Look Up

It is New Years Eve, and soon the publishing world will return from its two-week hiatus and get back to the business of publishing books. But first there are party hats to wear and champagne to uncork. Myself, I have never been a New Years Eve sort of guy. It’s not unusual for me to be awakened at midnight by the sound of fireworks, and think, “What the hell is going on?” only to remember, and then return to the pillow. But if you are a reveler by nature, I say revel on. Champagne was meant to be drunk, fireworks to be exploded.

Noise is great sometimes, the great hurrah of life, but every cheer and ka-boom is defined by the silence that surrounds it. Just as every painter knows that a picture is as much the search for empty space as shapes and figures, so too every writer must search for what not to say. It is a great relief, all those words we needn’t write, and our gift to the reader. When we see that so little can do so much, we remind ourselves that the whole of life exists within it’s smallest parts, and that what is felt always exceeds what is expressed.

Tonight the fireworks will be lit across a canvas of empty sky. The stars will have to relinquish their stage for a time while we fill the night with noise and light. Look up, if you’re there, and if you’re reveling, revel when the fireworks have ended. There is the gift of the night: a canvas that can never be torn from its easel. The lights draw your attention where it always belongs, toward that which can be made in this or any new year.

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