A Year and A Day

Jellyfish, Ripley’s Aquarium, November 30, 2019 (the 95th anniversary of my mother’s birth).

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the creation of this blog and I couldn’t quite find the time to finish an update that I had started to write.  How about this:  I could celebrate “a year and a day” instead!  But then, I thought about the history of that particular terminology, and what it actually means, and why it’s a confusing term for most modern people.

Damn, there goes my excuse.

In English common law, contracts, leases, and other agreements, as well as the statute of limitations for prosecuting certain crimes and terms of office often had a length of “a year and a day.”  What this meant is that if a term began on December 19, it also concluded on December 19.  The “day” of “a year and a day” was the day the term both began and ended, as opposed to just a year, which, in this example, would begin on December 19 and end on December 18.  It’s an interesting continuation of the ancient practice (most usually seen in Roman dating) of inclusive counting for dating, most prominently seen in the “three days” between the date of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).   Taking this further, what “a year and a day” actually enshrines is the idea of a birthdate or an anniversary.  It’s also interesting to note that this kind of legal term endures (one that renews on a particular date) alongside the more modern kind of term (one that starts, for example, at midnight on January 1 and ends at 11:59 pm on December 31.).  So inclusive dating endures–so much so that for just about any other date other than the turning of the New Year, “a year” is now what used to be called “a year and a day”.

So it’s been a year and a day in elapsed time dating since–after a couple of weeks’ deliberation–I pulled the trigger on the creation of Scilicet.  This act was typical of my creative process. After a period of intense and focused exploration that reached a threshold, suddenly I committed wholly and completely to this new course.  This can look impulsive from an outside perspective, and in some ways, it is (I am an intuitive/big picture kind of person) but it’s always based on a great deal of deep thinking that coalesces into a plan.  (Myers-Briggs enthusiasts will note that this is what happens when you pair the N in my INTJ type with the T and to some extent, the J).  I amass the facts needed to make the decision and once I have enough evidence, I commit wholeheartedly.

I said at the time that I was permitting myself to know—to indulge my curiosity, to go diving down diverse rabbit holes, to revel in the acquisition of knowledge.  Not that I’ve ever had a problem with that.  But I was now committing myself to writing about all of this. It was the “diverse” part that was new.  I wasn’t setting out to write a blog about a single topic, whether narrow or wide.  I wanted to write about it all.

And, I have—although I’ve written an awful lot about concerts (mostly involving works by Shostakovich), and the travels that have come with them.  I’ve written about the occasional existential dilemma.  I’ve written about kitsch, and language, and numbers, and cats, and disasters, and drama.  I’ve written book reviews.  I’ve done a couple of short historical research projects.  In doing so, I have confirmed that an indispensable part of the enjoyment process for just about anything for me is to write about it–and usually quite quickly, at that sweet spot when emotional impact and analysis can both be part of my words.

And to some extent, this blog is an exercise in self-indulgence (much, I hope, like this one.)  It allows me to talk about just about anything without boring people to tears or invoking eyerolls, which in my earlier days of enthusiastic oversharing I remember well.  It’s for me, first and foremost. I throw these pieces out there, with no expectation in particular that anyone will read them.  Those who are interested in the topic can read on…those who aren’t can skip it.

But yes, I love it when people do read–and I do get a little sad when a piece I’ve spent time on doesn’t seem to provoke much reaction. I love it when a piece I wrote reaches someone, on whatever level.  I love the fact that different pieces reach different audiences. I love the fact that I can share ideas and feelings I’d never, ever bring up unbidden in public, or even among friends.

What would I do differently were I to start this blog today?  Nothing. Looking back, the benefits have been overwhelmingly positive.   That’s not to say that doing these pieces haven’t opened up new doors for me, and showed me where a few old doors, grown over with mental dust and cobwebs, were to be found.  I’d like to spend a little more time on researched rather than purely reactive pieces in the upcoming year, and I’ve already got a couple of those in mind–but they involve–horrors!–reading some books and articles.  But I’m still absolutely open to what the universe tosses my way in terms of possibilities for writing and reflection.

And maybe this year I’ll finally write some poetry.


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