send in the elves

My desk this morning, instead of being covered with books and manuscript pages, is covered with Christmas lists. I want to write, but it’s hard to draw my mind away from the unanswered questions and undone errands on my list–with the clock ticking.

I wondered how other writers managed to focus at this time of the year. So I reached for May Sarton‘s Journal of a Solitude, written from September to September–1970 to 1971, I think. And guess what? As far as December, there’s an entry for the 2nd and then nothing until January.

It’s like falling into a black hole. In December, most of all, it’s a struggle to claw through the must-do’s, the should-do’s, and the do-nows to find something real. In December, it definitely takes both hands to catch a day. So I’m going to aim for a minute here and there. Maybe an hour. I’m not going to give in. I’m going to take a deep breath. Read a few words. Write a sentence.

In her January 2nd entry, May Sarton writes,

“Iimg_1190 can understand people simply fleeing the mountainous effort Christmas has become even for those, like me, without children. Everyone must feel revolt as I do about the middle of December when I am buried under the necessity of finding presents, the immense effort of wrapping and sending, and the never-ended guilt about unsent cards…”

In an attempt at a real thought for today, I leave you with this. In her last entry in the book, she suggests that writing is a “messenger of growth,” that from where we are, “we write toward what we will become…”

[Something about my desk this morning felt familiar, hence this re-post from December 19, 2008.]

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8 thoughts on “send in the elves

  1. I certainly need “both hands to catch the days” but have found myself thinking that to have four hands would be nice during the holidays.


  2. I can certainly relate. After the mad dash of November (NaNoWriMo), December feels like a big let-down. With all the demands of Chrismas, the pace of writing has dropped off, with some days seeing only a few words, other days nothing at all. But at a time like this, when the season brings distant families back together, if only for a day or two, the sacrifice is worth it. Besides, there is a bright side to this. The guilt from not writing in December inspires us to raise lofty writing goals for the new year. 🙂

    Merry Christmas.


  3. Stephen, great to hear from you again. Yes, so glad you mentioned families. That is definitely the payoff for all the craziness of the holidays. And spending time with your family is a lovely way to catch days.


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