There is this challenge:
I have eighteen minutes before I have to be somewhere, and thus an hour and eighteen minutes before I have to start writing a major piece of autobiographical prose that I must finish this week for professional reasons. Which means that, as is too often the case, even a milestone post is going to get squeezed. But here's how it's going to get squeezed: I decided earlier that I would write something tonight about dreams and hopes, in keeping with the revelatory effect this practice of daily writing has had on my life. Lately, I've been listening semi-obsessively to Erin McKeown's song "Air," among whose strangest lyrics are the lines "Hope / it's the one thing science will prove / what you don't have hope for you lose / evolution is what you choose." Now, I know that that's a scientifically bankrupt set of lines. Evolution is absolutely not what we choose; that's the point of evolution. But putting the bad science aside, I think she has a point about not-hoping and losing. So I wanted to write you thirty words each about ten of my hopes. And this truck in the Kroger parking lot this evening encouraged me in my plan:
However, now (especially since I'm wasting all this time telling you what I'm going to do, instead of doing it) I don't have the requisite time to count my words and make sure that there are 300 when I'm all done. So instead, I'm just going to give you ten high-level hopes I'm holding for myself. I'm not wishing for these things. I'm just expressing them in the hopes that having said them aloud will help some of them come to fruition. Some of these are for the next year or so; some are longer-term. I should also note that lots of things in my life are such rock-solid baselines that I have not mentioned them here: I always want to spend more time with my family. I always want to be a better, more reliable friend. These are constants.
One. I want to publish something creative. I have a maelstrom of a book in me; it's coming out in ekes and starts, little by little; I want so much for it to be something attractive to other people once I've crafted it. I want other people to read it and then just want to keep on reading whatever they can get to next.
Two. I want to fall in love with someone excellent who will love me. No more one-sided, unrequited crap; I've had enough of that for a lifetime, I think. I want someone who wants to be in a mutual admiration society with me. I want something ferociously wonderful.
Three. I want to start taking piano lessons again. I quit when I was 13. It was my teenage rebellion. I regret it.
Four. I want to finish my critical book. About this I have little else to say.
Five. I want to start cooking on a regular basis again. I made a start tonight with a huge vat of pasta for the week.
Six. I want to spend some good, long time beside an ocean. Preferably in a building with a sea-facing window and a window-facing desk.
Seven. I want to see a glacier and some mountains. (I am in need of a sublimity recharge.)
Eight. I want to become a homeowner. (This one is a longer-term goal, though not if my neighbor has anything to say about it: he's started pushing Knox County real estate on me this week.)
Nine. I want to read everything. I'll settle for Romola and Proust for next semester, though. Well, no, I won't. But I'll start there and see where else I can get.
Ten. I want to go dancing. This desire is tied up with my second one.
Lo and behold, I've got 300 words after all, according to my word processor. So: that's our somewhat attenuated celebration.
And I'm only five minutes late.