Thursday, December 10, 2009

When You Shouldn’t Write at Christmas, This Is How to Do It

Yes, I got caught up in the season and births and deaths long enough to disappear.  I’m back, briefly, to amend earlier remarks about writing during the season.  When I urged you not to write what I really was urging you to do was to not expect the season to be revelatory, profoundly changing to your work.  You will  not likely write profoundly about the enormous feelings that can cripple the writer.  We just can’t write that well while in the throes of the season.  On the contrary, and contrary to what I said, you can write and write pretty well if you can maintain distance from what you write about.  Good writing may continue through the season.  It just cannot be about the things that are currently arresting.


I’ve written seasonal poems every year and learned that such poems can be successful and fully realized within the season but they take a distancing from the waves of emotion I find most immediate during Christmas.  I used to expect that as a writer I would actually see and feel the star of Bethlehem, meet the Magi at the corner of Main and East Main and that my life would be forever changed.  It hasn’t yet happened.  As I have evolved as a writer I have come to realize that the great truths do not come with sonic booms, parades, huzzahs.  Rather, they come with pacing, pondering, work.  The great poems you will write about this season will come with pacing, pondering and work.  The gift of this season is at the sum of all the seasons experienced thus far—and that’s good enough for any writer.


So, write without expecting and take joy in the surprise.


So long for now, and welcome back.