From the Editor: January/February 2023
I’ve always loved beginnings. Whether it’s reading the opening pages of a new novel, taking a deep breath in the morning and settling down to the comforting sips of my coffee, or hearing the word “Momma” from my teenage daughter at the start of the day, I sink into those firsts, knowing the same exact moment won’t be repeated again. Witnessing the ending of one year to the start of another is the quintessential definition of “beginning.” Many gravitate toward making resolutions, but I’ve shied away from this practice. I typically adopt a word of the year. I’ve embraced the words laughter, grace, pause, mindfulness, and begin in previous years. This singular focus helps redirect me in a way that is gentle, but full of direction.
Beginnings signify a chance to try a different course or reflect a renewed sense of purpose in a personal or professional endeavor. I’ve realized, though, especially in midlife, I don’t need to wait until the start of the year to embrace a new habit or set a goal. External markers of time have become less important, especially when there are more years behind me than ahead. Beginnings can occur whenever I choose. In 2020, before the pandemic hit, I pursued a walking streak—a commitment to walk outside every single day for the remainder of the year. In 2022, I decided nine months into the year I’d like to read poetry to help set the tone for my day. I read Mary Oliver, Victoria Chang, Maggie Smith, Billy Collins, as well as Ada Limón. Every morning, these words created a metaphorical beginning because the prose resonated with me in a way that was unexpected.
A part of me wonders what would simmer to the surface if I had waited to start my walking streak or reading practice and coordinated these pursuits to some external metric of time. I suspect it would feel like a missed opportunity. We are told to sync our lives with a calendar, only beginning at the start of the year, month, or a particular week. But, instead, why not allow ourselves to start when we feel the most ready? Why wait until NaNoWriMo to generate 50,000 words in your novel? Or keep delaying writing or submitting that essay until next month?
It’s liberating to know you can begin any time you decide. Permission isn’t needed. We hope that you give yourself space to pause and read the latest issue from Literary Mama and it pushes you to pen your novel, essay, or short story at the start of January—or even in February.
It is empowering to know beginnings can happen any time of the year. Not only for me, but for you too.
Rudri Bhatt Patel
1 reply on “From the Editor: January/February 2023”
Thanks to you, I Just reinstalled my Poetry Foundation app and took a spin. “Poems about “Joy & Celebration appeared and I read Elinor Maxwell’s “Pop” with pleasure:)