What I am doing this New Year’s Eve is reflecting on what was my word for last year.
All my writerly friends choose a word each year, but it’s never been my thing, perhaps because I lack the gift of prophecy. But here’s what I do have—the gift of hindsight. Oh, blessed hindsight! How great thou art!
Looking back, I think my word for 2014 was joy.
If someone had told me “joy” would be my word, I would’ve balked. I was nowhere near joyful last New Year’s Eve. More like utter despair. But the following day around 7 a.m., I received an email that put the word “joy” front and center for the next 12 months. Here’s part of the email:
“And, really, I need to talk to you about writing a book for us. I already have the title. And the cover. I believe you might find the title ironic, considering the poignant nature of your relationship with poetry.”
The book-to-be’s title? “The Joy of Poetry.” So on New Year’s Day, I signed a contract to write a book. I turned it before the busyness of writing Wacoan of the Year (thanks again, Chip and Joanna Gaines!). Now the book is being edited and made fit for human consumption.
Although 2014 was not a particularly joyful year — not at all — writing the book was what gave me joy. It forced me to use all my non-magazine-writing-and-editing moments to put together something about the joy I find in poetry, and those moments were indeed joyful. Some of those moments were only snippets. There were days I had to look real hard for even a smidgen of joy.
But I always found them. No day was lower than New Year’s Eve, 2013, and for that, on this New Year’s Eve, 2014, I am filled with joy.
Other things that gave me joy?
- Discovering George Strait’s music.
- Rediscovering Harry Potter via the audiobooks.
- Editing a friend’s manuscript that was so dang funny. It comes out in March. Stay tuned!
- Baylor football at McLane Stadium.
- ESPN’s “College GameDay” coming to Waco.
- Our dear friends on Sandalwood for hosting us for every game and for Baylor move-in.
- The beauty of northern Idaho and northwestern Montana.
- Trader Joe’s tea.
- My best friend, who always knew exactly when to call.
- Empty-ish nest. It made the homecomings all the sweeter.
- Going to parties and events with my husband. It’s been years since we went out and had fun together.
- Our Teams of Our Lady group, and especially the night of spontaneous mimosas.
- I already wrote a column about it, but I sure do love my new white Ford Focus hatchback.
- “Les Miz” at Fredericksburg Theater Company. Another subject I’ve written a column about.
- The “joy” notepad designed by Kevin, age 7, at MD Anderson.
- A live Christmas tree from Walmart that didn’t die on me.
- Renewed love and gratitude for all my Drummond relatives, especially in this time of grief.
- That talk with my cousin on the front porch at Drummond Thanksgiving.
- I read some really great books this year, including “Monday, Monday” by Elizabeth Crook and “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman (both contemporary fiction), “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier (more recent classic), “Pastrix” by Nadia Bolz-Weber (memoir), and “Book of Hours” by Kevin Young (poetry).
- Leigh’s cranberry tea, which she only brings to yoga once a year.
- And finally, for all the poems, especially the many lesser-known ones delivered to my email each weekday by Every Day Poems.
Whatever you are doing this New Year’s Eve, I wish you joy.