The epiphany of the “new year” hit me, as usual, three hours late. I’m always awake at midnight, but never conscious— I get caught up in written streams of glowing gibberish. The new year is a slow-moving tidal wave, and no one is spared as it rampages from time zone to time zone, causing cheers, tongue-kissing, irreversible life decisions, and worst of all, explosions of glitter that spread faster than Omicron. When I realized the wave crashed, I too, felt the kick— the reset in Calendar. I closed my laptop and bolted for Quinn’s Hill— it’s important to get there before sunrise.

At 387 feet above sea level, I can see the lagoon and the cascades of vinyl houses. I conduct my “annual review” on the hike up, and set a goal at the peak. It’s one of the few systems in my life that works. There’s no better way to navel-gaze— on top of Quinn’s Hill, exploding with light— in the Morning Dew of the new year... that is, if I get there on time.

Like a Sergeant, my backpack is ready, weeks in advance, with everything I need: a pre-rolled joint, 2 spiral bound notebooks, 4 “space” pens, a beanie, a thermal under-shirt, a plastic water bottle filled with gasoline (for the bonfire), and of course, a .44 magnum in case of incidental bears.

I’m usually late. I blitz-write into these notebooks, as I walk, uphill, without looking. All my potential futures are inked in a special kind of hieroglyphic chicken-scratch— a language not even I can decipher. The act of putting pen to paper is merely a formality. All of my goals end up in the same place: the bonfire on top of Quinn's Hill. Goals are dangerous. Their symbolic destruction is important to me. They whisper sweet visions, but they’re trojan horses— poison cloaked in purpose... What was once a sneaking suspicion to me is now obvious: Goals are cancer of the imagination. A Castle in the Sky is the worst kind of tumor. It fogs your awareness and prevents growth. It blinds you to obvious vistas of possibility.

Let us instead carve into the future like the nomadic men and woman that roamed before the original sin of agriculture— with insatiable hunger... I won’t pretend that my whole existence doesn’t mooch off the tailwinds of the prefrontal cortex. But let us at least pick one worthy impulse— ONE THING that leads us to the same place where Goals claim to deliver.

My impulse for the year is straightforward: learn to write like a force of nature— like a fat old sunflower in the sky, rising everyday, to deliver words to anyone who cares to look up, inducing primal wonder in some, and temporary blindness in others... Trust that writing bends reality, and the rest will work itself out... 7:19 am, Quinn's Hill caught fire, melting the upcoming year into an empty canvas— a blank slate, for some unnamed wordsmith to jangle within.