Updated: Jan 23, 2021
20/20 was a shitty year, a cataclysmically shitty year. For billions.
In countless ways, the year that I'd naively imagined would be a year of "20/20 vision" was so very brutal and unforgiving. It lay bare our frailty, tested our resolve, and forced us to question our very priorities. And lest we think anyone, anyone was spared, we need only look around us to see that not a corner of this planet has remained untouched by the ravages of this deadly virus. Covid did not and does not discriminate, wreaking illness, heartbreak and loss upon families, communities, and countries, forcing us to think hard about our fragile existence and question all that we hold dear.
If Covid has taught me anything, it is that human beings are resilient, resourceful and responsive. Front line workers--nurses, doctors, EMT's, teachers, grocery store workers, delivery people and so many more--have worked tirelessly, sometimes giving their lives to help those in need, even as our legislators and politicians made denials, slow-walked and created conspiracy theories, then turned an absurdly deaf ear to human need. Despite all that, we have thousands of frontline workers to thank for showing us the way forward despite the obstacles before us. They have continued to stand strong, with courage and resolve, fighting the silent monster hiding in the shadows. And along side them have hunkered the scientists, researchers, technicians and manufacturers who took up the mantle to create vaccines, without which the world would not be feeling a sense of possibility on this New Year's Day.
Like so many, I experienced days and weeks of fear in 2020 when I worried that my wife or children might become sick or even die. As with others, our family experienced times of great uncertainty. It's been a mess and we are all still untangling from the wreckage.
But there have been a few notable anchors that have helped me stay buoyed upon this tumultuous sea of questions, significant among them my art practice. Since I was a boy, my art has been my sustenance, my survival, and my savior. This past year, my creativity entered overdrive and helped keep me centered, offered solace, and provided much needed time for meditation. My art became my therapy.
I emerged from 2019 with the first draft of my mythic novel, "Bewilder," complete and ready for revisions (https://www.kingbewilder.com). As the weeks sequestering at home dragged on through April and May, I began to sense that there was a bigger, more universal vision for the "project." The story is more than the tale of a commoner King who learns about the wisdom of listening to our hearts, gaining humility, accepting the friendship of strangers, and believing in the power of love. It became a roadmap of sorts for my own future, a way out of my personal darkness. Most important, this project is now a tangible gift I will leave to my two children, and perhaps one day it may even contribute to a more universal societal change.
As with Bewilder, hope and possibility for any of us can be found in the most unexpected of places. It can come from a heart cracked open as easily as from utter heartbreak. It arrives upon the loss of a dear one. It appears the moment one affirms and accepts that he or she is no longer young, welcoming the emergence of elderhood. And it can show up following the loss of a fortune or a friendship to say: "Time to begin anew."
As I have gone about writing the story of Bewilder, I have incorporated many of my own experiences, for they are my waypoints along my life journey. As I reflect upon the past year, 2020 stands out as both the worst and the best year of my life, for those gifts that life has bestowed upon me are far greater than the cherished things that I have lost.
I wish you all a 2021 of possibility, hope, resilience, and, most of all, love.