For Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne music

Image from Fireside Book of Folk Songs, selected and edited by Margaret Bradford Boni, arranged for piano by Norman Lloyd, illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen. Copyright 1947, Simon & Schuster

Happy New Year! What are your resolutions in 2013–for business, for writing, for getting your book published?

How about a resolution to return to the reasons why you write, why you read? To the core elements–the words themselves.

Sure, you need the right keywords to scour databases and find research results to crunch for your meta-analysis. Yes, it’s good to call up just the right synonym so you can make the chapter titles in your TOC line up in neat rows with parallel structure.

Words are tools, and the better honed they are, the more efficiently we can do our work.

But I doubt that is the only reason you’re in the business of writing and publishing–because words are your tool of choice.

Me? I use words, but I also love words. Words that paint a picture of a time and place. Of a political stink in the air. Of people who love and people who hate but find meaning anyway, or failing that, turn to a dram o’ John Barlycorn. I love deciphering dialects! Words that make music in and of themselves, with or without songsmiths like Jean Redpath or Old Blind Dogs.

Of course I’m referring specifically to the words of Robert Burns. One of my resolutions this year is to toast the Greatest Scot with some friends at a Burns Supper at my home later this month. We’ll honor The Immortal Memory of the Bard, pipe in the haggis and read an ode to it, toast the lads and the lassies with bawdy verse, and end the evening by singing Burn’s poem Auld Lang Syne.

I resolve to love words all year ’round, and to do so in a more social way than I have done before. That begins with the Burns Supper. It continues with:

  • Playing Scattergories with the NorCal chapter of Editorial Freelancers Association
  • Writing book reviews, on this site as well as my storytelling site, Slide Show and Ice Cream
  • Attending the San Francisco Writers Conference
  • Meeting local bloggers at Sacramento Bloggers meetups
  • Taking at least one class in writing, editing, publishing, and/or marketing
  • Taking another crack at NaNoWriMo (only make it to 35K words in November 2012)

…among other things.

Who’ll join me in a resolution to celebrate words, not only as tools, not only as art, but as the very stuff of friendship?

But ye whom social pleasure charms

Whose hearts the tide of kindness warms

Who hold your being on the terms, “Each aid the others,”

Come to my bowl, come to my arms,

My friends, my brothers!

~from Epistle To J. Lapraik by Robert Burns