Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Happy New Year a day late and here's why

I've always wanted to write an on-trend clickbait style blog post title, so there it is. Happy New Year to all of you! Thank you to everyone who made 2017 the incredible, fully-rounded, strangely-crated, strangely-cratered year that it was. Thank you to everyone for enriching my life, supporting my efforts, propping me up, and sharing in the fun.   

I am a day late, though I'm not sure why, really. I wasn't sure what I wanted to say, for one, not that that's new, and even now I pause more than I write, as I imagine many writers do, Backspace ever my key of choice. Space, though, might be a reasonable place to start.

On New Year's Eve I was in bed reading The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin, the second book of the Broken Earth trilogy, when fireworks began cracking through the cold. I went to the window, but saw nothing but smoke from the neighbour's chimney and the usual lights of the neighbourhood, few and spread out as they are in this low density semi-industrial zone. A dog up the street barked a few times, maybe in reply to other dogs across town, maybe as part of a community response to threat, but its bark, I sensed, was more of a warning to keep going, whoever you are. The fireworks were coming from every direction and, because of the book, cracking was the word that came to me. Ice crystals caught the streetlights on their way down. The moan of the mining complex went on. And that moon. It was easy to imagine being part of a post-apocalyptic world.

Before dark I'd gone out to shoot the moon, the wolf moon as they call it, hoping to capture in its features the spirit of the occasion, but happily the stand of birch across the street has really grown, taking away a once reliable vantage point. I couldn't get an unobstructed shot. Back inside, I went from window to window as the moon rose until finally I found a space between the branches beyond through which I could zoom.

It glares through the frost,
glares through three panes of glass.
Is the wolf not full?

This I posted to Twitter.

After the fireworks, I immersed myself again in a world of sci-fi fantasy, a world rubbing hard against everything I worry about. It turned out to be a late night.

New Year's Day and there I was. I made it. Coffee in bed with social media, then straight to the computer. I decided to start the year off by writing and sharing a triolet. It didn't go well, but it was fun trying and share I did. I decided to try again: I'd write and share a sonnet. It didn't go well either, but it was just as fun and share I did, this time on the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Facebook page. I set the sonnet on an image in the space beside the moon and that was that. By that time it was dark and I was tired. It takes a lot of energy to meet formal demands and demands of your own. But instead of sleeping, I returned to the post-apocalyptic world. I finished The Obelisk Gate at midnight and moved on to The Stone Sky.

This morning a diesel engine, a metal bucket scraping asphalt. I knew before looking it had snowed overnight. Wind from the north. Snow drifting. Back to sleep, go back to sleep, but H appears just then. Come see the sundog, he says. There's just one and it's huge. I had no clear shot, but I trusted others were seeing what I was seeing, each from our own place.

last night a wolf moon
this morning's sundog is more

Each of us full and celebrating.