Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year, Happy New Life

I had considered taking today off, knowing that I would get very little sleep the night of December 31 (and I got almost none), but then I read Ellen Goodman's farewell post in the Boston Globe, and I realized that I would have to at least acknowledge one of the best opinion columnists in the country. Ms. Goodman's career lasted over 40 years and she helped us consider some of the most amazing times in our nation's history. From Viet Nam, through the civil rights and the feminist movements, to 9/11 and the consequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. From President Johnson to President George W. Bush and finally to President Obama. I sometimes disagreed with her conclusions, but I always knew she reached her conclusions honestly, and I always respected what she had to say.

Her brave exit speech (she's retiring) didn't directly address those momentous times and her many opinions, though. Instead she reflected on what I can only describe as the fluid nature of time. I appreciated that because it's something I've been considering more and more. Ms. Goodman and I are about the same age, and I think such reflections are a hallmark of elderhood. I've noticed that just as I recover from the New Year's Eve party I'm handed an income tax form to sign, after which some kind soul wishes me a happy birthday (August 6, and I prefer chocolate). Just as I mark another year on the planet, I find myself pricing Thanksgiving turkeys and accepting Christmas gifts and invitations to New Year's Eve parties. It's hard to believe that there was a time in my life when summer vacation seemed endless, ruthlessly so, and I yearned to be back in school where at least I didn't have to amuse myself all the time, and yet I remember that time keenly.

That's what a good writer does, whether she's a novelist, a poet, or a columnist: she gives us a chance to step back and consider, to try to make some sense of the world and the life we are living in that world. It's what Ellen Goodman did so well and what she did in her last column for the Globe. Go read it. You'll see what I mean.

So, best wishes to you, Ms. Goodman.

And thanks.



Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Well said, Diane, a tribute from one scribe to another. As do we all, I too hear time's winged chariot hurrying near. May you year flow as smoothly as warm honey....

8:17 AM  
Blogger PurpleGirl said...

As Woody said, this is a nice tribute to Ellen Goodman.

Along similar lines and thoughts, may I recommend the current posting by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee who writes as the Yarn Harlot (

And may I wish you a healthy and happy 2010.

8:43 AM  

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