All I want for Christmas is one more week

We have officially reached the part of December where I long for January. I love seeing everyone at Christmas, I love making cookies, love, love, love wrapping presents, love the magic and the season and all that jazz, but no matter how I attempt to orchestrate this damn month, every year it leaves me tied up and wasted in the corner by the time it’s over. I am always running out of time. Today I’m looking at my to-do list and looking ahead to the next few weeks and I have absolutely no idea how this is all going to happen. So far I have been trusting in serendipity, and so far that has worked, but I feel like I’m doing the tango in the head of a pin. Any second, I’m going to slide off into the abyss.

I’d be okay if I weren’t trying to write, but as far as my mental mindset is concerned, this is the same as someone else doing Christmas prep saying, "I’d be okay without my day job." In years past my saying so was just a fancy, a way of playing at making writing real; it was perhaps even more important then, but right now there is a hard reality to that determination. I want Miles and the Dragon stories out the door. I want them drafted, I want them read, I want them submitted to DSP so they are someone else’s problem. I like the idea of ending 2009 with all these projects off my desk so that I can start 2010 with the agenda of getting Etsey back in the game and of putting the STB manuscript into shape, because it’s the next one going to Dreamspinner after Miles and the dragon short story. Etsey needs an outside home, I’m pretty sure, but that’s an assessment I have yet to fully make, and something else to sit and meditate about. But this is all the more reason why I want the 2009 projects ended and done. And the only way this happens is with work.

To be honest, it’s very good discipline. There is not time for hand-wringing and carrying on and worrying about whether or not the scene works. There is only time to make it work. Perfect isn’t even an option. Functionality is. If later I look at this and think I could do better, well, that will be an interesting mental exercise, and this is all it will be. Or if I work them up and they’re turned down? Fine. That’s something also to deal with in 2010. None of this matters right now. Right now I am working, I am doing my best, and I am getting it off my desk.

Two projects at once is not my favorite way to go, but there’s a rightness about doing so when I’m working in December. Nothing about this month is ideal. You cram way too much into way too little time and nearly kill yourself with the effort. So to balance that I’m working on dual projects, going a bit too fast and being a bit too regimented with them. What I can do is dance my zen as much as I can as I move between them, enjoying the one I am with while I am with it, then putting it firmly aside as I switch laundry, do some dishes, or stop to make cookies with Anna. In the end I think there’s more opportunity in this chaos to enjoy the nows; if we can let go of the other things that surround them, there is a potency to each one, to baking, to wrapping, to writing, to editing, and even to cleaning. To visits with family, to traveling, to making business decisions. When done right, it’s a beautiful, exhilarating dance.

Of course, I’d enjoy this a lot more if my shoulders were not on extreme strike, but I’ll just consider this my pound of fruitcake and keep the pain killers on hand.

Back to work.

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