New Year’s Eve: A Poet’s Guide To New Year Ritual

This post comes from poet extraordinaire Jacqueline Suskin

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I like to start each year off with fire. No matter where I am in the world, in middle of the desert under millions of stars, or on my back porch in LA, on December 31st I always build a fire. I feel it’s important to usher in the New Year with ritual, to sit and stare into the flames as I think about the year past and set intentions for the year to come. While soaking up the warmth, I always finish up a journal I’ve been writing in, close the final chapter with some words of understanding, and put down on paper the visions I have for my future. Sometimes friends join me, sometimes I sit alone for hours enjoying solitude and reflection, but always there is a celebratory fire.

This year I’ve been gearing up for a monumental shift in discipline, and I’m using the mark of the New Year to set it in action. My plan is to be much more dedicated to a daily writing practice. My work with Poem Store has me creating poems on my typewriter constantly, but this is very public and performative work, and I want to focus on writing more books this year. With two published works under my belt, I know how long it takes to craft a volume of verse. So I’ve made some promises to myself. I will set aside hours each day, a good chunk of uninterrupted time, at my writing studio where I can have a private creative practice. This practice in itself will be a daily ritual, a routine that I’m devoted to, somewhat like my yearly custom of a New Year’s Eve fire.

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Tradition is what keeps culture rich, it’s what helps us connect to each other’s stories and deepen our self-awareness. I find that when I commit to any type of cyclical practice, be it lighting a candle every morning, making a cup of tea to drink while I watch the sunrise, traveling to Joshua Tree every winter, or doing yoga a few times a week, I feel better about everything. It’s funny that I’m such a spontaneous person full of wanderlust, always ready to hit the road, and still I understand the power of rhythm. This year I aim to heighten that wisdom, dedicate myself to becoming the kind of writer that I know I can be. Beyond my work of creating spontaneous poetry, is the craft of sitting down and showing up each day to the labor of book making that I love. I look forward to this experimental regimen and I cannot wait to see what comes of it.

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Photos by Shelby Duncan. Jacqueline is wearing our Hudson Valley Dress.

+ What rituals will you bring to 2016?

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My ritual for every end of the year is to reflect upon the things that were beautiful in the past year, not to think of the mistakes but to be grateful for all the beauty and kindness in my life.
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I love this article. I’m going to start the New Year with some fire now too. What wonderful symbolism!

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YES!

Very nice pictures! Love them so so much.
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i love the writing in this post it’s so wonderfully executed

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