The Best That Is In You

 

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Downtown chalk graffiti.

These are good words for a new year. Resolutions are dodgy things, but the notion of being true to the best that is in you seems like an excellent mantra and intention.

Ever since I was a cynical middle schooler, my New Year’s resolution has typically been not to make any resolutions. This year is no different. Still, it’s tempting. The new year stretches out bright and shiny ahead, full of possibility. It makes me want to change things, to overhaul myself, to deep-clean the house and write a million stories perfectly the first time.

But sometimes the new year starts with a head cold and a sick kiddo and the fear of nuclear annihilation and your kitchen being colonized by mice with exactly as much decency and restraint as world leaders who think it’s appropriate to joke about nuclear annihilation. And things immediately don’t feel shiny and they definitely aren’t getting deep-cleaned any time soon, except for everywhere a mouse has left evidence of its existence. Those places are sanitized within an inch of being completely destroyed.

In the past, despite my resistance to resolutions, I’ve always had hopes. I have spent the past several January firsts hoping that the new year would be better than the last, for everyone. Hope is a wonderful thing–a necessary one–and I’ll continue to cling to it, but I need more this year. This year, I need intention. Not resolutions–not checklist boxes that can either be smugly ticked off or become little square containers for guilt. Intention is a different beast. It’s more powerful. It can falter, but it can always be recovered. It can even be put on hold and later resurrected, if necessary. And it’s not something that can be checked off. It simply is.

So this year, instead of hoping for goodness and magic, I am going to make them. Instead of wasting an ounce of energy hoping to make a breakthrough into a writing career, I am going to make my stories the best they can possibly be and I am going to send them into the query fray knowing that I have done all I could do. I am going to stop just passively looking for magic and start making it. Time for a spellbook. Time for potions. Time for runes and rites and rituals. Time for witchy goodness of the first order. Time to dig out the stories that have never (yet) quite lived up to their potential and alchemize the bejeebies out of them. Time to get braver than ever before and write more short stories, submit them, get rejected in new ways and learn new lessons.

Time to be true to the best that is in me. Magic, you are on notice. I am coming for you. With a pen and a laptop, in my wellies and mittens, in the foothills of the Alleghenies and the mountains of the moon.

It’s time.

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