I picked up the ukulele recently. I’m taking lessons from YouTube. When I mention this creative endeavor to friends, they usually say, “Play something!” or “You should join up with that group that meets at blah blah blah…” I don’t expect to do either. Strumming my sweet little ukulele is purely for me; an activity without a goal. The moment I pick it up I just feel happy. Even when I’m playing Leonard Cohen songs, which I do. I love the sound of his dark lyrics floating above the sunshiny plunk of my uke. I play other songs too: the classic, Don’t Fence Me In, and Kate Wolf’s, The Great Divide. I’ve even attempted some Paul Simon songs. So hard! But my recent favorite is Cole Porter’s I Got the Sun in the Morning. It’s a light ditty written to be sung by Annie Oakley. It’s about being grateful. Every time I struggle through the chords, I reflect on people I know who are facing difficult times, made so much worse by the merry-and-bright expectations of the season.
So this is for you.
May 2018 be kind to you. As the coming days grow longer, may you treat yourself with tenderness and love. May your grief lessen, your cancer cells go into remission, your broken heart heal. May you rebuild your home, which was flooded, burned, or taken away from you in some other cruel fashion. May you remember what it’s like to wake up in the morning, in your own comfy bed, excited for what the day will bring.
To my improvising friends at the Fun Institute, who for over twenty years, every Saturday morning in Santa Cruz, California, have cast out demons by playing wildly, modeling good natured people willing to fail in public, who walk boldly into the future backwards. May laughter find its way to you at least once a day, even if it comes in the form of a sad chuckle. And may you continue to use your talent to make the world a more fun place to be.
And to the writers in my salon, who come together once a week, who by some crazy alchemy turn symbols into profound truth. May you plumb the depths of your being and write with abandon.
And to those of you who have read one of my four novels: Thank you! And may your year be filled with many more wonderful stories—one of them lived by you.
And to everyone else, be you meeting this season with joy or sadness, may this year be one in which you rise up to become your best self. May you be rewarded for your integrity.
Bring on the light, I say. We’re ready.