Friday, January 02, 2009
New year, new page
New Year's Day is when I feel like spring cleaning, clearing the decks, starting a new page. The day the Christmas decorations - the few we had - look out of place and come down.
I'm glad Christmas is over, I find I like it less and less every year. I noticed every year the news is full of death, war and disaster and this year was no different. I joked with Mark on Christmas morning that we'd hear of some celebrity dying and I didn't have to wait long - in fact we had two this year (Harold Pinter and Eartha Kitt). The announcement of the end of the ceasefire (what! it had an expiry date?!) between Israel and Palestinian forces ensured a high body count and tragedy was ensured by those bringing their fireworks to the New Years Eve party. Christmas and New Year are never, to use a Norwegian phrase, 'cucumber time'. Last year Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and who could forget the Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. But I stopped joking about it when I heard about a death closer to home - an elder brother of Alex's friend was knocked down and killed by a driver in Kuwait on Christmas day. An elder brother of Paul's friend was killed in an accident some years ago too, in Dubai, so hearing about second mother losing her child was, well, there aren't really words to describe it.
I've always found it strange that we celebrate a birth at the end of the year. Birds and animals don't give birth when there is no food for their young. And the date is odd. Not quite a week until the start of the year and there are those in-between days to fill - too long to spend with relatives but not the time you feel like going back to work either, so no wonder everyone heads for the shops! The sun is still at the lowest point on the horizon in the Northern hemisphere, animals are hibernating (and I would to, if I could) so the whole thing feels unnatural. If there is a God, he's definitely a man, because he blatently ignored the advice of Mother Nature, and we all know she's always right!
Last year I watched an interview with Terry Pratchett in which he said that justice doesn't exist. It's something humans have invented, it doesn't exist in the natural world. Sometimes you hear or read things that you know instantly you won't forget, and that got me thinking over the year about the way our brains are easily fooled and manipulated by ourselves and others if we don't contantly question. Like justice, hope must surely be another human construct. It's positive, unlike worry, but still just a state of mind and pointless without action.
So, as usual, I'm not making any resolutions. They are, like the famous quote about second marriages, 'the triumph of hope over experience'. Although, I wouldn't go so far as Homer Simpson and say 'trying is the first step to failure'! I've been thinking about what I have and haven't achieved over the last year and the new things I'd like to try this year. I had hoped to record, with my pencils, more of my environment but it was more hope than action. When I took those photos from my last post, I realised that I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself to draw everything when taking photos was just as much fun, and a great deal faster! I didn't question why, but it was old outdated thinking from the days when I used to see my drawings as some sort of testament to my purpose. Who really cares? When you're gone, you're gone! So this year I'm going to focus less on 'hoping' and more on being realistic, staying positive (there's the rub!) and 'doing'!