December 31, 2007KR BlogWriting

What Rhymes with an Emoticon?

Let me share a poem that comes to mind along with “Auld Lang Syne,” Richard Kenney‘s “New Year, with Nipperkin.” On first reading it speaks to feast-day feelings: mundane “disarray” belies, again, the promise of renewal and salvation.

But check out the rhymes. Et cetera, in abbreviated form no less, could not fall flatter than it does falling after the metric, striding couplet: “More light! More weight! More love! Less hate!/ The Mass, the Seder, ah.” Then, finally, the unexpected pairing of “croak” and “joke” by way of a footnoted emoticon. This delightful tolling of the textual bell is surely a kind of promise. Here is the light we want more of.

At the end of this year, my thoughts are not far from Kirsten’s. The year-end appraisal of my progress or lack thereof, haunted by the sensation, in Sergei’s words of “shouting down a well and listening for the faint, hollow echo.” The balm for this: resolving again to get back to the fun and vexing work of writing. Reminding one’s self, again, that, as Sergei said, “it’s not about you.”

I’m mindful, too, of another balm in the form of writing and reading others. For my husband and me, last year’s high point was the wedding of a writing friend. It turned out to be a mini-reunion of writers, teachers, and readers, a weekend of a certain kind of laughter and talk that we don’t have enough of in our day-to-day lives. Being together–physically, on the page, on the screen–is sometimes the writing life’s dividend.

P.S. Richard Kenney’s new book, One Strand River, is scheduled to arrive in January, 2008. Here’s to that.