Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Oh, Kaye!" - A New Year's Wish from Me and Neil Gaiman

Happy New Year, Reds!!!

I hope everyone had a good holiday season, and I wish you all a Happy 2013. 

It was a busy holiday for us.  Christmas here in Boone with my mom, then a long drive to Birmingham for Christmas with Don's family, and then a drive to Meridian to our nephew's wedding and all the accompanying wedding festivities.  Perfect!  Everything was lovely and perfect.

And now it's back to reality - no more Santa for a whole year, no more magical weddings for a while.  But I want you to know one thing.  I received Christmas cards from some of you and they touched my heart.  Reine, YOU made me cry - but in a good way, so thank you.  I had planned on sending cards, but it was one of those things that didn't go as planned, but you were all in my heart.

I hope 2013 is a year of joy and a year of peace for each of you.

Before I say one more word though, I need to tell you my buddy Margaret Maron, is at Meanderings and Muses today so run by there and say "Hey!"

Now - - - this is one of the things that, to me, keeps "magic" alive.  Writing as perfect as this.

From Neil Gaiman's Journal -
Lifted in total from right here:

Because it is one of my favorite pieces of writing ever.  Most of you are already familiar with it, but it's just one of those pieces that will touch us each time we read it, I think.

They're Mr. Gaiman's words, but they're my wish for all of you also.

"My New Year Wish

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.

And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.

And it's this.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever."

This is something I reread, without fail, every year at the beginning of the new year.  It thrills me as much each reading as it did the first time I read it.

It fills me with hope.  With confidence.  And determination.

How 'bout you, Reds - is there a particular piece of prose or poetry that you read for inspiration? For the magic it brings you?  Do you have a particular favorite time for reading it? 


  1. In the opening of The Big Sleep, as private detective Philip Marlowe leaves the rich man's estate, Marlowe accuses the butler of making a mistake. The butler says, "I make many mistakes, Mr. Marlowe." I quote that scene at least once a week. It's my life story. Ha. Hope I didn't make another one with any recent comments. I also have a big mouth. Have a great year, Kaye, and all Reds and fellow commenting crew!

  2. For true inspiration, Helen Steiner Rice’s “Climb ‘Til Your Dream Comes True” . . . Anything by Robert Frost, particularly “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “The Road Not Taken” . . . Daffodils by William Wordsworth . . . each are touching and inspirational in their own way. The Gaiman piece has that same magic . . . .

    Wishing everyone all the best of everything in this new year . . . .

  3. Jack, you remind me of me! I've been known to get myself in a bit of trouble from time to time with my mouth (if you can imagine that).

    As far as mistakes, well - if we don't make mistakes I think that would mean we're just not doing anything - and how sad would that be? Sad and boring.

    Happy New Year to you!

  4. Joan - Happy New Year! I'm a big fan of Robert Frost.

    My poetry reading is a bit different than my fiction reading where I have favorite authors and gobble up everything they write. When it comes to poetry, I find I don't necessarily care for everything written by a particular poet - except for Robert Frost and only a very few others. Yes - Magic!

  5. Every New Year's Day I reread my favorite Emerson quote..."Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
    Happy New Year!

  6. I like to read Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" all about how to be a good, strong person. When my brother graduated high school I gave him a copy. Hope he follows the guidance.

  7. Mistakes. Check check check. Nice choice, Kaye.

    Yes, I do have a piece of writing that has inspired me. It's a children's story by Carl Sandburg (in his collection Rootabaga Stories) called "Three Boys with Jugs of Molasses and Secret Ambitions."

    A little snipped from it: " And a secret ambition is a little creeper that creeps and creeps in your heart ... " It's about wishes and secret ambitions. Love the language. Love the sentiment.

  8. Carleen - GREAT quote! One I was not familiar with, but it speaks to me. Loudly. Sometimes I want to shake people who I think are not allowing themselves the joy they could find if they would ONLY quit hanging on to old "stuff" that they can't change. Thank you!

  9. Jennifer - Oh my. "If" is a beautiful piece of writing, isn't it?! Timeless. I hope your brother follows it too, what a perfect gift.

  10. Hallie - "Three Boys with Jugs of Molasses and Secret Ambitions." I'm not familiar with this, but this title is enough to make me grin from ear to ear and rush off to find the collection!

    (this is fun!)

  11. Love this, Kaye. It's far better to err and go on, than to obsess over the erring. Which is something I tend to do, although I'm trying to change that.

    The poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, seems to help, though. Once you've passed that point, there really is no turning back, no do-overs. Might as well either get it right the first time, or just accept the direction you're headed.

  12. Carleen,
    I love that bit from Emerson and I haven't read i before. Thank you!

    Kaye, I just finished a 21-day SKY JOURNAL story I wrote for the Boston Globe that will run Tuesday. It's all about an experiment I did to lookup and really "see" the sky each day and how the sky inspire and transform you. THere was a big movement in the 70s and 80s behind this and actually, a lot of federal funding. At any rate, I'm taking my inspiration from the sky itself these days.

    More light (as all sky enthusiasts sign off)

  13. What a great post, Kaye! I love the Neil Gaiman and have reread it a number of times, but it's the sort of thing I think I need to have tattooed on my forehead. Maybe that will be my resolution of the new year:-)

    And Carleen, I LOVE the Emerson quote and have never read it. What's the source?

    Jan, Sky Watchers! How cool is that? I do try to look at the sky every day. It's weird to say it's a grounding thing--maybe a "settling" thing. Puts life in perspective. Can't wait to read your article. Will you post a link for us?

    Oh, and Happy New Year to you all!

  14. Karen - I agree, it's so easy to obsess over the erring. It's something I worked very hard at getting over many years ago when I realized the one thing I was obsessing over really was holding me back. Once I was able to put it aside forever, it got easier to put the smaller things aside. And you know - it might not "all" be small stuff, but a surprizing number truly are.

  15. Jan - I'm looking forward to reading your Sky Journal - it sounds fascinating! I have never heard of this movement and wondering where my head was to have missed it. The sky is a very big inspiration to many in my photo group. They're able to come up with some of the most amazing cloud pictures, and one person says she has an obsession with the moon - I don't know about obsession, but her moon photos are some of the most gorgeous I've ever seen.

    Do post a link for us for your article, please!

  16. Debs, you trendy devil, I knew you'd end up with a tattoo! ;-)

    I love that you try to remember to look at the sky every day. I don't think I'm as "aware" as I should be and am going to start trying to practice this myself.

    I think the kind of settling you feel from it, may be the same sort of peace I get from looking at a huge body of water. Endless peace and the ragged edges of my soul seem to smooth themselves into place.

  17. I have always liked the quotation from Henry David Thoreau, "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." And from Tolkein " Not all that glitters is gold and not all who wander are lost."

  18. I love Neil Gaiman and especially this commencement speech he gave, which is going to be made into a book soon.

    Most of all, I try to remember these words from that speech. "When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician -- make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor -- make good art. IRS on your trail -- make good art. Cat exploded -- make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you're doing is stupid or evil or it's all been done before -- make good art." --Neil Gaiman

    And I often rmeind myself and Ben of Eleanor Roosevelt's statement: "If you've learned from it, it isn't a mistake--it's a lesson."

    Happy, happy New Year to all of you!


  19. Oh, Kaye, wonderful!

    The poem on my bulletin board is Ithaca--it's about enjoying the journey.

    I read Frost, too, The Road Not Taken. "I took the road less travel'ed by, and that has made all the difference."

    Oh--I never thought about the connection between the two. Huh.

    And the Tao De Zhing. "What is a good man but a bad man's teacher?"

    Hallie, is that where "Come and Find Me" come from?

  20. Oh, Jack, that's fabulous. I'm going to find that right away.

    And Jan--wow. That's wonderful. Hiatus or not, you MUST tell us about that!

  21. The Emerson quote is hard to pin down. According to James Elliot Cabot's Memoir of R.W. Emerson, it was from a letter written to his daughter who was away at school.

  22. Eileen - "Not all who wander are lost" is one of those things Don Barley will say to me on a road trip when we've taken a wrong turn.

    Linda - I am thrilled to hear about this book - Thank You! Yay!!!

    Hank - on my way to find the poem "Ithaca." (and I'll wonder later why I didn't get any writing done today!).

    And thank you, Carleen!

  23. I love Robert Frost also. For soul healing li like the The Four Quartets of T. S. Eliot. Truly beautiful.

  24. Dearest Kaye, I love reading your posts. They are a warm and comfortable place. When I need a little magic there you are, calling me to Boone.

  25. These woeds I go to frequently. Always restored and mesmerised by them
    If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
    And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left
    Sell one, and with the dole
    Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.. A Persian poet who lived about 1184-1291

  26. Dear Anonymous, regarding hyacinths:

    On my first trip to Paris, in March of 2001, we were walking about a block from the Luxembourg Gardens in a soft drizzle. There was an increasingly strong fragrance that I somehow associated with the color violet, and it turned out to be a mass planting of hyacinths.

    It certainly fed my soul, and continues to do so, whenever I remember it.

  27. Hugh Prather's book, Notes to Myself, got me through the last year of college, a time that included estrangement from my parents, epilepsy misdiagnosed as a behavioral problem and therefore untreated, and cancer surgery that left newlywed me unable to have "my own" children.

    Two years ago, Hugh Prather and his wife Gayle moved into the house behind us. He died before we had an opportunity to meet. For Christmas that year Gayle gave me a copy of Hugh's new book, Morning Notes: 365 Meditations to Wake You Up. Although his entries are undated, I started reading one each morning starting on January 1st.

    They are not brilliant thoughts, or beautiful. They do not make me feel good about myself, or bad. They give me a reflection that follows me throughout the day and allows me, in a very simple way, to notice my interactions with life and the the people I share it with. In this way I go forward. I do not become stuck. I move and keep on. I don't give up. I give in, and I give out.

  28. Amazing, Hank, I didn't even realize it until you pointed it out. Yes, it IS where Come and Find Me comes from...