I love celebrations of all types. They help make life worth remembering, and worth living. This past weekend, a very good friend graduated with her Masters in Fine Arts degree and it was so wonderful to watch her walk across the stage in front of her peers, family, and friends with her nervous yet proud smile firmly in place, her 2016 tassel swinging. It took her many years and many alterations in her life’s course to get to that momentous walk and I’m so proud of her for arriving there and I very much look forward to other fantastic things she’ll accomplish with her life and her art. After the graduation ceremony, she marked the occasion with wine, a gathering of loved ones, and the sharing of good food.
Just as she’s celebrating, I am too. This year, I marked my fortieth birthday with a solo, month-long trip to Thailand. I threw a party for the 10th anniversary of my first novel, Bliss. And now I’m getting ready to celebrate the release of my fourteenth full-length novel, Rise of the Rain Queen. I’ve even been recently celebrating my new outlook on my writing career as I’ve decided to do more than just survive in the industry. More on that next month, though. All these occasions to commemorate feel incredible, even impossible, as I write them down because, in so many ways, I still feel like the naïve and flighty twenty-two-year-old who moved to Atlanta without any clear idea of what she wanted to do with her life. Those days, along with the four years of college before that, seem like just yesterday.
In college, every weekend felt like a celebration. After tackling philosophy classes, dorm life, and sex with a woman for the first time, a party was an absolute necessity for many of us undergrads. Dancing among the palm trees in the middle of campus, trying new foods, even mid-week congratulatory masturbation sessions after finishing a paper were just a few forms my merry-making took. These days, things have slowed down quite a bit but acknowledging triumphs, and even tragedies, is no less important. As adults, our lives move so quickly that marking its moments with celebrations has been a way to slow time down just a little, and also to create moments of sweetness that will stand out in our minds once these moments so quickly become memories.
It’s also important to honor the lives of those who’ve left us too soon. That’s the most difficult celebration of all. The unfolding of this year has brought about unexpected and devastating community and personal loss. We must remark on and remember Prince, David Bowie, and Dr. Kesi Moore-Shaw, people who’ve touched our lives in different ways and continue to be sources of inspiration and melancholy as we feel the absence their deaths have left in the world. We share our experiences of them, we miss them, and we honor their lives.
Today, I celebrate my first post as a regular blogger at Women and Words. Thank you to the folks who’ve made room for me here on this luscious blog, and thank you out there for reading my words. You’ll be hearing more from me soon.