the time of the year for writers of every ilk to sharpen their pencils, open up the laptop, grab a yellow pad, settle in and settle down with good intentions in hand and the creative itch waiting to be scratched...
a last look back at the 364 and fingers poised to turn the page on number 365...
glasses raised to the good old days or the bad old nights and all the spaces in between...
a toast to what we achieved, what we won and what we lost...
storytelling time means character development...a chance for intro and extra perception...a change of perspective...walking around in tight new shiny shoes until they feel comfortable...
page 1 of 2 or 3 or 4 or more all start with a pull-your-reader-in-grab-'em-gotcha-your-mine single sentence slam dunk
dream walking in a waking state of mind where you are every one of the characters in your fictionalized story where the names have been changed to protect the innocent in you
this is not a time to break old habits, rather a time to instigate new ones, to break out and break free and to take your foot off the brake and hit the gas full throttle
because this is about time and time for an about face, a u-turn, a pivot, a step out of line
the unexpected the undetermined the unspoken the unheard of the unleashed the unusual the unsung the unvisited new territory
the yet to be discovered brand new page you are about to write...
maybe you need the melody first, the humming thrumming beat in your head tra la la dum dee dum strumming on the strings warm up exercise on the way to the right pitch, the rise and fall of the bass notes and the tenor and alto duet with the soprano notes shrieking into the chorus and the bridge to somewhere only the music can take you...
or perhaps you are a lyricist first logging blogging journaling random thoughts and ideas with itsy bitsy pieces of your soul floating about like dust motes just waiting to be swept up before your windshield wipers clear away the grime and you can see the road ahead...
...the one you have not taken yet but know will take you exactly where you need to go...
this new years eve is the moment of hesitation, the big breath in, the quick look back at promises made and promises broken and the sound of anonymous spiteful critics cracking their knuckles ready to take a crack at whatever you might think of... what you just might write...
it's the new year and the new page upon which you intend to write is staring you in the face and the story and the characters and the action and the drama and the comedy and the rise and fall of events belong to you the author and creator...
...the ambitious beginner curiosity driven eager famished garrulous humdinger of an intelligent journeyman kitted and loquacious moving now onward pioneering quietly resolutely and safely traveling up up up visualizing where the y forks in the road and x marks the spot and you have crossed the alphabetic line from a to z...
new equals novel
a novel idea
a new narrative
the countdown begins as the ball descends in the square...
you know the ending to the old story
here's to the beginning of the one you are about to write...
Mine starts like this:
Between eyes closed and the coming of sleep,
is a land where anything and everything can come true.
A special New Year's thank you to all my readers in Arizona, Connecticut, California, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, Colorado and Hawaii et. al.
And across the miles, in Brazil, Lebanon, The UK, Poland, Ireland, Australia, Spain, France.....
I love hearing from you and hope to see you again in the New Year.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
...the hasn't happened yet...
...the unopened packages...
...the late arrivals at the door safe and sound...
...the cookies on the plate...
...the stockings hung by the chimney...
...the only lights...the ones on the tree...
...the stillness before the din...
...and the memories of Christmas past...
...loved ones missed...
...grown ups when they were kids...
...the padding feet of little footie pajamas up the stairs and off to bed...
...the quiet before the storm...
I have been here before...by this tree...in this hour...
...long after all are tucked in, snoring soundly, heads on pillows, lost in dreams, weary of being wakeful...
...many nights before...just the lights...the tree...the stars and I...
For here, in this moment and space,
it doesn't really matter what is under the tree.
There are no disappointments, wrong sizes
or terribly tasteless tacky ties.
It is not a question of what is here...but who.
Christmas Eve is at the top of my Christmas Wish List.
The list of the names of those I love most in the world.
The list of the names who love me most.
Here...in the dark...in the stillness...I count their noses...pat their heads...hold them close...
With each tick of the clock, I call a name...Mother, Father, Brother, Aunt and Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa, Husband and Wife, Son and Daughter...
...and in the silence...
Christmas Eve when I was a child.
Christmas Eve when my own children were small.
Christmas Eve when my children are grown.
The portrait changes over time.
New faces added and loved ones lost.
On Christmas Eve, I time travel and gather them all into my arms for a loving embrace. I smell my Father's cologne and feel the scrape of his whiskered chin. I fall into my Mother's arms and hear her whisper in my ear. I look up into my brother's eyes crinkled in a smile. My children are cuddled up at my side sleepy eyed and yawning. My husband looks over their heads at me and I know that I am his and he is mine and that we are very lucky to have lived this life together.
Christmas Eve, for me, is like that tender time...
The time when only you and your baby are having a conversation.
When you sit quietly, feel the quickening and look up, sure that everyone around you felt it
too...when they did not.
So you lower your head in the stillness and speak...
"Mother To Child"
In the wee hours of the morning, only you and I lie awake. Here in the dark I listen to your heart. I feel your toes kick me from the inside out. I don't use my voice, nor whisper in the silence, because somehow I know that you can hear me, what I think, I imagine and dream, here in the stillness...what I send, you receive. Here I hold you. Here I give you life. These moments are ours alone. This soft sweet connection defies the ages. Here love is born. Here trust is given. Promises are made.
Someday, after we have met face to face, we will reach back for this connection, and in the silence or in a touch, only we will understand the power of this moment, Mother to Child.
...I kiss each cheek...
...tuck the covers in tight...
...smile to myself and turn out the light...
A Mother's Love Letter...a gift from my heart to yours.
Merry Christmas Eve.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I know. I KNOW. There are actually ELEVEN days until Christmas, but I needed a head start to even get this written and it took me longer than I thought it would, so I lost a day somewhere, which, around this time of year is not highly unusual.
Actually, if I am telling the truth, and I'd better be, as you know who is watching, I lose lots of things, and not just today or yesterday or last week, as I can be a tad bit forgetful, and may meander off on a new train of thought, or an old one...sort of like this.
Back to the subject.
The Infamous Twelve Days Of Christmas...
If you read the entire list, you may notice, as I have, that there are a heck of a lot of birds involved. Partridges and hens and turtledoves. Plus a bunch of crazy people a-swimming and a-playing and a-milking and a-dancing and a-leaping and a-drumming and a-calling.
I remember reading somewhere, probably on the back of a Twinkies package, that if purchased in the year of 2012, the contents of this list would amount to over $16,0000. About the same price as a pair of front row seat tickets to a Rolling Stones concert. Well, that's the closest thing I could think of that has drumming and leaping and dancing, pipers piping and drummers drumming and a few lords a-leaping. Old guys in fancy pants in the middle of a stage singing songs with lyrics that after a half a century I still get wrong.
Swerve. A sudden U-turn...off the subject just a tad.
Stick with me.
So I got out the Twelve Days Of Christmas List and laid it on the kitchen table next to MY Twelve Days of Christmas list and decided neither one will EVER result in MY merry-ness.
One. A partridge in a pear tree. No thanks. I have enough critters in my backyard and they ALL scare me when they bare their teeth or bite me on the arm. And as for the pears, well, they fall on the ground and then I'd have to arm wrestle the squirrels for the fruit, and what we both missed would start to rot and make a sticky mess. So...never mind.
Two. Two turtledoves. I am assuming here that these are lovebirds and that means soon-to-follow baby turtledoves, and nesting and cooing and walking around whispering so as not to disturb the nest, and I am not a big fan of PDA, even if it IS in the wild and perfectly natural. Not to mention having to cover the lawn with newspapers for their little love pellets falling from the sky. So...nope.
Three. Three French hens. Aggh. More birds. From France. Chilled Chardonnay with my pet parakeet Pepper, noted lush and troublemaker. Mon Ami...as Pepper would say...and then I would have to drive them all home with the windows rolled up and sweep up the shattered glass left behind on the porch where they tossed their stemware after a particularly exuberant toast to the turtledoves now nesting next to the partridge in a pear tree. So...Non, Merci.
Four. Four calling birds. Oh yes, that's EXACTLY what I need, MORE telemarketers. More Spam emails. More flyers in the newspaper. MORE BIRDS. Maybe I need a CAT!...No more tweets, thank you very much.
Five. Five golden rings. FIVE GOLDEN RINGS. Say this one nice and slow. Five golden rings. Five golden rings. Five golden rings. Has a nice RING to it, no? Five golden rings. One for each finger of either hand. Sparkling, we-buy-gold bands. This one might merit further consideration. SERIOUS consideration. VERY SERIOUS consideration. Everyone paying attention? Say it one more time with me...FIVE GOLDEN RINGS. Nuff said.
Six. Six geese a laying. Just picture me banging my forehead into the kitchen counter.
Seven. Seven swans a swimming. Okay, let's get real. Any of you who pay attention to this blog, know that I love to swim. In a pool. With my cap and goggles and nose plugs and swim gloves. They don't call me "the Minnow" for nothing. And I DO belong to a group of synchronized swimmers, and we do look a bit like swans when we are in sync, but most of the time we are hobbled and slightly winded after walking the length of the pool. Plus there are RULES posted on the deck and I am pretty sure one of the rules specifically states "NO SWANS ALLOWED". So...swan off.
Eight. Eight maids a milking. Phew. Maids. Not birds. Wait just a minute. Maids. A milking. Maids doing chores. In the barn. Wait. Wait for it. Women's work. I HAVE that one on MY list. A-milking, a-cooking, a-shopping, a-cleaning, a-dusting, a-vacuuming, a-wrapping, a-sweeping. So...that would be a no-thank-you-very-much-make your-OWN-milkshake.
Nine. Nine ladies dancing. It's about time. Disco time. Get out the silver ball, roll up the rug, hit Play and bring on the oldies. A little Donna Summer, Billie Jean, Oh Sheila, The Way You Make Me Feel, Hungry Like the Wolf, Wild Thing....Sooo....ohhhh...I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
Ten. Ten lords a leaping. Okay. Someone help me with this one. A bunch of guys leaping is somebody's idea of a present? Ten lords a leaping? Would I want ten lords a leaping? I can't imagine one leaping lord, let alone TEN. Um? Chippendales? Did someone say Vegas? So...maybe this one requires further scrutiny. A closer look. Maybe. Or a road trip.
Eleven. Eleven pipers piping. Eleven. Pipers. Eleven. Eleven men. On a field. Eleven men on a field equals FOOTBALL. I knew it! I just knew it! What would Christmas be without FOOTBALL...and more FOOTBALL and beef jerky and beer and pistachio shells on the floor and Doritos and yelling and jumping and then...NAPS! So...nice try...but pipe down.
Twelve. Twelve drummers drumming. Perfect timing. This is what my head feels like after all the pipers have finished piping. Maybe it's time to send in all the blasted birds and make it a migrating migraine.
Which brings me to the end of the list and all I've got to show for it is a headache and perhaps a concussion, as I am sitting here asking myself disjointed Christmas questions like...
What is it exactly that Mrs. Claus does and why doesn't she get to ride in the sleigh?
What in the world is wassailing? Should that be issailing or weresailling? Do I need a boat to do it?
And finally...oh bring me some figgy pudding...
Not the figgy pudding.
Figs are just cute prunes.
And anything with wrinkles...uh...like me...
Are NOT on my Christmas list.
But...when all else fails...
Remember the number FIVE.
As in Five Golden Rings.
I am VERY easy to please.
No birds. No drummers drumming. No pipers piping.
Oh and my ring size is six and a half.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
There's been a lot of chatter around here lately about cliff diving.
Jumping into the abyss.
Leaping from the edge.
While up at the North Pole,
Santa is making a list and checking it twice.
Gonna find out who's naughty or nice.
Has his master GPS loaded up on the sleigh.
His reindeer can smell a Scrooge on approach.
So you'd better watch out and better not cry, 'cause I'm about to make my own list. And I'm checking it twice.
I've been over the hill and sliding down the other side so long, I've just about lost my footing.
However, one of the best surprises of this sweet and simple life, is that sliding down the hill can be highly entertaining and vastly underrated.
It means I can say what I think, raise a stink and smile all at the same time...
So here goes...
The Twelve Myths of Christmas De-Mythified:
1. Looking at a Christmas tree will not cause you to go blind or turn you into a pillar of salt.
2. Putting up lights on the outside of your home may be dangerous to your health, but they sure brighten up the neighborhood.
3. Eating Christmas goodies may raise your cholesterol, but hey, what a great motivator for a moonlight walk through the snow.
4. Shopping for a present for a loved one in a crowded mall may create a level of temporary insanity, but imagining the look on their face when they open the package is priceless.
5. Sitting at a crowded holiday table with relatives who rub you the wrong way on the best of occasions, is so much better than being one of those single solitary souls who spend Christmas Eve alone or apart from family and friends.
6. Christmas music is an acceptable addiction. Just like chocolate and less fattening.
7. Cutting down a Christmas tree at a Christmas Tree Farm is not a punishable offense, it is good business. Buying a pre-cut tree does not make you a better person, as those trees fell in a forest somewhere even if you were not around to hear it fall.
8. Watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" will not stunt your growth, but may make you itch to kick a football. Watching "It's A Wonderful Life" will make you weep whether kid or grown up, and itch to ring a bell.
9. Christmas is not a chore. It's a choice.
10. The following are NOT dirty words...tinsel. holly, ornaments, elves, reindeer, merry, gingerbread, ho-ho-ho, candy cane, mistletoe, jingle bells, jolly, chimney, cranberry, decorations, eggnog, family, evergreens, garlands, joyful, icicles, laughter, love, light, mittens, noel, packages, presents, popcorn strings, pumpkin pie, ribbons, bows, stockings, sugar plums, surprise, teddy bears, good tidings, twinkling, wonder, wishes and wreaths....
Words to avoid..."Oh..A new vacuum cleaner.
11. The following persons are not on a watch list...except for the "You'd better watch out" one. St. Nick, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Pere Noel, Babbo Natale, or St. Nicholas.
12. Dancer and Dasher and Prancer and Vixen, Donner and Cupid and Comet and Blitzen are not members of a cult led by a a guy named Rudolph. Nor are they an endangered species. At least not yet.
Christmas, my dear friends, is a state of mind.
A celebration of joy.
A day of peace.
Christmas is a time when we all try to be just a little bit better,
just a little bit nicer, a little less selfish and a lot more selfless.
Christmas is a time to give and to receive.
Christmas is not a mandate. A must do. A must have.
Christmas is a story.
A hand-me-down from one generation to the next.
So I am going to make a leap of faith, and borrow the best exit line ever...
...I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night....
"Cookies For Santa"
I believe in Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy. I believe when the sun sets at night, it will greet me in the morning. I believe that Spring will follow Winter, the ground will soften and the seeds strewn among the leaves will sprout and grow. I believe in things I cannot see or touch or hold in my hand, but feel in my heart. I am, like all gardeners, an optimist. I believe that the true beginning of faith lies in hope. Stockings hung by the chimney, cookies on a plate, a note tucked under a pillow...demonstrate a childlike innocence...that anything can happen if you dare to dream, to hope, to believe.