I took a series of writing classes many years ago now and one of the suggestions that the instructor offered up, was to consider a simple object in one’s everyday life (shoes, for example) and “stream of consciously” write about anything that came to mind. I have used this methodology many times since and it’s certainly a good kickstart to begin one’s writing day, if you are lucky enough to have that luxury.
As I was thinking about all this, I will share that this year, Niles asked for a “whizzer stick” (my own bastardizational term for an immersion blender) but in the few days since Christmas (which feel like as many years) I have felt as though someone has lowered one into my emotional core. I don’t know if I am the only one who needs to just sit and stare at the wall after Christmas but after ten solid days of cooking, cleaning, fretting and trying to pretend I don’t feel like hiding in a closet with some (decent) gin, my tranquility resources are, (in keeping with the season) in the red.
I have written about this before, the swirling of Christmases past and present, the feeling of inadequacies, both then and now; conversations to be re-lived in detail (by me) the next morning even though the other people involved have long forgotten what was said; the wistful, poignant, clamped-heart knowledge that Christmas is always about forging memories and the unwelcome, brittle truth that, as one of my family members shared this year, all Christmases will eventually become inseparable from one another, rendered completely unremarkable by their sameness. The truth in this obvious, but brave reflection was still startling. It’s the Christmas that we had spaghetti, the Christmas we had no electricity, the Christmas with strangers that are the truly memorable ones, he added.
He’s right of course. And sadly, as I recently read online, Christmas can only ever aspire to be a photocopy of a photocopy till eventually, there is almost no image left on the paper at all.
Perhaps Christmas was a little flat this year because I just didn’t have it in me to insist on the few traditions that I really do look forward to. (How could I miss watching Alastair Sim in “A Christmas Carol” for example and the subsequent weeping that follows). More than ever, I truly believe that the build-up to Christmas (which is not spent frenziedly shopping and/or complaining) is the very best part and the time I like most. On Christmas morning I was literally trembling (possibly from too much coffee and alcohol the day before) but when the kitchen door swung open, letting in not only a swirl of snow but also Niles and his Lovely Girlfriend (she of the violet eyes) arriving still in their pajamas, and Frasier, resplendent in tweed coat right behind them and looking every bit like Scrooge’s handsome nephew, I felt a surge of happiness that predicted for the next few hours at least, all would be well.