Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year Musing

'New Year's Day is every man's birthday.' ~ Charles Lamb

Well, it's here, 2014. And I have a feeling it will be a good one, don't you? Sparkly and spontaneous and star-studded and brimming with hopeful possibilities! 

I've been spending the day reveling in the shiny newness this time of year engenders. The feeling of having a blank slate, a new beginning to get going with. I love reading through all the various well-wishes and reflections online from writers and the like. And so here, I would like to share some of their wise words with you to mark this New Year.

First up, I stumbled across this lovely wish from writer Neil Gaiman doing the rounds on Twitter today:


Sentiments I agree with entirely!  And if you go onto his blog (Neil Gaiman's Journal) you'll find more:

'I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.'

'And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple: And it's this. I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something. So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.'

A refreshing point of view to say the least.  And then I came across this piece on singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie's New Year resolutions, an endearing mix of the banal and the sublime:
Woody Guthrie's New Year Resolutions Brain Pickings 

1. Work more and better
2. Work by a schedule
3. Wash teeth if any
4. Shave
5. Take bath
6. Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk
7. Drink very scant if any
8. Write a song a day
9. Wear clean clothes — look good
10. Shine shoes
11. Change socks
12. Change bed cloths often
13. Read lots good books
14. Listen to radio a lot
15. Learn people better
16. Keep rancho clean
17. Dont get lonesome
18. Stay glad
19. Keep hoping machine running
20. Dream good
21. Bank all extra money
22. Save dough
23. Have company but dont waste time
24. Send Mary and kids money
25. Play and sing good
26. Dance better
27. Help win war — beat fascism
28. Love mama
29. Love papa
30. Love Pete
31. Love everybody
32. Make up your mind
33. Wake up and fight

Tick, tick, tick! Here's the real deal alright - 'Keep hoping machine running', 'Stay glad, 'Dream Good', 'Learn People Better' - what could be better objectives to set?  Take that all you diet preachers and practitioners bah!

I can't help but mention a catchy refrain that could be used as a pretty cool resolution too from my favourite band The National. From their song, 'Blank Slate': 'Gonna be a blank slate/gonna wear a white cape.'  Not bad advice eh?! (And while we're on the subject of music, here are two songs I think capture the spirit of the New Year in sound: 'Chicago' ~ Sufjan Stevens and 'Better Days' ~ The Goo Goo Dolls)

Can't go without including TS Eliot's famous words on the New Year from his 'Quartet' piece, saying how the New Year comes with a sort of blank slate. Everything will be different from here on in. We all have a right to a new start.

'For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.'

Indeed.  New beginnings. Blank slates. The gateway to the future opening before us, the past a grey blur, the future gold and beckoning, ripe, prosperous, possible. Goodbye to the old, hello to the new or 'Ring out the false/ring in the true' as Tennyson put it. 

Whatever that may be to you, I wish you well with it. And may all your 2014 dreams flare into being. For as WS Mervin notes in the poem below, they are all still completely 'possible'. Everything is.

Happy New Year, 



To the New Year - WS Mervin
With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible


  1. Siobhan, je vous souhaite une bonne année 2014, en remerciant 2013 de vous connaître, Thibault

    1. Bonjour Thibault, et vous - Bonne Année 2014!

  2. Lovely piece-thank you Siobhan.Woodie Guthrie made me smile -and think!
    Happy New Year to you!

    1. Hi Mary, yes I loved those, set a new precedent for New Year Resolutions don't they!

      Happy New Year to you too & keep up the good work on the blog! :)


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