My desk this morning, instead of being covered with books and manuscript pages, is covered with Christmas lists. I wanted to make a post. But it was hard to draw my mind away from the unanswered questions and undone errands on my list–with the clock ticking. Six days, six days, six…
I wondered how other writers managed to focus at this time of the year. So I reached for May Sarton‘s Journal of a Solitude, written from September to September, from 1970 to 1971, I think. And guess what? As far as December, there’s an entry for the 2nd and then nothing until January.
It’s like falling into a black hole. In December, most of all, it’s a struggle to claw through the must-do’s, the should-do’s, and the do-nows to find something real. In December, it definitely takes both hands to catch a day. So I’m going to aim for a minute here and there. Maybe an hour. I’m not going to give in. I’m going to take a deep breath. Read a few words. Write a sentence.
In her January 2nd entry, May Sarton writes, “I can understand people simply fleeing the mountainous effort Christmas has become even for those, like me, without children. Everyone must feel revolt as I do about the middle of December when I am buried under the necessity of finding presents, the immense effort of wrapping and sending, and the never-ended guilt about unsent cards…”
In an attempt at a real thought for today, I leave you with this. In her last entry in the book, she suggests that writing is a “messenger of growth,” that from where we are, “we write toward what we will become…”
Black hole, indeed. Thanks for reminding your readership that it’s all too much: You, I, May Sarton and much of the rest of the planet have an 11-month year. December’s shot because merchants have convinced us that we have to spend a ton of money by 12/25 to prove to our loved ones that we love them.
May Sarton also writes so beautifully in Plant Dreaming Deep, a book of essays about her move to solitude in a small town. I also just finished a novel Sarton wrote about a woman dying of cancer, which is more about living than dying, called A Reckoning. It’s not depressing at all, but rather extremely uplifting and thought provoking. I may start at page one again tonight. I love to reread books, some several times, some once a year or so.