Sunday, January 3, 2016

Resolutions -- and Observations

It sounds foolish and old-fashioned to make “New Year's Resolutions,” so here goes:

One is to keep writing columns. (Three columnists quit writing columns this year. I'll miss their voices.) Yesterday I heard an old phone-message from a lifelong Cruces resident I've never met, just thanking me. There are people who told me confidentially of being treated badly by powerful people. After investigating I gave voice to their pain and sometimes even improve their situations. So I'll keep doing this awhile. 

In 2016 I'll welcome criticism and people who contradict me. That'll be an easy one to keep: contradiction is more entertaining and potentially more instructive than praise and thanks, although the latter helps keep me going.

I'll savor each moment of life – and keep in mind how much there is to savor here: the recent magical snowstorm, and the birds and hummingbirds we helped survive it; the sand-hill cranes with whom we spent Christmas morning, in the Bosque del Apache; a community of people I care about; mountains I can't take my eyes off at sunset; playing pickleball at Meerscheidt Rec Center; Chope's Habañero's, and La Casita and other great eateries; First Friday Art Rambles, but also off-the-beaten-track galleries like Art Obscura; a Farmers' Market full of good people (careful in their work, warm and welcoming to us) and good food (local, fresh, healthy); the Fountain Theater; the Progressive Voters' Alliance monthly meetings, where people concisely (two minutes and an alarm goes off) tell us what they care about; Milagro's, Spirit Winds, and other local meeting-places; and our unique history and culture.

I'll keep learning. I'll play less Sudoku and watch fewer sports on TV, but read more of what interests me.

I'll continue to try to help our community talk to itself about things that matter, and I'll hope we can do so (despite PACs and recall hustlers) frankly and openly, and without rancor, understanding that none of us has a monopoly on Truth. I'll try to help Radio K-TAL facilitate discussions.

I'll use less water, less gasoline, and less electricity. Even though larger entities use way more of everything, the more I can diminish my own “footprint” the more comfortable I'll feel about writing on this subject.

I'll learn more about our local water predicament and about my own role in climate change (or global weirdness), with a hope of helping articulate the situation in ways that we can actually hear. And act on. 

I'll continue writing strong criticism of public officials, but not lose sight of the fact that we have a surprising number of capable, competent, diligent, and honest officials here. 

I'll jettison many activities that may be inherently good or worthwhile but distract me from my main purpose in life: to create, with a camera or a pen, the best images and stories and poems I can.
I'll listen more often and more carefully to readings by skillful local poets like Joe Somoza and Dick Thomas – and try to slow down more often and just watch and listen, opening my mind to whatever wants to visit it.

I'll be a better husband to the incredible wife (and editor) I've somehow been lucky enough to marry.
In 2016 I'll lose ten pounds. (Once, as a tailor in Perú measured me for a suit, I instructed him that I usually weighed less. Then I asked him how many people, as he measured them, advised him that they were about to get back down to their normal weight. He answered that pretty much all of them did.)

Anyway, enjoy the new year. Live it fully!

[The above column appeared this morning (Sunday, 3 January, 2016) in the Las Cruces Sun-News and will appear shortly on KRWG-TV's website as well.  I invite comments or questions -- here, on the the Sun-News website under "Opinion", and/or on KRWG's site under News.Local Viewpoints.  Thanks for reading!]

[I'd also resolve to write fewer "political" columns, but I'm always hoping to do that and can rarely manage it because folks with power continue to abuse it, and I can't help commenting on that.  At the same time, we have some surprisingly good local officials in the mix.]

[We also have a newspaper that's seriously trying to do a good job, despite difficult times -- for all of us, but also for newspapers.  The Sun-News tries to report events fairly and let a real variety of other voices speak through the paper.   It's neither as left-wing or as right-wing as critic on one side or the other allege.  The Sound Off caller the other day who said the paper shouldn't replace Mr. Harbison with another nut-case like Peter Goodman doesn't understand what the paper is trying to do.  The paper is actively seeing a good CONSERVATIVE columnist to replace him, because they want all points of view expressed.  Mr. Harbison tried and failed to get someone to step up, and maybe co-write with him for awhile before he quit.  If you're conservative and can write, apply!  And don't blame the Sun-News if it can't find a good conservative columnist locally.  Blame conservatives who can't write very well or don't dare apply for some reason.  If you do apply, (1) try to write clearly vividly, and not too academically or generally, (2) try to do some research, and not merely in places you know you'll agree with, (3)  EDIT what you write to make sure we'll all get the point, and (4) be prepared for and welcome criticism and contradictions, and view personal attacks as amusing ways of saying you're doing a good job.]

[And have a good 2016!  And help your family, friends, and neighbors -- and the rest of us -- have a good 2016, too.]

[Oh, and one other note: if you're interested in the new community radio station, KTAL, look for confirmation of a January 16 get-together in which folks can share ideas with us, suggest shows, hear what we've been planning so far, and (I expect) see our new studio, though it's not a studio yet -- and we will probably sign the lease Monday or Tuesday.  I'm not supplying the address yet, because we can't be certain, but I think it's 10-12 or 10-2 that Saturday.]
Desert Snow --                                  © pgoodmanphotos

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