Recent Signs That It Is A New Year

Standing in line at the grocery store behind a woman who is hauling one large bunch of collard greens the size of a small child over each shoulder. Her five-year-old tugs at her heels, carrying nearly ten pounds of black-eyed peas. In the South, eating these foods on New Year’s Day will bring health, wealth, and good luck.

Hog Jowls appear in the produce section of the grocery store. Apparently they’re “in season.” I try not to be grossed out when I accidentally knock an entire pile of them onto the floor while reaching for the bananas. Thankfully, they’re shrink-wrapped and can still be sold. “Customer service in the Produce Section please, hog jowls are rolling all over the place.”

Kissing Evan for the first time and finding it difficult to stop, then blaming this on his Italian testosterone and the good fortune of running into each other on New Year’s Day. Later, shuddering at the memory of how he kisses with his entire body, hands, torso, mind. Wondering if this is the beginning of, say, Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” “It Ain’t Me Babe,” or the roller coaster of an album, Desire.

Receiving a phone call from Auntie Loon, who waxes poetic for forty-five minutes about the writing samples I sent her for Christmas. Tapping my pencil on the desk while she asks me questions about “process,” and wondering to myself: Will this be the year that I get a book published? Is it possible to be committed to the memoir and work part time? Should I publish a book of blogs? Will I get into grad school? Should I go if I do?

Next-to-free Yoga classes begin and will continue all winter at the local community center run by a land-share community across the river from where I live. The instructor is a visionary, well-meaning Hindu genius whose style resembles “military Yoga” more than anything else. My muscles ache to think of the first class tomorrow night, for which I am registered.

Two rejection letters with apologies from editors who stutter about being understaffed and overwhelmed because of the holiday season. Two positive replies to queries from editors who, appearing to have taken time off, returned to work today and sent pleasant replies my way via email.

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