Reflections on 2007

Whew, it's almost the end of 2007. I feel like I should be listening to that 1980's Europe song, "The Final Countdown"! Can't you just hear the synths?

When I lived in Chicago I spent a bunch of New Year's Eves down at the Hyatt on Wacker Drive. I'd roll in there, all nineteen or twenty years old of me, wearing jeans and black Dr. Martens. I'd sit in the bar drinking coffee and eating strawberry cheesecake, enjoying watching all of the sparkling, glittering people.

It always seemed like there were way too many folks desperate to have a good time but looking like they weren't enjoying themselves so much. There was too much pressure put on the evening. And truly, no evening can measure up to all that hype.

One year I was really mischievous and...shh...I stole two packs of cigarettes and some cash out of the pockets of a drunk I found passed out in the hotel hallway. I don't know why since I don't even smoke.

Alas, times have changed and I stayed home on New Year's Eve last year. The first moments of 2007 found me dancing in my living room with my sons while watching one of my favorite bands, AFI, play a cover of Blur's "Song 2" on MTV.

It was definitely a rockin' start to 2007. In fact, it wouldn't be far-fetched to say that 2007 is one of the best years I've had in awhile. It's the year I got a life again.

I started to dream once more. I got real friends again because I stopped saying I was too busy. It's the year I realized that I don't get along well with people who lack integrity, and that's okay.

I tried some new things this year. My friend Jenny taught me how to make sushi. And I went to my first professional soccer game. Yes, I saw David Beckham play...and lose. Too bad. But he looked good doing it. Thank goodness for binoculars.

This is the also the year I got back into reading a couple books every week. I revisited old favorites like the book a whole bunch of us wish we'd written, Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye". I always felt like this book does such a heartbreakingly good job showing what racism does to people on a psychological level. Sadly, society frequently ignores the psychological effects of oppression, and I need to be reminded that I am not crazy when I feel the way I sometimes feel, when I see the things I see.

I also fell in love with new novels such as "The Journal of Dora Damage" by first time novelist, Belinda Starling, who is now, sadly enough, deceased. And on the flip side, I finally read Phillipa Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl" and really, I just do not understand the hype. I felt empathy for neither Mary nor Anne Boleyn. The whole time I was reading it, I just wanted to sing this classic house tune. I know. I'm gonna be struck by lightning.

I've done lots of writing this year, which is probably why 2007 ended up being such a happy year for me. I took another writing class, got my first paid writing job and did my best in both NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. Most of this fall has seen me tapping away on a keyboard, meditating on what should happen next and jotting down the scenes and dialogue that come to me. I've also written a boatload of total crap, but that's okay because I feel like I'm getting closer to something profound.

I definitely stepped up my eavesdropping game. I overheard some really crazy things this year, particularly in Starbucks. In case you weren't reading this blog last January or February, here's a couple of posts that make me smile a bit every time I read them. This one details an attempt to spit game gone wrong and this one is about a couple of confused, girl crazy teenage boys.

One of the best things I did this year is deciding to stop straightening my hair. It's been six months since I straightened it and I'm not missing being attached at the hip to a flat iron. Interestingly enough, since I first wrote about this back in October, I get more search engine hits to my post about doing my hair in a straw set than any other topic.

It goes without saying that music was huge for me this year. According to my iTunes play count, I listened to "Cities of Night" by Blaqk Audio a whopping 739 times this year. Actually, come to think of it, that's only since mid-August since their album wasn't even released till August 14th. I also made a custom ring-tone of this track. Obsessive, I know, but when I like something, I really like it. I write to this song a whole lot so if I listen to it 50 times in a row on repeat, it just sort of fades into my subconscious and things flow from there.

I also saw Blaqk Audio perform live back in September at the Mayan in downtown LA and it was a fantastic show. I was only a few rows back from the stage and it was so much fun. I'm still so surprised that the opening DJ posted in the comments on that entry, mad that I didn't like his set. He's probably made a voodoo doll of me by now.

My other favorite show of the year was Muse. Folks are always so shocked when I say I went to go see Muse. It's like they look at me and assume I only listen to Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton. Um, no. I love those two but for real, roll with me, get ready to rock, m'kay? Here's some footage from the Muse show I went to. Totally off the hook, particularly if you fast forward to the 3:27 mark. See if you don't do a little head banging too when you listen.

In case you weren't feeling it, my husband was right next to me having the WTF moment on your behalf.

On New Year's Eve last year, I wouldn't have predicted I'd end up visiting New Orleans' 9th Ward back in March or that I'd be so inspired and moved by love and loss that I'd write a sonnet for the first time in years.

On the other hand, I haven't been surprised by all the dancing around Barack Obama's racial identity.

And I'm not surprised that we have a media that overwhelmingly ignores black women who've disappeared while making white women acting a fool in Hollywood the center of the universe.

Who could have predicted the Don Imus debacle? The Jena Six? Michael Vick? Every baseball player under the sun taking steroids? And that the Iraq war would continue to drag on?

I take that last one back. The war dragging on was pretty predictable.

And finally, as 2007 draws to a close...

Thank you to everyone who read this blog over the past year, and I especially thank all of you who have engaged me with your comments.

Thank you for those of you who encouraged me, prayed for me, and challenged me to be a better person than I was on December 31, 2006.

Thank you to everyone who pursued truth and wasn't afraid to tell the truth. God willing I will see you tomorrow in 2008.


Jameil said…
glad i found your blog! yay!!
Mes Deux Cents said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mes Deux Cents said…

Thanks for writing your blog, it has been a great addition to my life.

To you and your family; Have a happy and prosperous 2008!
Tami said…
Happy New Year, Liz. I greatly enjoy your writing and your blog, and I look forward to more from you in 2008.
Liz Dwyer said…
I'm glad you did too! You always make me smile so I'm glad you come over and visit!

That's so kind of you to say! '08 is starting off wonderfully so let's see what it has in store for us all!

Happy New Year to you, too! I enjoy writing this blog so I'm glad others enjoy it as well1
Happy New Year, Liz, to you and your family.

Your blog has become a daily gift in my life, beautifully wrapped in language that excites, moves or delights me.

Thank you.

I look forward to reading you in print and announcing to everyone in the book store that I knew you when.
Jon said…
Thank you for being you.
Ian Lidster said…
Have a wonderful year, you and your lovely family, dear friend.
Anonymous said…
I wish for you in this coming year, good health, happiness, understanding and success in your career.
Your writing is more discerning than the average Joe and your style is nice and concise, entertaining in a wickedly poignant, wry and whimsical way! You have that certain x factor when communicating the souls intentions that all good researchers of the Truth have.
Doubt and criticsm sometimes can throw you off your track but trust me when I tell you that you are on the right track and in 2008 all your efforts will come to positive fruition where the outcome will be beneficial to you and your family!
Mystic D
Liz Dwyer said…
Thank you for saying so. I hope you know the feeling is mutual, especially about me wanting to read YOUR future novel! :)

I'm trying to be me, not always successful at it, but getting more comfortable in my own skin.

Thank you. I have a feeling '08 is going to bring lots of change, and I know every year brings both tests and difficulties as well as the amazingly happy moments so I'm curious to see what's going to happen this year.

Mystic D,
You're right about the doubts and criticism sometimes throwing me off. How do I overcome that? I do feel strongly that I am on the right track but it helps to hear someone who knows me say it as well. Blessings to you and yours likewise.
Jen said…
And thank you for your wonderful insights, humor and honesty. I so love reading your blog! Happy 2008 to you!

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