In the drudge haze of morning light at Stillwater I’m actually thinking: how about a freeverse poem, gang? In lieu of real insight? The island is disintegrating from top down as we speak. In lines dash moisture in its many forms, straight to the street. With the sleet comes the reminder that I’m not really a poet. And I’m not really as lazy as I sometimes believe. So – groan – the extraction commences! I keep a hat filled with possi-prompts on my person at all times for just these cases! A random drawing from this allots me the following tools with which to BLOW. YOUR. MIND:
-the current Broadway production of Peter and the Star-catcher
-Charles Bradley, who has no time for dreaming
-a letter to Judd Apatow I keep wanting to write that is so far sans dire content*
-New Years Resolutions!
-the Rocky movies
On Thursday night we were all trying to write our New Year’s Resolutions, not least to fill the empty hours in our empty bar. Lists grew extravagant quickly (hey! Just like the snow today!). We ended up just writing recipes to become the catalogue-cool versions of ourselves. We discovered that these ultra-selves loved the gym, and these ultra-selves were capable of ordering spinach salads at soul food restaurants. These ultra-selves never ate take-out in bed or allowed whole weekends to kneel before extended marathons of ‘whatever just got added to Netflix!’ Ultra Brittany specifically is a neat cross between all of my favorite lady characters from literature and film and television and then someone very real and very serious, like her majesty Queen Elizabeth. In all resolutions toto, U-Britt is so impossible, so far from me – why, it makes my stomach hurt.
So there’s the rub with these gosh-darned NEW YEARS resolutions – they can simultaneously make you feel energized and completely inept. When making that list of all the things you think you could do to improve your own (and hopefully others’) happiness over the course of the next year, the lacks are highlighted bright. Lacks are in the headlights, crushing in their scope; with the yin of ‘I pledge to be a pennypincher!’ is the unuttered yang of ‘I spent most of my savings account on concert tickets and boxed wine this year!’ (or whatever). A better example is the promise “I resolve to be a harder worker!’ paired with what many of us have by now learned is our greatest built-in hindrance – “I have an incredibly lazy and self-destructive side!” So New Year’s is actually a war holiday, methinks. New Years is the time to pit our failings against our deepest wishes and dreams, our brief, fiery gumption. And depending on a combination of just how hard on yourself you are and how much stock you like to put by holiday traditions, the very day itself can have the power of a particularly poignant metaphor. How you spend New Year’s, how you contemplate and plan your resolutions – that is who you have been to date. Who you are.
So do you plan to win, on the first of the first? What will you be doing? Are you really gonna kowtow to your most terrible friends and “try the Times Square thing?” Or will you stay safe and warm with loved ones, high above the debauchery at sea-level? Will you be alone? At work? Mainlining whatever poison you’re planning to rid your body of forever in just a few short hours? And will you kiss someone, during those crucialest of crucial sixty seconds? The actual tick-down to midnight, as everyone knows, is capable of representing a lack so profound and upsetting…then again, hopefully ye readers are comparatively well-adjusted and sane, and frantically hunting for someone to have been in love with during 2012 for a peck’s sake is not a high priority. People that’s true for: this is going to be your year. I can feel it.
To prepare for my own new era, I spent the past few days comment-narrating a lot of epic movie marathons on my parent’s couch and cramming my face with Christmas cookies. You know, just to stock up before Ultra-Britt stops eating them forever. Then last night, I went with Mama Bear and Sister to see ‘Peter and the Star-Catcher’ on BroadWAY. Themes have emerged: have you ever really noticed the comfort inherent in the totally derivative under-dog story? For instance, in ‘Starcatcher,’ the bold and lively Peter Pan of modern myth is made a whiny prequel fussbudget, yet to reach his glorious peak. He’s an orphan and a victim, but he’s also the only one in his way: the play says that all Peter needs to pan the globe (weak…) is confidence and PANache (solid!). Likewise, in every single one of the Rocky movies, the underdog formula works its magic with increasing improbability. Rocky begins as a podunker from the Philly ghetto. He’s got a great stride but sheesh, kid can’t even open his mouth all the way. Yet when Sal Stallone is one hundred and eight I nearly believe he can floor Dolph Lundgren? WHAT? Now don’t even get me started on Lord of the Rings.
I submit that people like the underdog story so much because they can paint themselves into it, easy. For don’t we all think we’re an underdog? While also the the hero of our own narrative, a diamond in the rough waiting to be discovered still by either Hollywood or Soulmate or Simon or Schuster? Yet if New Year’s is doing it’s job correctly, it ought to draw attention to the ways in which you specifically have been in your own way. Your failings are truly yours, just like your ambitions. Like a lot of your triumphs. And we’ve well established how very daunting it is to reconcile what we know should be done with what we’re all presumably capable of doing… but if there’s any day to run full-speed into the gap, it should be New Year’s! So on December 31st, my life is more than a day. My life is a movie. The hero is me, and ditto the villain. In twenty four hours (or however long it takes to get to that Bushwick party and back) I will begin my brand new Ultra Life with activities befitting an Ultra Self. Success with this mission portends a tremendous 2013, one in which I defy all of my own expectations.
I resolve to fill New Year’s with great music, even if this makes me a DJ bogart.
I resolve to fill New Year’s with misadventures worth retelling OR incredible adventures (which of course cannot really be planned for).
I resolve to spend New Year’s with my family (urban).
I resolve to wear a fabulous outfit, and possibly shoes I will regret deep into the night.
I resolve to be brave! I resolve to run at [the party] with all the reckless aplomb of the original Rocky in the ring with Apollo Creed! I I resolve to put my head and heart on the line, and never let looking or feeling foolish obstruct what could be fun or forming.
I resolve to listen to people while talking to them, as opposed to looking for reflective surfaces behind their head.
I resolve to be compassionate and care for my fellows – even if this means being the hair-hold-backer [sic?]
I resolve to not go to bed early. I resolve to stay awake and alert, I resolve to work.
I resolve to break a sweat.
A day is a lot more manageable than a year, si? To fail against yourself in parcels is already a step beyond sinking before a manufactured enemy. Therefore, I wish you all an equally ULTRA intro to 2013. Keep me posted. And to that peculiar holiday combo that is perceived invincibility vs defeatism: I have made my choice. It seems very obvious, in fact. Invincible people are above the pedestrian, free of hang-ups, graceful with defeat, tolerable blowhards. Invincible people meet all of their goals. If I am my enemy and I am invincible, you do the math.
RISE, HEROES! WE SHALL NOT GO GENTLE! BETTER DRAMATIC, ALWAYS! HAPPY FUCKING 2013! Let your party (or non-party!) be the change you want to see in your life!
*I will get to this later. I really will.