Picture of Vera Jane Cook

Vera Jane Cook

Chatter Creek Cottage: Looking Back

2017 was not a year to remember for me. It was just as bleak and cold as this photograph. Slapped in the face by mistakes, not just in the year but also in my life, the sting was brutal. It’s not that I’m a stupid person; I’m a naive person who simply doesn’t see dismal outcomes or recognize monstrous people. I am at heart, an artist, a creative being who is simply meant to sit in a chair for most of the day and tap into my imagination, stir up my sweet genetic memory and come up with characters who all resemble me in some fashion, and are all very much snippets of people I’ve known, my way of loving them back, remembering.

This dissociation from my true self is rooted in fear and a lack of confidence. I actually went out into the world at the age of fifty and pretended to be something I am not, pretended to enjoy what I hated. Where’s the satisfaction in that? How long has it taken me to realize that I can make money as a writer, that I can live in my head all day and fine-tune a skill I love? We are all meant to be doing what we love. We’re meant to be happy, not to live in a whirlpool of regret licking our open wounds of failure.

To know ones self early in life is a blessing. It wasn’t mine but those who know me know that I am not one to stop growing or fighting the great fight toward self satisfaction no matter how many notches of years I’ve got on my belt. I’m not going to make any resolutions because they morph into broken promises at some point. I’m not heading into the New Year with a bunch of rah rah goals like getting thinner or smarter or richer. I’m meeting the New Year on a note of change, renewed ambition and gratitude. The gratitude is for the people in my life, my dear Marianna, old friends and new. The gratitude is for my insanely good health, a mouthful of good teeth and a love for the finer things in life that I refuse to give up because I don’t believe I can’t afford them – not an option. The angels or Gods or ghosts, whatever you wish to call them have been good to Marianna and I. We must appreciate the luck that has materialized in our path like some miracle, some pot of gold and we must trust that those Gods or angels or ghosts continue to guide us in our misguided choices and completely myopic decisions. That cold snow in the photograph will melt to water at my feet and spring will come. The creek still flows under the ice and gardens of flowers will bloom while the road a head curves, and the landscape changes.