If there was a dream way to bring in the New Year, it was as we did so this year. After spending the first quiet anniversary evening in 19 years together, we spent the first day of this new decade connecting with old friends and meeting new people in New York, some who will hopefully become new friends. New opportunities almost always come in the form of new people, whether they spring from your past or emerge from your future.
Our friends Pat Cummings (whom I have known at long as anyone I can think of) and her husband, Chuku Lee, (founding member of NABJ) revived their annual New Years Day get together at their expansive loft in downtown Brooklyn. We were early supporters of one another and always believed in each others' potential. As they say, "Birds of a feather flock together". The party was filled with wonderful artists and authors, including the acclaimed duo, Leo and Diane Dillon, who lead the children book world in honors and prestige, and were pioneers in their personal lives in many ways.
We followed up the evening with another literary soiree at the New York home of the distinguished authors Jill Nelson and Flores A. Forbes, which was also filled with interesting people having fun and sharing positive energy. I was pleased to have reconnected with the photographer and jewelry impresario Coreen Simpson, whom I first met at the arc of her career in the 70's. Faith Childs, the well-known literary agent, shared delightful thoughts on the world of fashion art and design with me, encouraging my pursuits of a book on the subjects.
Just because the last year has ended doesn't mean we can wipe it away for a fresh new year, like an evaporating dream from the night before. The results of what we've done or not done from last year will hang on to us, like a cloud clinging to a mountain after a heavy rain. Our past efforts will always move us forward, whether we consider them to our benefit or not...the opportunity being to learn from them. Even some of the things we feel are disastrous are actually the key to a new opportunity that would not have materialized otherwise.
When "bad" things happen, I always remember the time, upon graduating from high school, when I broke my leg in a car accident, just before I was to go off to New York to attend FIT on a scholarship in fashion design. Devastated by the postponement I went on to apply to Parsons School of Design in fashion illustration, my original choice, which my guidance counselor had told me I wasn't strong enough to even apply to. Not only did I receive a scholarship to the school, but the doctors had discovered a cyst in my leg, that they said would have advanced, if untreated, to the point of needing to remove my leg. What initially was a entirely negative event became a fortunate miracle that changed the course of my life. Of course, one needs to step much further down the road to see how things can conspire to make your life what you dreamed.