This Is the New Year

In which resolutions are made, midnights unraveled and the final chapter of this story is finally begun.


To Daniel Wolfert,

It is New Year’s Eve of 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and once again, you are at home with your family and no plans whatsoever. You had visions of spending New Year’s Eve in the city, looking up at stars and the endless throng of joyous humans. Instead, you play Skyrim with your sister and eat oatmeal-cranberry cookies.

You are upset partly because you dislike having no plans, and partly because you like big events, but mostly because it is always at midnight that you begin to become most yourself.

This is not a good thing.

Midnight feels to you like the answer to a puzzle, or maybe a riddle; something strange and translucent that slips through your fingers. Midnight marks the beginning of your kingdom, a wide expanse of loneliness and desire for validation and a terrible, gnawing ache deep in your gut that asks why you are always alone.

Midnight marks the time when you desperately want to be around people, and yet seem to watch others as if from an island across a vast ocean.

Midnight twines its fingers into your ribcage and interrogates you:

Time is so short.

Time is so precious.

Have you wasted what little I gave you?

Have you done enough?

Midnight lays your memories out before you like Tarot cards on a Seer’s desk:  you try to assemble them into something meaningful but can never seem to do so. You pore over your loneliness like gold in the dark. You rifle through the memories as if searching for something but only find the ones that will remind you the stories you never wrote, of the songs you never sang, of the boys you never kissed and the days you never savored.

You rifle through memories of other midnights, of other puzzles and riddles you never figured out. You write this letter to yourself well past midnight three weeks later, turning over the thought of this, your last semester at Puget Sound, poring over your loneliness like gold in the dark.

You do not like New Year’s Resolutions, I know. But if you are to make one, let it be this: waste no more midnights. Write your way out of them.

Write your way back to the sunrise, or back into your bed, or back to the kitchen to make tea or poetry or song.

Write your way to music like a collective symphony of all the stars you have ever seen.

Write your way to a better kingdom, to legend and myth and monsters poring over their loneliness like gold in the dark, and when this new year’s midnights come and ask whether you have done enough, what you have written will speak for you.

With all due respect,

Daniel Wolfert