Monthly Archives: December 2020

2020, well that escalated quickly.

The year 2020 will likely go into the history books as a watershed moment. It was the best of times and the worst of times, all rolled into an escalating cluster* of human behavior. We have dealt with (sometimes well, sometimes poorly) a global pandemic, political gamesmanship, natural disasters, ignorance, picking at old ethnic and racial discrimination wounds, asking what constitutes a sexual identity, personal loss, and public tragedy.

Perhaps all years hold this mixed bag of mess to some degree, but it was our home-bound-ness and reliance on all things social media that magnified EVERY SINGLE THING. I personally began rationing my social media intake around June of this year, just so that I wouldn’t give myself an ulcer – or worse – a heart attack. Given the state of things, I will likely continue that limit well into 2021.

Given that it is the end of this year, I want to take a moment to review my accomplishments and speak about goals.

What I read:

This year, I set a goal to finish reading 10 books. As of this morning 12/30, I have now finished 11 books. While that may seem modest to some, I consider it an achievement. Being on lockdown for most of the spring/summer helped me achieve that number. As I have mentioned before, I tend to start several books at once, then gravitate to one as time goes by. Not the most efficient way to read, but I’ve always done that. Among the titles I finished are The Club Dumas, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Both novels are books about books, and I seem to enjoy that. Also included were a couple of revolutionary war biographies, Benjamin Rush and David Hosack. The longest of my read books were Tune In, by Mark Lewisohn (a biography of The Beatles) and Sarum, by Edward Rutherford.

What I’ve cooked:

Like many in the early days of the pandemic, I started baking more. I like to bake anyway, so it wasn’t much of a stretch. I started my own sourdough starter and kept it going for a couple of months. Alas, that had to come to a close because carbs are not my friends.

I also have done quite a bit of smoking/outdoor grilling. in 2020, I’ve smoked 3 briskets, 3 pulled pork roasts, 2 turkeys, reverse seared ribeyes, 2 spatch-cocked chickens, a beef tenderloin, 4 racks of ribs, 2 batches of burnt ends, and smoked cheese.

What I wrote:

2020 was not the most prolific year in terms of writing. I simply didn’t feel like writing for large stretches of time. I feel like the things I did draft were of a better quality than most from years past, so there’s that. I didn’t submit any of it for publication, as my distaste of publication rejection continues. I strive to get feedback on this site to understand how readers perceive what I write, but WordPress readers are largely lurkers. Among the poems I’ve written this year, I’m most fond of April 2020 and A Violette, and most proud of Now is the Time for Harvests and Torte, with my Father. If you have a moment, please read and leave a comment or find something else you like and let me know about it.

Goals for 2021

My goals for 2021 are wide open at this point. I would like to write more and better poetry, be published in a recognized literary journal, and attend a writing retreat/workshop. I would love to be able to travel again with my wife with no concerns about pandemics. I will continue to cook because I love to eat. I will continue to read because books are a great way to escape into my mind.

To those of you who stop by regularly to read, I appreciate you and hope that you will continue to find something here that makes you think or that you enjoy. I wish you all the best in 2021.

Happy New Year!

Sowing (for Christmas)

It’s all La-dee-dah until it’s go-go-go.

There’s not much spirit unless there’s snow,

Ornamental twinkles in lights aglow

with fa la lahs and the ho ho ho.

And joy and hope and peace are hung,

reminders of a flower sprung

in our midst. Now with our tongues

the joy, the hope and peace are sung.

Yet those upon this world are tired.

Each and every age transpired

without the love and peace desired,

despite the joy and hope that’s squired.

Though darkness settles, spends the night,

morning always brings us light.

Thus we hope. Our homes bedight

with ornamental air alight.

And in this yearly journey shown,

though some desist and some bemoan,

mankind’s joy and hope are sown

and Love is sprung again and grown.

Scratching Frost

Ahead of my steps in linear course, 
the shovel scritches back and forth
- a sound that scatters with the snow
and bits of debris ground below.

As I amble across the drive
the scratching noise itself derives.
A haul gets tossed to the edge,
bits fall wayside, marking a ledge.

This song in concert with my walk
could not be heard with snowplow squawk-
rumbling in the cold grey air
tossing snow, making bare

the concrete surface on which I stand.
The scraping by a shovel in hand,
the detail frost and snow aligned,
showing what I've left behind.

And as the chore has come to close
I look back at the path I chose.
Leaning on the shovel there,
snow still falling everywhere.

The best way out is always through – Robert Frost