Friday, February 16, 2024

My Word for the Year—Hope by Mary Ann Rodman

 My word for this year is right next to my front door. Hope. 

I am a pessimist by nature. I think I inherited this “attribute” from my mom who had two favorite sayings. 1.  Don’t get your hopes up. 2. Don’t expect the best and you’ll never be disappointed. (So that’s how The Greatest Generation got through the Depression, WWII and raising us Boomers. Chronic skepticism.)

So when my college roommate sent me this during the Pandemic, I had to chuckle. The world was going to hell in a hand basket, and she literally sent me Hope, courtesy of UPS. I hung it where I would see it multiple times a day. Who knew? Maybe it would inspire hope. Right, I thought. As if!

This has been a particularly grim winter for me. Battleship grey skies…not even clouds, just solid grey overhead. Every time I turned on my computer I learned another cousin, friend, former student or had died. I was writing myself into literary cul-de-sacs. And let’s not talk about the general state of the world. In fact, the only hopeful thing in life was that little word, hanging by the front door.

But you know what? The sun started making cameo appearances throughout the day. People didn’t stop dying but now there was good news as well. Friends who had searched decades for an agent, acquired one. First time authors of a certain age (which is now how I refer to myself) were being published. My long dormant brain became aware of story ideas.

In other words, I felt hopeful. I also had faith, that elusive concept that makes hope possible. As the Bible says  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” --Hebrew 11:1

I will write my way out of those cul-de-sacs. Those ideas will blossom into stories.

I can feel that fluttering of hope that Emily Dickinson wrote of.  If there comes a time when hope seems to be taking another sabbatical, I can always recall my favorite Woody Allen quote: 

 “How wrong Emily Dickinson was! Hope is not the thing with feathers. The thing with feathers has turned out to be my nephew. I must take him to a specialist in Zurich.”

Hope also has a sense of humor.

When all else fails, there are the wise words of Cormac McCarthy—“Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.” 

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman


Carmela Martino said...

Thanks so much for sharing your HOPE with us, MA!

Linda Mitchell said...

Ha! I have struggled with cranky in these turbulent times...I get the whole pessimist thing. And, Hope does have a sense of humor. She really knows how to get my friends (and yours it seems) to show up in funny ways when I need it the most. Great post.

Tina Cho said...

Hope is a running theme throughout my upcoming novel. Good post & I love that you included the Bible verse!

April Halprin Wayland said...

It gives me hope that wonderful writers like you keep on keeping on, Mary Ann.🕊️