Monday, December 27, 2010
I started my Christmas holiday on Dec. 17. With a week off before Christmas, and our office closing for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, it’s a nice long stretch of time. The week before Christmas, however, was – no surprise – hectic: final preparation for the Christmas, including wrapping a bazillion toys and books for the grandson; picking up the roast at the butcher on Christmas Eve just as the snow really starts to come down; trying to keep things calm as we count down for the family dinner (we hosted this year; nine of us including the baby); last-minute gifts; and general holiday craziness.
One good thing: no malls. I don’t do shopping malls during the week before Christmas or the day after. I leave the bargains and sales to everyone else.
This week is quieter. I have lots of time for reading and writing and general all-around thinking. I’ve learned over the years that I tend to be most reflective when I’m reading and writing, but it is a partial reflection, shaded, sometimes dim, often crowded by other things happening and other thoughts intruding.
My mind is restless, reflecting a restless heart.
I’m full of projects. Planning a series for the blog, possibly two series for the blog. Pulling together a posting plan for TweetSpeak Poetry – reviews, news, stories, interviews. The novel in progress. The ideas for two other novels that kept shoving their way into the picture. The two completed novel manuscripts stored on my computer that are driving my wife crazy. Article ideas for The High Calling. My next two posts on culture for Christian Manifesto. The eight books I’ve finished reading that I need to do reviews of (that’s a less impressive volume than it might sound – five of the eight are either books of poetry or very short books). And all the books waiting to be read, including an advance reader copy I’ve been asked to read and write a report on.
I long for quiet but I know the quiet would drive me crazy.
So I’ve learned to reflect while I write, and my writing often becomes a reflection, a meditation, often a devotion, and occasionally an internal dialogue with myself. I find the writing to be soothing, even when it’s hard and exhausting.
Writing a poem is, for me, the most exhaustive kind of writing I do. I’ve discovered I have a certain kind of fear when I write a poem. It’s less a fear about reader’s reactions (although there is that, of course) and more a fear, or perhaps awe, of what I’m really tapping into as I try to fix ideas and pictures and words and images into the lines of a poem.
Poems are like songs, or psalms. They speak to something that’s higher, a place or person where poetry began, a first utterance of a poetic line.
Lines like “Let there be…” and “There was…”
To see more posts on reflection, please visit the One Word Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock.
Photograph: Reflection by Bobby Mikul via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.