The Prompt: To Be Resolved—We’re entering the final days of 2014 — how did you do on your New Year’s resolutions these past 11.75 months? Is there any leftover item to be carried over to 2015?
It isn’t my fault that my storybook’s still
thirty-two pages piled in a hill
next to the scanner on my kitchen table.
I’ll get it formatted when I am able.
Right after I glue all this beach stuff together—
each seashell and heart stone and pelican feather—
to make a Yule tree, then to make a Yule altar.
For weeks I’ve worked on them. Never did I falter.
Then I had beach walks to do, daily swims,
tequila to drink as the sun slowly dims.
Everyone gathered to put down the day
and bring on the night time. What more can I say?
A Saturday writing group, dinner with friends.
Of new obligations, the list never ends.
Now it’s two days till Christmas with parties to go to.
And a party to give that no one has said no to.
And so I’m not sure how many will come
I said “bring your friends” which I fear was most dumb.
It seems that I really don’t know how to do
a party where I only ask just a few.
I don’t know how much food or know just how many
napkins to buy. Plates and cups? How uncanny
that I haven’t planned this thing better this year.
I’m not only slipping—I’ve lost it, I fear.
My thought streams are verging on, “Hey, what the fuck!”
I don’t know how many are bringing potluck
so there may be no food and not enough booze.
This party I’m giving may be a real snooze.
And right after this one are three potlucks more.
I think that it calls for a trip to the store.
I must clear out my house once I am able.
Clear all of my art projects off of the table.
Hide my computer, relocate my scanner,
put up more Christmas lights under the banner.
There is so much for this writer to do
that I fear it will take one more week, maybe two
to format my book both for Kindle and print,
for somehow, my time has just got up and went.
This retreat to make time for my book has been taken
once more by busy work, book tasks forsaken.
But right after New Years, I swear they’ll be done.
No more excursions and no more beach fun.
I’ll sit at the table, right there in my chair.
I’ll chew on my pencil and worry my hair
and get this book formatted. Then get it sent
off to the printer so I can say “went.”
Instead of “will go” when all my friends ask
the state of the manuscript, stage of my task.
“I’m finished!” I’ll say. “Glory be, I am done!”
And I’ll feel less guilty for swimming and fun.
Then I’ll start in on the next book or two.
It won’t be hard, for there’s nothing to do
to distract me or keep me from doing my task.
Nothing to go to. No one to ask.
Except for my writers’ group, Friday night dance,
and a trip up the coast, if we have a chance.
The art show where I said I’d show a few pieces—
a ” few” obligations? The list never ceases.
I guess the truth is that our lives are made up
of what we must do and what we give up.
The irony, though, of the whole situation
is that it’s a matter of choice and duration.
The more tasks we find that we just have to do,
the more that we put off the remaining few.
I guess it’s a case of just fitting in
who we will be with who we have been.
That I keep on writing’s important because
I’d rather write “is” instead of put “was”
in front of “a writer” for the rest of my life;
but also in front of a friend, sister, wife.
For if we don’t put off living, doing and seeing,
the best stories we write will be tales of our being.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may all your resolutions be met.