I'm going to extend the lyric, "So this is Christmas, and what have you done?" and point it at New Year's Eve and myself. What have I done this year? I've been lost.Upheaved. Uncertain of where I should be going, at my fine, ripe age.
I had this experience once before. Such is the penalty for living longer than one should, probably. In the arc that was my twenties, I found myself lost, almost unable to speak, every circumstance an opportunity for awkwardness. I was independent, labouring under the illusion of absent obligation. Somehow, I couldn't manage to form the right words, to be the right person, to make any difference. So, I quit. I started again. Now, I'm in the same exact spot. Perhaps this is cathartic evolution, how it's done. The difference is that today, I don't care. I won't be writing a song about it or waxing philosophical. It's enough that I understand even when no one else does, or knows or cares.
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to simply say f*ck it. Not enough to insult, but enough to not allow anyone or anything to stop the force of survival from defining one's direction. I just don't have enough time left to thoroughly analyze whatever "it" is - such analyses serves no real purpose except mental masturbation, in the end.
I spent the last month sorting through what turned out to be 27,000 images spanning seven years. I've been taking pictures since I was ten years old, but those are all lost, except for one picture on my daughter eating a giant cotton candy when she was about two. It's a very good picture. It's all I have of her from that time, having lost all my other work to her mother's uselessly vindictive nature. That's fine, I guess, since it would have been another 30,000 pictures to go through. I also have a few snapshots that had been tucked into a book of me and the band in Berlin, thirty-some-odd years ago. It was a shock to seem them so young compared to how they look now: grey, greying, a creased reminder of the road I did not choose, out of fear, mostly, though I coated that over with bravado and the faux maturity twenty-somethings are sometimes wont to project. Those images remind me that the accumulation of experience is ongoing as long as one has the cognizance to do so and that the past, though lamented, should not be lost to memory alone.
Tonight, I spend New Year's alone, quietly sorting through the last of my most recent shooting expeditions, drinking an inexpensive California Zinfandel in conservative quantities, and I realize that I have found a path and that is that I don't have a soul but that I am one. All the things that I am and all that I have done haunt me but are me and will no longer be denied. It's not so bad being alone tonight. I have my thoughts, for now, and I have my dreams and my memories. I remember you and you and you, too. It's quiet here, very quiet, except for the dog occasionally rousing himself, huffing at the door despite my reassurance that there is no one there. I open the door to show him, but he seems unsure. I understand. He sees what I see - ghosts and hopes and time trodding steadily past, one sullen footfall following another, whether there's anyone to hear. I pat him and calm him and he goes to his bed. I wait and work, no longer expecting the phone to ring, no champagne to pour, nor drunken drivers to avoid. It's okay. It's meant to be. It's better this way. I'm fine. Really.
2012 can go to hell and all the rest of it, too. Re-do, just like 1965. Happy New Year, bitches.