I actually made more than one resolution this year. The first will be as hard to carry out as the second.

#1 – Read 100 novels in 2012 – I will keep you posted on this one. So far, I’m still on my first one. Looks like I might have inadvertently picked a big one. Oops. I’m getting there, though.

#2 – Live in the moment. Or, as Baba Ram Dass says, BE HERE NOW. I spent a lot of last year living in the past. It was out of necessity, but it was tiring. So, 2012 is going to be a year of living in the moment…and maybe even a bit in the future.

But before I start chasing my second resolution, I wanted to share a bit about my upcoming novel, SEBASTIAN’S POET. A bit about the novel and a bit about the journey to and away from it. (-;

Sebastian was the result of my very first MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON, which was in 2007. I’m very proud to say that it was awarded the 2007 Muskoka Novel Marathon BEST ADULT NOVEL award. I wrote it in 48 hours…48 hours in which I did not sleep. It was the one and only marathon I participated in where I actually didn’t sleep. I wrote like crazy. When I arrived, I still had no story to tell…but once I sat down and started writing, I was 100% compelled to get the story out in full before the weekend was over. And I actually did it. I couldn’t believe it!

The real story was in the awakening I seemed to have through the experience of NOT sleeping. At first I was just exhausted. But eventually I hit this wall where I was invincible…or, rather, my fingers were invincible. And they were connected to a subconscious part of me that I had never tapped into before. It was exhilarating.

I take no credit for SEBASTIAN’S POET. It was one of those experiences where I was plugged in. It just ‘happened’. I know it sounds crazy when people say that…but that is exactly how I feel about this novel. Please don’t cringe when I say that I was only the conduit on this one. It is also, though, the novel I am most proud of. I’m thrilled that MUSA PUBLISHING picked it up (It will be published in April, 2012)!

Anyway, before I travel into the now and the future, I want to leave you with a poem I wrote after I travelled from MUSKOKA to HALIBURTON immediately after finishing the 48 hours marathon. Please keep in mind that I just got up from writing a novel in 2 days. My head was wool and I was open to the universe. I was listening NON-STOP to LEONARD COHEN during the marathon and during the drive from Muskoka to Haliburton. He was forever entwined in the SEBASTIAN’S POET story. So much so, that I later asked for and received permission to use a line as an epigraph to the novel. The line is the one I used in the title of this post. The line is from the song ANTHEM…an amazing and beautiful song that was a huge part of the marathon weekend.

So, this poem was written just before I passed out. On the journey from Muskoka to Haliburton I had deer jump into the road in front of me in Muskoka and I had bears surround my car on the road that snakes along beside Elephant Lake in Haliburton.

Needless to say, the whole weekend—from the first word of my novel, to turning off the engine of the car at the cottage in Haliburton—was something of a religious experience. Not God and higher being religious experience…but a TOTALLY TAPPED IN TO THE UNIVERSE religious experience. It was phenomenal. If you ever get a chance to take part in a novel writing marathon…I suggest you do it.

So, now that I babbled on and on, here is the poem:

After the Marathon

As winter whips its winds to frenzy
I am reminded of that time-
forty thousand words in my head
screaming white freedom
inside my withering mind.

And after the marathon,
the tears of no more words,
my insolent venting of could have-
might have beens. And the exhaustion,
like melting ice on pregnant lips,
a scream inside an empty car
with nobody else to hear.

When I thought the oddity over-
passing from Muskoka to Haliburton
with Cohen on my lips-
two deer arrive,
linger long enough to catch my eye,
to stop my hurling car,
to say, “I see you. You are real.”
And tears again. To find yourself
when you are lost; a figment
behind an endless stream of words.

After the deer, when Hallelujah
has played and the light of day declines,
I pray, one hundred-thirty pages
strewn like wild wind across the cluttered dash,
and here am I… stopped again-
a wild bear on hind legs,
pawing the slowly gloaming air.

Stopped, I wonder the wonder,
breathe to say, “I’ve been here too.”
And in the rear-view… three more,
mother, babies dawdling behind the car.
And the bear, as if he knows my head
and where it’s at, he paws again,
lifts his massive claws to night and speaks.

These are the things that I have left,
the shaking memories of a whirlwind journey took.
And forty thousand words inside my lonely head
was not enough. A bear to stand and scream
is what it took to leave it all behind,
the vent, the Cohen din inside the tremulous mind,
and most of all, the words that could have been.

So that’s it. You will notice that I tried to write it from a future place…from the winter after the marathon. I felt that I needed distance to get the experience right…even if it was a fake distance…a tacked on distance of words.

So, now…I will turn my back on the past for awhile and start 2012 with my feet firmly planted in the HERE AND NOW. Enjoy this year now.

“You’re standing on a bridge, watching yourself go by.” ~ Ram Dass