Here’s what I got out of 2014: being alive is enough.
If you’re lucky enough to breathe, you can want it, do it, eat it, write it, make it, kiss it, defeat it, be it. For the last 12 months, as the world fell down around us – from Ferguson to Robin to Cosby to Pakistan to beyond – I’ve felt an increasingly desperate and lusty need to live, so much better.
It’s true that I’ve produced less creative work. Like any other year, I kept up on culture and engaged with it obsessively, stalking the perimeters of social media from dawn to dusk and vulturing around art and gossip and pop philosophy. But I didn’t write about it as much, because I wasn’t as wanting inside. My drive to disappear inside a screen has sharply declined. I can’t explain it, but something happened to me in 2014. I suppose I finally happened to me. I started to let myself talk without rehearsing my lines. I gave my heart to exactly who I wanted, when I wanted. I stopped deciding when it was and wasn’t acceptable to be alone. And it happened like THAT (I’m snapping). My brain chemistry just…turned over. Suddenly, being in my mid-20s and searching for a meaningful existence seems like the most brilliant thing to do with my time. And writing about movies and television was part of that; no longer a distraction but the sharpest tool at my disposal.
As an artist of any kind, it’s hard to live a whole year, and at the end, not be terrified that you didn’t make a mark??? It turns out that there are actually no answers to questions like that; questions of self-worth and creativity and identity. You just kind of get comfortable asking questions. You start to like being made up of questions. Who knows if, in 2015, I’ll end up in school, or writing like this for real money, or under a brand-new sky, or rolling over to someone I’d never expect to see in bed? There’s going to be some really amazing and really terrible films and television and music and pop phenomena this coming year. We are all so alive to see it and do something with it, about it.
Let me close this ramble with one of my favorite literary discoveries of this year, a poem called “Style.”
Style is the answer to everything.
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing.
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without style.
To do a dangerous thing with style, is what I call art.
Bullfighting can be an art.
Boxing can be an art.
Loving can be an art.
Opening a can of sardines can be an art.
Not many have style.
Not many can keep style.
I have seen dogs with more style than men.
Although not many dogs have style.
Cats have it with abundance.
When Hemingway put his brains to the wall with a shotgun, that was style.
For sometimes people give you style.
Joan of Arc had style.
John the Baptist.
I have met men in jail with style.
I have met more men in jail with style than men out of jail.
Style is a difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.
Six herons standing quietly in a pool of water, or you, walking
out of the bathroom without seeing me.
– Charles Bukowski
A champagne toast to style, however you give it. What a fucking year it’s been. I can’t wait to see the other side of 2015.
Thank you so much for being part of my written and real life this year. Love to you all.