Inching Toward Simplicity: Pragmatics and Prose

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Resolution Solution

CT readers: Sunday, January 13 at 4PM is the new “snow date” for my reading at Burgundy Books in East Haddam. Here is a link to Author’s Track, a site on local readings and signings. (See lower right for the Get Satisfied reading. The site also links to Burgundy Books.)


In the interest of simplicity, I propose boycotting yet another “to do” list, this time in the form of 2008’s resolutions. I have chosen instead one philosophical perspective to aspire to, embodied by a quotation (see Prose below).

I hope these quotation sites spark some genuine inspiration and motivation that extend far into 2008.

-Of course, some quotes on simplicity, from
-It all boils down to just living thoughtfully day to day. has several great quotes on the business of living well.
-Make this year a more creative endeavor! Follow your includes a collection of creativity quotes.
-Just for fun, here are some quotes on the New Year itself from the Quote Garden.


This has been a hard season for me, the kind where I feel I’m doing everything right and everything still goes wrong. I wrote in early autumn about complicated families, and this last entry of 2007 could very well be part 2 of a long-running series on the topic.

But I know that it is time to regroup, a concept the New Year’s holiday uniquely champions. Stopping to think back on the last month, even with the formula of usual holiday stresses + family problems = near insanity, I am grateful to recall several windows in time that offered comfort and joy, just like the Christmas carol says.

Both Christmas Eve and Day were graced by family walks, a budding tradition I relish much more than gifts and meals. The Eve found us strolling around unseasonably warm Essex, CT. Gavin played on the mini-beach that joins Main Street with the Connecticut River. We fed the gulls, ducks, and geese. Tom popped into a store for some very last minute stocking stuffers. We were refreshed by the cool air and the smell of the river water. Christmas Day dinner was capped by a walk in Chester. All of the stores were closed, of course, and the silence on the street, only our footsteps to interrupt it, was a treasure.

My sister also struggles with these family calamities, and sent me the gift of appreciative words in the middle of a chaotic week. She shared the visual clarity of a berried shrub peeking out of the Vermont snow, a big silver bucket of cranberries at the ready for the holidays. These words of appreciation reminded me that there is always beauty to be found.

I want a quotation to center around, words that summarize what I want and need for my New Year. There are so many sophisticated words to choose from, wise insights from great academics and scholars, sweeping poetry verses that quicken my pulse. But I keep returning to a fluorescent green index card that seems to repeatedly resurface around my house. One Sunday at church, the 4th through 6th grade class greeted each attendee at the door with a neatly handwritten card. Their project had been to choose and distribute quotations to the congregants. I was given one from Aesop’s Fables:

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.

There’s simplicity for you. It is difficult to embody gratitude when times are stressful, and yet I know that this message is key for me this year. It looks backward at my childhood love of the character Pollyanna; it looks forward to the sort of writing I want to do and the kind of days I want to spend. And for today, it centers me on all that I have, versus what is lacking.

Wishing you the happiest of New Years.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home