“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”
― Virginia WoolfTo the Lighthouse

New year’s, 2021, I was sitting around brunch with my “pandemic pod” and my friend, slightly tipsy, said, “This day is irrelevant anyway because we all know that time is a construct.” To which I replied, “It literally isn’t.” We all laughed and drank a toast to time.

And yet, time as organized by human societies partially is constructed. Days and seasons, these things exist. As do years, although choosing to start and end them when we do functions as a fantasy, one to which basically all of us subscribe. Months, hours, minutes, seconds—all constructed. The irregular, speed-up/slow-down experience of living through time—well documented and accepted if not understand. But actual time? That ineffable something that makes up the bones of the universe? That exists and yet I cannot say I understand it in its guise as fundamental component of everything.

A human silhouette looks up at a starry sky.
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

And so, an obligatory “calendar dates do not matter and are arbitrary” starting to a new year post. Because why not? Constructed or not, human beings seem to need markers of time and the day we call “January 1st” does the job of representing a turning between years just fine. Although it may be an odd time to write a blog post sharing that I’m not sure what the future of this blog will be, if anything.

When I started Dogs, Coffee, and Books almost two years ago I did so because I wanted a place to channel my love for and thoughts about books, as well as to challenge myself to write more. It has been partially successful at those goals because, while I did write more with a commitment to regular posting, I found that I did not necessarily write better and I’ve grown tired of the well worn grooves of my own “literary commentator” voice.

As well, a few months ago I lost my dog, Jubel. I love dogs generally but Jubel was the mutt behind the curtain, the weird, erratic, funny buddy who inspired the title in the first place. Losing him does not, of course, mean that I cannot keep the title but it has made me reconsider my identity in a way that may seem small to some but I know that others will get: who am I if I am not a dog’s person, if I’m not, in particular, Jubel’s person?

Last year, instead of making a resolution I chose a word to guide my year. I settled on “sandbox,” which indicated exploration, openness, and play without attachment to the outcome. A sandbox is an inherently creative and playful space (although beware of kitty-dropped surprises) where the creations will disappear. Might as well try to hold back the tide as keep something made of sand intact. For this year, I do want to write more, create more, risk more but continue to hold the outputs lightly. And so the word I selected for this year is “sandcastle.” Something with a bit more structure, substantiality, and goal but the same innate impermanence. I suspect this means that I will post here infrequently, possibly not at all. But who knows? The non-attachment pendulum can swing back as well. Until then, happy reading, happy new year, and be well.

Jubel, a black dog with a white chest, one upright ear and one floppy ear, wearing an inscrutable expression.