Happy New Year (And Now)


I’m sending along my New Year’s greeting a day early, because if history is any guide, I might be “resting” most of tomorrow on the couch, watching inane TV while nursing a glass of flat ginger ale. I just wanted to take a brief look at the highs and lows of the year and peer ahead into 2009.

The big event, if you’ve been a close reader of C?WC?, was the solo show back in April. It was, on one level, a pretty good achievement. On another, it led to this latest phase of the Crisis, was the impetus for the sooner-than-expected move back to CT (I was going to pursue a Master’s in history at DePaul but scotched that), and caused much angst about my writing and what I’m doing with my life.

Frank Zappa Cafe in Budapest

Frank Zappa Cafe in Budapest

Czech drill team and majorettes

Czech drill team and majorettes

A decided high point was the trip to Prague and Budapest. While Prague gets all the press, I think we both enjoyed Budapest more. And I have got to tell you, Hungarian women are some of the most exotic, beautiful women I have ever seen. My theory: the centuries of foreign conquest and mixing of many cultures (Roman, Maygar, Turkish, Slav, Germanic, Greek, Roma) have created this bounty. In contrast, the fairly monochromatic Slavic look in Prague got a little boring after awhile. Not that the Czechs don’t have their share of beauties.

Uh, to more substantive topics: One plus of the solo show was getting to spend time with some of my East Coast friends who made the trip to see it. They do not realize how much that meant to me, and how much I value my relationship with all of them.

A scene in downtown Golden, CO

A scene in downtown Golden, CO

Other pluses – a trip to Denver to visit my nephew and his family, whom we had not seen in several years. A few readings/productions of some of my short plays (ignoring the reading of a full-length that I was never informed about; grrr), not as many as other years, but I take what I can get. Getting back on track with work writing, accepting it for what it is – a job I do well and that allows me to pay my bills, despite how tedious it can get. Seeing Stevie Wonder and Sonny Rollins live (no, not together), for free, at outdoor concerts in the city. Wonder in particular was amazing, playing for almost 3 hours on a gorgeous summer day. The friendly blending of races on such a joyous occasion, in retrospect, seemed like a harbinger of the Obama rally that would follow in almost the same spot just a few months later. The election, too, was obviously a high spot, though I would have welcomed almost any Democrat beating any Republican after our long national nightmare that was Dubya. But I know already that Obama will disappoint me and other progressives often, and that is not fun to contemplate (Rick Warren just being one example).

That toddlin' town in winter

That toddlin' town in winter

For the year’s downers: Well, you’ve been reading about some of them here. After making the decision to bag DePaul and go back east sooner rather than later, deep sadness set in. What can I say? I love this city, and I will never recreate the lifestyle that I embraced so much no matter where we end up in CT. Enough said on that. Can’t think of any other major bummers. Small ones – going to my 30th high school reunion. Various inexplicable and lingering aches and pains. Having to buy a new/used car under duress, and not being totally happy with it. Thinking about having to buy a second car when we get back to CT; god, I love the CTA, flaws and all. And of course the global bummers: the economy. Ongoing wars. Corruption and malfeasance at all levels of government and business. The inability to get good vegan pizza in a restaurant.

So, looking ahead, what do I hope ’09 will bring? Some sense of contentment with wherever we end up living and how my life shapes up outside of Chicago. Playwriting success; more specifically, a full production of one of my full-length plays, the publication of any of my plays, the completion of a new full-length. In work, a paying gig for adult audiences would be nice. Fewer pains, for me and all my loved ones. Red Sox wins when I make my last Midwest road trip, to see them play the Twins. A strengthening economy and weakening belligerence, worldwide. And just greater joy for all.

I know what the new year won’t bring – the trip to Alaska mentioned in some of my earlier posts, like this one. Taking off for two months to drive across the country, knowing a move and Samantha’s quest for a job waited for us when it was over, it was just too much potential freak-out for me to bear. But we will make that trip someday, I know.

Paradoxically, one of my greatest hopes for the future is getting less focused on the future. I want to truly live those words of the Buddha I quoted here just a week or so ago:

“The secret of health for both body and mind is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

So, to get there, I have to start now. In this present moment, there is no solo show production, no Europe trip, no piddling frustrations and economic meltdowns. There is no move, no Red Sox game, even universal joy that might be. There is only typing. Thinking. Being. Living. Now.

Namaste. And Happy New Year.


~ by mburgan on December 31, 2008.

One Response to “Happy New Year (And Now)”

  1. Happy New Year!! may 2009 be awesome.

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