeus climbing a sycamore tree to clap eyes on the approaching teacher Jesus, or a few bottles of wine being watered down (the norm in Roman times) to make more wine for an expanding party list hope to compare with the tale of the beautiful nymph Daphne morphing into a Laurel tree to escape the amorous advances of the Greek god Apollo, or a lyre-plucking Orpheus braving the dangers of the underworld to rescue his beloved Eurydice from death itself!
Case in point. Take Janus. Here’s his pic.
He’s the ancient Roman God of Doorways, of Beginnings, of Change, of Transition. He represents the changeover between the primitive and the civilized, between the countryside and the city, between peace and war, between youth and age … in short, between this and that. We’re talking wise here, or at the very least, observant, a fella well able to spout a line or two of illumination. The guy has two faces. They look in opposite directions. I tell you … how cool is that! As a character, he’d fit right into any fantasy book or film that’s put out today … yet he was already an ancient god by the time the Romans came onto the historic scene, back in the day. How can anyone not find that fascinating?
In the fullness of time, this god-dude Janus had a month named for him. I’ll give you 12 clues and the last 11 don’t count. Yup, you got it … it’s JANuary, where I’m sitting right now, smack-dab in the first day of the spanking new year 2013. Remember how I said Janus could look both backward and forward at the same time? Do you see the significance? January 1 is a day to reflect on the past, to think ahead, to find a direction and move on through the metaphorical turnstyle into another year.
I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know why. Perhaps the exercise seemed trivial to me, or maybe the analysis of where my life has been and where I wanted it to go was just too onerous a task to undertake on a chill winter day with a stomach still feeling the aftermath of one holiday indulgence too many. And, of course, the prospect of failure is never an easy one to contemplate, so a case can always be made for NOT making resolutions.
Perhaps it’s because I’ll be turning 60 in March (it’s only a hop and a skip to death from there, isn’t it?), but I find myself receptive to the New Year’s Resolution exercise this year. Looking back, I can plainly see that I haven’t made each day, each year, each decade count, at least not in any way I’ve wanted it to. I’ve been too busy bowing to the god of fear (and perhaps loathing, but not in Las Vegas) to make a mark, even on myself. In terms of ink, the halting trail I’ve left behind me is almost invisible. I think the time has come to throw a little indelible into the mix, before I find myself lying on my deathbed, weighed down by a blanket of regret.
So here I am, unhitching my horse from a post that’s grown a veritable forest of moss.
My resolutions are these:
1) I must start calling myself a writer. It is what I do, therefore that is what I am. There will always be people who don’t understand, and who diminish writerly effort to the realm of the unimportant. I’ll simply smile and smile and soldier on (I bet you thought I was going to put “be a villain” there; fooled you!).
2) Get my first novel, Second Breath, on Smashwords (making it available for other-than-Kindle platforms) and also get the book into print form for sale to them that don’t (yet) have (or maybe don’t want) an ebook reader.
3) Do a thorough research of marketing possibilities and more wisely promote Second Breath.
4) Complete my second novel Skeleton Dance (now roughly ⅔rds done), and submit it to agents/publishers (i.e., pursue traditional route for approximately 6 months before going the self-publishing route again).
5) Format two more collections of existing poetry for Kindle.
6) Return to poetry-writing roots and create one collection of new poems this year.
7) Find a non-fiction topic to research for a book, because I LOVE research. To plunge one’s head into a sea of research material is heaven on earth!
8) Write new blog posts, a minimum of one every 10 days. (This is my first since April, YAY! Methinks this bodes well for my other resolutions.).
Other stuff and things
1) Once I’ve mastered items 1 and 2 of the writerly list above, apply myself to doing the same for my husband Jim Stark’s extensive literary output (See http://tinyurl.com/3jhutkf).
2) Form new friendships and cultivate existing ones (a tough one, as through design or default I’ve always been a solitary creature). Find ways to become more outgoing.
3) Find more time for reading. I love reading. This shouldn’t be hard! It’s just a matter of time management, right?
4) Become more organized (like I used to be), and less easily distracted from the things that are important.
5) Resume activities I once found pleasing (but have fallen away from, for whatever reason), to add more dimension to my life.
6) Lose the guilt; it’s non-productive. Become less fearful; it makes everything else easier.
7) Embrace change, because in the end, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
8) Become more mindful of the present. Appreciate the riches each day can bring.
There, that about does it.
Now, in the words of another great (if imaginary) man that I quoted back in my first blog post, just under a year ago …