Because the small joys of our lives often get away from us and because they pass too quickly, I’m here to say a word for the importance of small ceremonies.
When something good happens to you, I insist that you must, in your own way, commemorate it. This might mean sitting with your good news and quietly sipping a very cold glass of water. It might mean having lunch with a friend. You might buy yourself a single flower. You might buy yourself 3 bottles of small, inexpensive, sparkling rosé.
We have a funny history that my friend Kimmy can attest to, since each time this happens we have a good laugh about it together. It’s laugh or cry, often, in the hashtag artist life, let me tell you. But almost every single time we’ve gone away on a trip, we’ve come back to news of a big rejection for this or that. These days, of course, we even get the bad news during the trip, thanks to technology. Sometimes we’re home for a day or two, and we start to feel we’ve cheated fate, but oh no, there it is. A phone call maybe, an email. In the old days, we’d go to the mailbox at the end of the street and collect our rejections, big and small. Well, writers and artists know very well the feeling of dashed hopes.
It’s not like they wouldn’t have happened anyway, odds and probabilities being what they are. But the timing! Really.
I tend to put my faith in hard work, but we all know that there’s some element of luck to winning awards and to getting grants and to having our book published in a timely fashion.
We don’t have to believe in luck at all to celebrate those happy moments, to save up a few happy thoughts, for those more luckless, mundane times.
by W.S. Merwin
In the cards and at the bend in the road
we never saw you in the womb and in the crossfire
in the numbers
whatever you had your hand in
which was everything
we were told never to put
our faith in you
to bow to you humbly after all
because in the end there was nothing
else we could do
but not to believe in you
still we might coax you with pebbles
kept warm in the hand
or coins or the relics
of vanished animals
not binding upon you
who make no promises
we might do such things only
not to neglect you
and risk your disfavor
oh you who are never the same
who are secret as the day when it comes
you whom we explain
as often as we can