Talking about a resolution

Is it worth making a resolution? Why do we do it? To better ourselves? To give us hope that we’re not really lazy sacks with boring lives? To give writers something to write about in the alt-weekly? (I kid. Sort of.) I don’t usually make a resolution. I like to think that I’ll be able to better myself as I go along, not just box it all into one point on the calendar. But I do get it. I understand why people do it, and I see why it’s helpful, even beneficial to the human race as a whole, regardless of if most of you keep yours or not. If nothing else, it puts a bit more positive thinking into the world. Eventually, that could go a long way.

As it happens, the timing has worked out where my headspace has lined up with the calendar, and I’ve found a pretty strong desire. Simply put, I want to spend this year finding more of the art, and not just the song. Maybe it’s because we’ve been deprived of fine art with the mentality of last year’s political climate, or that so many of our greatest artists have left us.

So what does that mean — more of the art, and not just the song? If we’re speaking directly of music, I’d say it’s really easy to settle for the simple chorus and not spend the extra time looking for something with more meat, something more meaningful. But, to flip it, I guess I don’t have to subject that to only music either, right? It also makes a good metaphor for life. Isn’t that something that we all want to strive for? We all think pretty highly of our own intelligence, and most of us would attest that we’re working toward the higher playing field, but I would wager that contentedness wins out more than we’d like to admit. It takes work to go that extra mile. Who’s got time for that when the next “Shameless” season is coming out? (I love “Shameless” so much right now. Thanks, wifey.) There’s a lot in the way. It’s easy to fall into old routines. But I’m inspired right now, and I want to dig deeper. I don’t want to settle for a song, unless it deserves it. And you ask, “Who are you to say it does or doesn’t?” I don’t have a great answer for that, which is why I’ll need your help, too. You’ve never failed to call me out on musical choices, but you need to step up your game on the recommendations. I’ve got plenty of shovels and don’t mind the extra work, if you don’t.

Listen, I don’t expect a grand slam here. Comfort food exists for a reason, and sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered. I mean that there’s going to be a few that slip in, either by a popular demand that’s beyond me, or just because it feels good. And I don’t want to shut something out just because it’s simple, but I would love to see the balance tilt in art’s favor a bit more. If we should learn anything from Bowie, it’s that, ultimately, we don’t have to sacrifice the art just to have something catchy. If it’s done right, you get everything you want out of it. And gawd knows that we’re going to have our fair share of opposition on the art scene. There are enough people coming into power who have already made it well known that art isn’t something worth keeping, and that the bits that are kept need to be watered down to a safe point. Luckily, we’ve got history on our side. We’ve seen it happen before. The fight may not be pretty, but creativity can’t be stifled. If it goes underground, then it festers, broods, infiltrates and rises. I have hope in that. Maybe we won’t have to get to that point, but if we do, I know the art that results will change the world.

That all took a different tone than I intended. The point being is that Jan. 1 may be an arbitrary day that we’ve given an unfair amount of weight to, but the fact that we have means that we have a chance to use it for progress — for ourselves, and hopefully, for others, to make it a better world somehow. To try harder. To find the art, and not just the song. Resolute: admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering. It’s a pretty great definition.