Since I opened a blank Word document to write my weekly column I’ve trawled through my library looking for inspiration, put a roast in the oven, put a load of clothes into the washer, checked a dictionary to ensure correct usage of a particular word, putzed with a vanilla candle on my desk, and had several sips of water. But by far the greatest procrastination tool available is the Internet.
I simply wanted to write a Christmas column that was fresh and relevant. To take a new slant on an old challenge. To avoid the drippy sentimentality or the predictable rant against commercialism. I had hoped a random quote from one of several compilations would be a springboard to brilliance. No. Usually the newspaper is a reliable source of story ideas, but this year nothing has caught fire for me. Chance conversations, people-watching, and real life can always be counted upon to jump-start a mind gone blank. Well, maybe not always.
Perhaps adding to the pressure and self-consciousness is the fact I’ve been reading some books about writing. Talk about raising the bar, questioning one’s intentions, offering conflicting advice?aren’t these all supposed to be helping fellow writers?
I had hoped flipping through a wildly decorative, endlessly cheery, psychedelically swirled book by SARK would kick-start my own creativity. Instead it led me to her website, with all its attendant side trips onto other pages and links to other sites. I watched a video and read a column about her, and ended up at Amazon.com through a book link. Still, I was no closer to having a fresh take on a Christmas column.
When I look back at Christmas 2006 I realize I went through it in a pain- and medication-induced state. All those activities (like decorating a tree, sending out cards, shopping for and wrapping gifts, preparing a feast) that normally help set the mood were absent because of my surgery.
This year Roy and I decorated the tree weeks ago. The gifts were bought and wrapped. Our immediate family will be together Christmas Eve for our gift exchange. The larger, extended family gathering is planned for Christmas day. But it too will be different with many members missing. Shift work, Jamaica, and the Czech Republic are three very good reasons. Also missing from the mix are any young children or grandchildren to re-ignite the wonder of the season. This is the reality for us this year.
Maybe this column has come full circle to SARK. She lives (and preaches) the notion of creativity, inner wisdom, magic, letting go of perfectionism, and so much more. Christmas is the perfect time to put her message into practice. Let go of expectations and pretension. Become childlike again in our innocence, exuberance, and joy. don’t mourn the jobs left undone. Delight in the here and now, however imperfect that (and we) may be. Believe that even micro-movements (tiny actions) of five seconds to five minutes in duration can move us along to our creative dreams.
I’m willing to try it SARK’s way this year. Merry Christmas, from where I sit.