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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Waiting for Inspiration

I kept waiting for inspiration before writing this message, until it eventually occurred to me that I was going against my own advice to other writers: don’t wait for inspiration, just put your butt in the chair and write! Oh, though, I thought some particular incident would set me off and give me the perfect subject for my letter to you, but alas, nothing spectacular took place.

Instead I kept going to bed at night, dreaming, waking up, dressing, walking the dog, editing manuscripts, writing reports, staying in touch with friends, and then going to bed at night again. Sure, Thanksgiving happened, and I, like countless other Americans, endured DFS (dysfunctional family syndrome), but this year I had no expectations, so I wasn’t as disappointed as usual. Aging helps.

I do have high expectations for Christmas Day, though. For the past fifteen years or so, I’ve held an open house on December 25, Christmas Day at the Christmas House. I cook for two or three days and open my house to friends and family members who want to come over and fill their bellies, get hugs, and exchange happy chatter (but no gifts). Feeding others and providing a gathering place: those are the ways I’ve learned to have a happy holiday, and without disappointment. If guests have the urge to spend money, I ask them to give it to a charity. The rest of us have all that we need and can get anything we don’t have, and for that we can be truly thankful.

Meanwhile, I live in the limbo many writers feel during the chaos of the holidays. I plod along and get my chores done, but I don’t feel particularly inspired. I know some great idea will hit me later, and I’ll get back on the “gotta write about it” track. For now, I’m happy to wait for the next train to come along, and it will, as long as I keep paying attention while I wait.

Here’s wishing you an inspired holiday season.

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