I began the Christmas letter while at the beach last week. But words became forced.
So rather than use forceps, I put it all away. I didn’t exactly throw in the towel, but I did reach that elusive state of holy indifference where it didn’t matter any more. If words eventually came, then fine — I would write them. Or if words remained locked in the quicksand of my mind, then I gave myself permission to NOT write a Christmas letter this year. Either alternative was fine by me.
But as my girls were looking through my collection of Christmas greetings yesterday, the question of my own slightly delinquent greeting surfaced . Rather than talk about quicksand and the state of holy indifference, I heard myself say that the letter was at the top of my ‘to do’ list tomorrow.
What WAS I thinking? Tomorrow? Where DID those words come from?
Tomorrow… as in bet your bottom dollar, tomorrow, there’ll be words.
And then, hedging my glib words, just in case no words showed up tomorrow, I reminded anyone who was listening that there were twelve days of Christmas, implying that I had until at least January 5th to deliver the goods.
End of story. Nothing else was said. And I thought no more about it…. until this morning, about 4 a.m., when words starting coming. The dam had broken and it was time to deliver the goods. So I did what any unreasonable writer starved for words would do. I got up, no questions asked.
Yet…rather than sitting down to write, I put the muse off, just in case she was toying with me again. I made some spaghetti sauce and meatballs… tempting the muse to leave. Then I made some home-made vegetable soup. Then some coffee. And the muse continued to hang in there until finally, I settled down with my computer. And before I knew it, I had a way ‘in’ to the letter and the words began to flow and I didn’t look up until half the Christmas letter was drafted. And soon I had an entire draft. Just like that.
Did I deliver the goods? Well, if it’s like all the other Christmas letters I’ve ever written, probably not. But the important thing is that the letter has been delivered except for the clean up. And I’m saving that for tomorrow. Just like any created thing, I’m giving it a little rest to see it all with fresh eyes in the sunlight of a new tomorrow.
Funny that yesterday’s questioner use to love the movie Annie. But then’…what’s not to love about that little girl with such dogged determination and eternal optimism — who had probably never heard of that Ignatius catch phrase of “holy indifference” in all her young life.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow, you’re always a day away…