resolve. v. (used with object). 1. to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something): I have resolved that I shall live to the full. 2. to separate into constituent or elementary parts; break up; cause or disintegrate (usually followed by into). 3. to reduce or convert by, or as by, breaking up or disintegration (usually followed by to or into). 4. to convert or transform by any process (often used reflexively). 5. to reduce by mental analysis (often followed by into).

resolve. v. (used without object). 1. To come to a determination; make up one’s mind; determine (often followed by on or upon): to resolve on a plan of action. 2. To break up or disintegrate. 3. To be reduced or changed by breaking up or otherwise (usually followed by to or into). 4. Music. to progress from a dissonance to a consonance.

“Resolution” is a noun. It’s the thing that some of us make that signifies some change in behavior or attitude, which is (in theory) supposed to begin on January 1 of each new year. I prefer the verb. I adore verbs. I tell my students that verbs mean everything; verbs, by their very nature, carry the most weight, wield the most power, possess the strongest potential of any part of speech.

This year, I resolve a few things, which I hope will help to bring aspects of my experiences into consonance from dissonance (I love that definition). I have thought this through by breaking things down into constituent or elementary parts, and I vow to convert or transform my behavior by some process that is yet to be determined. By doing so, I have come to a determination, and the conclusion that I’ve reached has led me back to resolving. To the desire to make consonant what is dissonant.

I used to promise myself that I would change outward behaviors. One year, I resolved to start exercising. And I did. Now I freak out if I can’t get to the gym at least four times a week, and I find it odd that I used to be physically lazy. A couple of years later, I resolved to quit smoking cigarettes. And I did quit smoking, much later in that same year, and now I think it strange that I ever smoked.

Another year, one that came before the “work out” and “quit smoking” resolutions, I resolved to be a caring nurturer, which existed, in my mind at the time, in opposition to the way that I perceived myself (and, in all likelihood, how others perceived me, too). I think I’m a much more caring nurturer than I was when I made that resolution back in 1999 or whenever it was.

It’s remarkable how fifteen years can mellow a person, even one with a temper like mine.

It’s funny that looking back on all of these times I’ve had resolve fortifies me, right now, in the present. Okay, it’s not funny. It’s actually kind of nice.

I don’t remember when I resolved to write more. Maybe I never did. Maybe I should have. Maybe I will.

I resolve to write. To be a writer. To think of myself as a writer, and not to let fear or pragmatism or whatever-that-feeling-is stop me. I am a writer, goddamn it. I am.

There it is. Done. Look, I even put it in italics, just to make it real (since we all know that anything in italics is automatically more important than everything else, right?).

I’m not going to tell you the rest of what I’ve resolved for 2014. I will say this: I’ve identified dissonance. I know what things to break into elementary parts. I’ve taken it all apart and put it back together again in a way that I think might resonate more pleasantly starting tomorrow, when the plan becomes action.

We shall see.

In other (perhaps related) news, I know what the second mystery novel is about. I even wrote a synopsis. So I suppose I should make the book happen. Such a happy idea: I will visualize myself as a writer, and that image (and, in all likelihood, behavior to accompany the image) can exist alongside my resolve to finish that pesky dissertation. Because finishing a dissertation, my friends, that takes true resolve.

resolve. n. firm or unwavering adherence to one’s purpose.

I resolve to write.

Happy New Year.