thoughts on the new year: the bounty of friendship, the dearness of Caribousmom

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

We celebrated New Years Eve with truly beloved friends, as we now do each year.  We choose a restaurant halfway between our homes, in a town called Skippack.  We talk students, dance, Hollywood, art, travels, books, life as it is and was.

The bounty of friendship.

In so many ways the year now gone terrified those of us who love this country and care about the rising class of dreamers.  I am vulnerable and incapable, often.  I have not learned what I can do in the face of national and personal tragedies, congressional cacophony and faulty machines.  I have lost my faith in the sanctity of theaters and classrooms.  I have worried about weather.  I have felt sickened by conversations that stopped far short of anybody actually listening.

I have wanted to make room.  I have asked myself how.  I have asked myself questions.

Why are we screaming so much at one another?  What is the payoff of cruelty?  How can we push a man into the path of an oncoming train?  How can we survive the gunning down of children, of teachers, of people watching Batman?  What can we do for the friend who has lost a brother far too soon?  What can we say when illness happens, and when it returns, when jobs are lost, when everything is so preposterously uncertain, when the storms sweep in?  When we don't know and we need to know?  When there are people relying on us?

We can, I think, be kinder to one another.  We can be more trustworthy.  Less self-indulgent with our anger or our needs.  Less quick to correct or accuse, humiliate or shame.  More aware of the connections between people and things, and how easily—pushed too far, intruded upon—they're broken.  We can surround ourselves with the bounty of friendship, and it is this bounty, and the love in my own family, that sustains me, that shows me how.  It is this bounty that I am particularly grateful for, on this first day of this new year. 

Earlier this year, Wendy Robards, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a caretaker, one of the smartest readers of books anywhere, a quilter, read an early copy of Small Damages and began to make a quilt that captured the colors in the story.  When it arrived I was astonished.  Since it arrived, I have shown it to every single person who comes, sometimes I show them twice.  It is symbolic, this quilt—bright, particular, personal, and made and given out of love.

Today Wendy has posted her favorite books of the year, and, Wendy being Wendy, first provides incredible reviews of a truly stellar collection, then finally names Small Damages as her favorite read of the year.

A tree grows for you in my heart, Wendy.

Love to all of you in 2013.


Wendy said...

Beth - you write so beautifully and as I read this post, I found myself nodding at your observations, your fears, your questions. I feel so honored to be your friend, to read your words, to be touched by your generous heart. I hope 2013 is better for us all and that it brings more understanding, and answers to questions that seem so difficult to ask. Wishing you and your lovely family peace and continued friendship as we move into a new year. xo, wendy

bermudaonion said...

I would show that quilt off too, if I were you. Happy New Year, Beth!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Wishing you blessings and light in the new year.

Melissa Sarno said...

That quilt and your words are really perfect today. I have great faith in people and their love and kindness -- even, or especially, this year. Happy New Year, lovely Beth. xo

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Thanks for sharing a bit of your life, compassionate heart and thoughts, Beth. I know that we can make this world a better place by amplifying our own love for one another. Congratulations on the success of Small Damages! How rewarding that your writing inspired another creation.

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

This is so beautiful, Beth. I share your tears, your frustration, your fears, your compassion, and also the feeling we often have of just not knowing what to DO to help someone else, or someone we don't even know or have never met and probably never will.

Sometimes all we can do is let our hearts ache for them and pray for them and wish them strength and light and compassion from others who *are* nearby.

SMALL DAMAGES was probably my favorite YA of 2012, too. I'm so happy for your success. Don't stay away from writing for too long, either!

Last of all, thank you for your kind and thoughtful notes to me over the loss of my brother. This has been one very tough year, especially the last month.

Wishing you the very best of new years. xo

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