I am genuinely thankful for the hours of time I had throughout the year to work on these pieces or gaze out the window, waiting for inspiration. Writing has helped me look for who I am, as cliche as that sounds. I don’t know who I am yet - that concept is ever shifting. But getting thoughts onto paper has helped establish an identity and my self. Two things became crystal clear while I was perusing my pieces and stringing them together into one portfolio. For one, my Polish heritage is an immensely important part of my life. It brings joy and suffering, balance and turmoil. And getting that out on paper helped me organize my thoughts and emotions and have (I hope) interesting material to work with. Which brings me to the second ‘thing’. The rawness of the emotion conveyed was inextricably linked to the strength and quality of the piece. This I discovered a bit late, since I can be afraid of revealing emotions of weakness, as I did in “Alka-Seltzer”. Letting the heart spill forth is definitely a point of improvement. Another is the improvement of my voice. For better or worse, I am extremely cynical, sarcastic, and realistic. I am an absurdist at heart. This ‘toxic’ combination can make me a bit of an asshole (hello future me, hope you have improved in this regard, thanks). While writing this year, I tended to suppress this side of me for fear of coming off as, well, too much of a jerk. When I write for myself from now on, however, I plan on being uncensored and raw. At least then the time capsule will be an interesting read for the future ‘enlightened’ me.