So, yeah, 2016 has been a crap sandwich on rye. Hold the onion.
I think you can agree with that. Most would. I think it all boils down to Reality. I capitalize “Reality” in this context, because Reality is an entity all its own, a fierce, nasty, ghoul of a thing that haunts my very existence. I loathe it. That’s why fiction and fantasy thrill me so. Think of it—Star Wars, Harry Potter, Stephen King horror, DC Comics, Playstation, Xbox, Marvel, ghosts, magic—all of these things, these worlds, far more wonderful than our own in most cases, are places where we can escape the bitterness of the Reality before us.
I spend much of my time in these places. It’s why I write. To me, nothing is more immersive than diving into a world that you yourself created. You can pick the people, the personalities, their characteristics, their situations, and their fate (though “fate” sounds grim, when you put it that way). I love doing that initial plot pass, that high-level review of how the story will go, leaving all details to chance, only to be discovered along the way.
This need, this desire for something beyond Reality, is one thing I believe has caused 2016 to seem so dismal. Look at the celebrities we have lost. I know some folks find mourning celebrities rather insignificant given the status of things in Reality, but celebrities aren’t part of Reality. The loss of the players who show us the worlds we prefer is quite momentous to those who depend on the fantastic. For me, there have been significant losses this year: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and that’s just to name a handful who have passed on. I hate using the term “died.” I don’t like it. I don’t like the finality of it, because it is rooted deep in the soil of Reality. As a matter of fact, I wish that once we said our final goodbye that we would disintegrate into a plethora of sparkling particles, or flower petals, or butterflies, like the noble passing of the wise elder in movies. To just fade away into something beautiful. You have to admit, it would save a helluva lot of money in burial expenses.
But to continue, as these people have bid us adieu, I have not been able to keep myself from feeling an overwhelming sense of loss, loss from that artistic world, that perfect space that belongs only to us Bohemians. I’ll admit that when I found out Prince was gone it nearly flipped me out. And it’s surreal to feel that disconnection from someone that you never knew in daily life, that slight sting of mourning. You feel silly, in a way, but at the same time you feel a little lost. Take these souls who are now gone and wrap that in the pompous, political crap-slinging fest that was shoved down our throats the entire year, and you have the prime ingredients for the sandwich in my leading sentence.
But a new year is dawning, and with a new year comes new hope. Like the majority of America, I’m not too thrilled about our forthcoming “leaders.” As a matter of fact, I try not to think about it too deeply lest I scare the wits out of myself. However, I have arrived to an approach that I am hoping will work for me this coming year, one that I hope will bring me peace of mind. I plan to work on the things that I can change, and to pray for the things I cannot: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
So, I urge each of you to enact change where you can. If you see wrongdoing before your eyes, don’t just stand there and capture it with your smartphone. Act. Now, don’t charge in like an idiot and get yourself hurt—people be crazy—but do something. Get the store manager, get a teacher, go to Human Resources—don’t just refuse to be treated like less than a human being, demand it. One’s freedom stops precisely where another one’s freedom begins, after all. I think in this coming year it will be up to each and every one of us to be responsible for this, to be responsible for each other, because no one else is going to do it. Like they say, be the change you want to see in the world. And we can do that, it is within our power.
In 2017, we may not be able to stop those who would imprison us from leading us to the jail, but we can certainly refuse to be locked inside. This coming year can be what we make it. Make it beautiful.
Peace, faith, and love, y’all.
Happy New Year!