Please Don't Make Me Write This Month

I honest-to-God don't feel like writing today. Or, really, any day this month, for that matter. I'd be happy to take the month of December off, starting in mid-November and ending some time in February when I start getting nervous that I'll have no projects to work on by the time the snow melts and my fear-motivation kicks in. 

It's that time of year when literally anything else will take my concentration away- embarking on an exciting journey of making wreaths for everyone and making it through half of one before getting distracted by reading magazine articles about making wreaths, or baking cookies for all the Christmas guests I'm planning to have and then "rationing" them to myself for the next two weeks until they're gone and I frantically buy five bags of Chicago Mix at Superstore on Christmas Eve... you get the idea. It's almost impossible for me to sit down and actually put pen to paper. 

I'm also sick, which happens to me inevitably at this time of year as my current writing projects start to slow down and my body suddenly realizes we won't go broke if I take a few days off and so it hastily takes the opportunity to shut down and do some sort of inner renovations that put me on the couch for a week and steal my tastebuds just as I'm finally about to let myself pour gravy on everything for every meal for like a week. 

All this to say, I'm honestly not in the mood to write. I don't feel like trying to think about language, about how it moves and paces and breathes across a page with a life of its own, and how I can agonize over one word at a time and suddenly feel like I've cracked some sort of code into the universe when I get it right. I don't feel particularly up to layering metaphors, to letting the silk of one word drape lusciously over the breast of another word as the friction between the two softens into some sort of new thing altogether, and I certainly don't feel up to describing shit and letting the truth of it emerge and flicker and grow from its own wick like the blue flame of a young candle. 

What I want is to drink NeoCitran and also eat an almond poppy seed sugar cookie and feel good about them cancelling each other out. What I want is to pass on my favourite book, A Complicated Kindness, to my sister-in-law and basically know I'm reading vicariously through her reading, and can instead watch funny videos of pandas and still feel cultured. What I want is for someone to wake me up after December and show me the piles of writing I did in my sleep- brilliant, metaphor-filled, truth-seeking writing. 

In these moments, I give myself a little break. I do. Are you surprised by that conclusion? This is not a piece about forging through and putting your head down and doing the work even if it kills you, yadda yadda. This is a piece saying sometimes we need to listen to our bodies and minds and walk away from the screens and notepads and go live our lives (aka tromp out in -34 to the deep snowy country and saw down a tinkly Charlie Brown tree to decorate, then call Christmas a success and not leave the house for a week) until we feel up for storytelling again.

In the meantime, what I'm sure you'll be surprised to find is that at the end of that little sabbatical, you'll actually have written 24 mostly-sincere Christmas cards, 14 well-intentioned to-do lists (not eat "all the damn cookies" isn't really a 'to-do', but we'll look the other way), 5-7 grocery lists, at least 3 gift lists (the first that includes everyone, the second where you say 'screw it' and cut everyone out except your partner and cat, and the third where you have a bourbon and graciously put everyone back in), a handful of heartfelt and a few somewhat sarcastic emails, and maybe even an inspired inscription or two on the inside of a literary gift. That's a lot of words being sent out into the universe! That's a lot of practice that you didn't even realize you were doing- on tone, on condensing language, on strong images, on finding your own voice. So pat yourself on the back and pour yourself a second NeoCitran, 'cause this party's gonna be off the hook now you realize you're a full-fledged hard-core writer who didn't take even a single day off even during the holiday. You're legit, son. Merry Christmas, you badass round-the-clock writer, you. If only your summer-writing self could be so productive.

As Frankenstein's ill-fated lover, Elizabeth, would say:
"Adieu! Take care of yourself; and, I entreat you! write!"
Alexa