Here it is. New Year’s Day. Another year wrapped up and a new year beginning.

…the new year is a blank page…

I’m still working through disposing of my old journals. It’s an interesting project, although it has tended to be a bit more emotionally engaging that I’d ideally like it to be. There are a lot of opportunities to make a willful point of letting some small bullshit detail go. Choices to be made to put down some baggage. I shred page after page, poignant moments, moments of rage and disappointment, moments of frustration and doubt, moments of discontent and disillusionment, moments of profound insight and great delight…memories of love and anger, and bearing witness to the passage of time.

Sometimes it’s necessary to let something go before I can truly begin again.

I’m glad I found so many little sketches. Saving those matters to me more than the words I’d written about whatever events they captured (or were inspired by). Some of these, though, were done on the reverse side of a page I don’t care to preserve… those I photograph, before shredding the page. They’ll live on as a digital image, now, and nothing more.

“Glow Opera Ballerina”, 5″ x 7″ ink on paper, 1999 – shredded.

I’d inserted various bookmarks and objects as placeholders between the pages of some volumes. Photographs. Notes. Love letters. A CD-R. Wait…what? A CD-R? (I wasn’t even certain we had a media reader that could read that, after all this time.) The name on the disk was not particularly revealing… almost as if intended to obfuscate the contents from casual view. I asked my Traveling Partner if we had a means of reading a CD-R? We did. Taking a look at the contents without opening any individual item, it was pretty clear this was a disk that would do best to join the various journals on the path to destruction. I thought to shred it, but… the shredder wasn’t happy about that choice. My partner suggested microwaving it for a couple seconds.

Unreadable by intention.

There were quite a few other interesting items in the bin with the journals. Old manuscripts, never finished. Individual pages of poetry that had been scribbled on napkins, note paper, or legal pads. Correspondence I have saved over the years – letters from my Dad, from my Granny, from old friends, and a largish manila envelope of the letters exchanged with my first husband while I was away at war, both his to me and mine to him. Some of this I’ll no doubt keep, but I’m starting to view some of this old stuff – explicitly anything to do with my first husband – as a sort of malicious “horcrux” (if I may borrow that notion) that has the potential to continue to be toxic for my day-to-day experience of myself, just through existing. Maybe it is time to destroy all of that, too. (I kept it for years because I was fearful I might someday need to prove what I’d been through.)

Old manuscripts and correspondence will need attention, too, another day.

It’s a lot to process. I think the commitment to getting it done as part of my individual new year’s celebration keeps me from getting overly involved in the raw emotions poured out onto these pages, at least a little. So many pages. So much rage and hurt and sorrow. Yeah, I definitely don’t need to drown myself in the hurts of the past – quite the contrary. It’s time to let it go. Page by page, volume by volume – this project has been overdue for a very long time, and it feels like quite a relief to finish it.

What about you? Are you ready for a new year? A new beginning? New practices, or resuming useful practices you’d let fall by the wayside as time went by? Will you be making a big change?

…Are you ready to begin again? I know I am. 🙂 Happy New Year!