My experience of the year just past as it unfolded, immortalized by three familiar faces:
Okay I’ll tell you — when you get to be my age and are presented with a Christmas cloche that comes to a perfect pixie peak — you just slap it on your head and go with it.
Who knows what will happen this year? I have a feeling it is going to be pretty awesome.
“Surely not as awesome as your hat, Ms Lester?” I hear you cry. Yes, even more awesome than that — for all of us!
Now, now, I am not pathologically chipper. I’m using awesome in the old-fashioned way, that tricky way our language has where a word can mean both inspiring and daunting. Because, in that way, isn’t every year awesome?
I recently read a letter from a friend who lived in Manhattan when she was young. (For more on that visit the inimitable Lost in Arles.) I think the experience was both inspiring and daunting. She was the one who worked at night, auditioned by day, and caught a few brief winks (when she could) in her triple bolted walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen. She ran with the club-kids, a gallant group of young men who (perhaps because they were flying high on Ecstasy) didn’t think to escort her home through the deserted streets of Manhattan at 4 a.m. Do you know she describes these walks (she was young and couldn’t afford subway fare) as serene? She was the kid who experienced, expressed, and adventured.
I was the kid who stood watch — so while others were gamboling, gazing as the stars wheeled above, or talking to raccoons (these ecstatic interludes took place in the canyons) — I would be catching a contact buzz and making sure everyone stayed hydrated. Funny, now that I mention it, I stood watch over a crew of boys. If I dig around I can probably find a Polaroid of a few of us dancing under parachute silk. Why we were in possession of such a thing, I have no idea.
In a certain way, what writers do is stand watch. They observe and then retreat to someplace quiet and jot everything down. I was planning my retreat somewhat late in 2014 — before I got waylaid by very minor injuries and very major holidays. So now if posting becomes sporadic you’ll know why, I’m remembering a narrative I’ll shape into another novel. Something, no doubt, that has to do with navigating through Hollywood, with or without a parachute.