“Hello darkness my old friend.” Paul Simon sang "Sounds of Silence” at the funeral for a teacher killed in Connecticut, and in this month of bad news, it feels like the song of the season. Darkness is not just about light, it’s also about weight. And these are heavy days, with more to come surely ahead.
And yet, as I look back on a fraught year, I see that, more often than not, I’ve sided with the poet who wrote “How bright a light there must be to cast so dark a shadow.” Little domestic moments are my sun; I revolve around two women who see through me (The child: “Writing is just your hobby. Your job is being annoying.”) and yet, in their tough love way, cherish me. I see the compromises so many people must make to hang on to a salary; I’ve been lucky enough to have quiet days in a maid’s room doing challenging, occasionally satisfying work. And, far from least, there’s this site. I loathe message boards --- they attract trolls and troublemakers --- but I love the e-mail exchanges I have with some of you. You encourage me, prod me to deal with your favorites, correct me and, when I'm most pressed, write pieces for me. Thank you all. My cup runneth over.
I’m not one for Ten Best lists. Videos are the exception. The tug of the music is immediately apparent. Or, when there’s no music, the emotional appeal. We’re too busy to give time over to them during the working week, but maybe over the holidays… So here they are, in order.