1. a small gravity railroad, esp. in an amusement park, having a train with open cars that moves along a high, sharply winding trestle built with steep inclines that produce sudden, speedy plunges for thrill-seeking passengers.
2. a car or train of cars for such a railroad.
3. any phenomenon, period, or experience of persistent or violent ups and downs, as one fluctuating between prosperity and recession or elation and despair.
Origin: 1885–90

I’m not in the habit of making resolutions. This year I shouted out a couple on the twitters – one being a pledge to eat waffles on every national holiday and on my birthday, which was scuttled by a recent work  trip actually. Obtaining waffles on a slushy MLK Jr Day in Boston’s shuttered, quiet Financial District proved to be beyond my level of motivation that day. (I intend to take up the challenge again in tribute to Honest Abe, in case you were wondering.) The other, a bit more serious, was to laugh at problems. I can be a bit of a worrier – my mom likes to refer to it as my ‘munchy mind.’ Proper usage for that would be, “You’re munching on [fill in worry here] again aren’t you?”

Without getting all Kumbaya, Circle-of-Life on anyone here, things end and things begin. 2009 beat me up a little, especially there at the finish. While not a direct result of the things that were lost or let go, nor an explicit action-reaction kind of thing, I guess when a lot of space opens up it starts a person thinking about whether, and how, to fill it. And then sometimes there are things you’re doing which are like ballast, they hold you at a particular cruising altitude even without you knowing, and when you let them drop (or they leap up and jump out of the basket) you end up in a different place.

There were some losses that were bad and sad, and there were some that really turned out to be rather freeing. This all leads up to saying I found myself with some time and a sense that I could take that time as an opportunity to … do something.

One of the somethings I’ve been doing is learning to play guitar. Never have I been so bad at something and enjoyed it so much. I expect to be terrible for some time. I am remarkably untroubled about this.

For those of you who claim the only things to come out of karaoke are a hangover and a feeling of regret, I must remonstrate and say that sometimes, if your friends are patient talented people who will even learn a Don Henley part for you, and because despite all appearances there is good in the world, even things that seem unlikely are possible. Once you name your karaoke act, it can raise its head and look you in the eye and tell you that really, you should just write some songs together while you’re at it. So we are. Josh takes care of all the heavy lifting and I’ve been stringing some words together that mostly rhyme. One day I dare to dream I might be able to play rhythm parts on the guitar, or maybe I should switch to bass. If you are a librarian, you never know – The Dealbreakers may be coming to a conference city near you, but only at six month intervals. (Or, if travel funding gets cut, maybe less often.) And if we can successfully manage our Postal-Service-like collaboration and get some tracks together, you might see them here. OR ON THE TOP 40. Kidding.

It’s fun. And frightening as all get out. I like that combination and I think I’m going to try and stay in that sweet space where you laugh because you’re happy and because you’re so freaking scared you don’t know how else to act – sort of like the moment when the roller coaster tips over the crest of the giant incline you feel you’ve been climbing forever, and you go flying down the track.  Whee.