resolve • verb // noun
That’s my word for 2020.
For over a decade, on December 31 I’ve made it a practice to choose word for the coming year. I’ve lapsed a few times, “life” derailing things. But, I have a word for 2020 and it’s RESOLVE.
I came upon the word this way:
Yesterday morning, I was doing some writing, the freeform kind that always settles my brain, the kind where I feel my neurotransmitters settling as they organize into something probably akin to what is called a meditative state, where I feel enter something I know I can trust. I know this thing. It has no name.
As I wrote I found my way back to a story Laura (an artist, friend, and former business partner) told me some years ago. When in art school, Laura had a professor, she recounted, who remarked on a piece she was working on—he told her it was unresolved. She explained, and the concept stayed with me.
Unresolved. Resolved. Something that has brought itself to its conclusion. That has tied up the loose ends. That has achieved its intended outcome. That has achieved perhaps not what it set out to do, but what it was intended to do.
This implies a tension between what we set out to do and what is set out for us to do. And I’m uncomfortable with the implications. I’m not exactly certain what “it“ is that would have us “do” something this way and really not that way; yet, I’ve lived long enough now, and jumped into enough unknowns—deciding this to do and not that, to go there and not stay here—that I have to acknowledge something resembling a grander sense enjoins itself, in ways unbidden, to endeavours. I probably wouldn’t ever be caught asserting that it’s something as grandiose as a path—there are just too many paths out there for there to be only one—but I would definitely bank on there being something that introduces meaning, or at least invites meaning to the table.
And so, as I enter and embrace 2020, I invite meaning to the table. A cross between an artist, an adventurer, and a detective, I embrace boring into what is before me, pulling on what’s passed, on intentions both lagging and wagging, to achieve work through catch and release.
Because as any artist worth their salt can attest to, creating is an alchemy. It’s a tug, a tension, a balance. It’s holding on and letting go. We hold on to what we mean, to what we set out to achieve, to what we intend for ourselves and for our work, while also realizing, and (importantly, whether we know it or not) relying upon our letting go and allowing another force to enter into the process. And when we do, as any artist must confess, the work is better. It finds its purpose. It achieves resolve. We have worked with what we know and what we want and what we want to do, and we have acquiesced and danced with the unknown, understanding and cultivating all that the unknown brings with a kind of faith that is uncanny, and indispensable.
So, for 2020, I declare for myself resolve. Which is to say, I embrace this year, this life I have, so that I bring to it a state that brings it to its outcome, honouring my intentions with those that make themselves known along the way.
It’s not for the faint of heart. It is the work of an artist. And it just so happens, as I’ve come to understand it in these past days nesting alone, that my work in 2020 is both the tableau and the table.
May I achieve resolve. May you join where you can.