It’s been a long time since I’ve made a New Year’s resolution. I like the direction my life has taken (for the most part), and at least for now, I’m more interested in seeing what’s ahead on the path I’ve chosen. That doesn’t mean that I’m not still intensely curious or that I want to stop exploring. To the contrary; life only seems to be getting more interesting and sometimes it’s all I can do to remind myself that I have time; that God willing, I’ll make it to one hundred, because that’s how long it’s going to take to do all the things I want to do. Near the top of my list? Doing more with my hands, actually making things, which might sound like a resolution if I’d just thought of it. But I’ve been mulling over this desire for a while now, in part, I think, because for years I poured all my creative energy into writing Queen Sugar. Cooking, gardening, music, even photography, have all taken a backseat to writing. But as I turn the corner with this novel, I’m looking forward to discovering how else I might express myself creatively. I always admire artists who can do more than one thing: writers who play an instrument, painters who write poetry, chefs who knit.
I called my friend, Robin, yesterday, to wish her a Happy New Year. Robin is a wonderful writer, but she also loves to sing. She was telling me about a music project she’s working on with another poet and how they’ve started performing in public. She’s having the time of her life. I could actually hear the deep satisfaction in her voice.
So, as I look ahead to 2013 and ask myself what else I might want to do that’s creative, I think it’ll have something to do with food, the earth, and of course, with Louisiana.
My dad used to tell stories about people in his town coming together to butcher a hog. The men would kill it, clean it, and hang the carcass in the smokehouse while the women made chittlins. I don’t remember him saying how often people killed hogs, though I have a vague recollection of him saying they did it special occasions. I thought about my dad when I came across this video today and as I watched, I thought, “I’d like to do that . . . or at least I’d like to watch someone else do that.”