Dear friends, it's that time of year when we start to feel the calendar slipping out from underneath us. Some of us are feeling the writing slowing down . . . family, the holidays, promises crowd at the window. Some of us are beginning to race, frantic, hoping to get that manuscript done (or that one more chapter, or that niggling scene), bundled and tied with a tag that says "2010, What I Did."
For me, this time of year is about taking stock: I gaze backward over the mounds of the months and ask myself if I've written as much as I wanted to (nope, never do), have published as much as I wished (nope, never enough), have learned as much as I meant to (odd, I can't remember some of what I planned to master at the beginning of the year, but I believe, in addition to completing another novel, I was going to learn to ride a horse. In the end I can only say with certainty I sat in a saddle). Still, there is a pile of words banked and rolled around me; some good sentences; some stories and chapters to be proud of; and there is, above all, the feeling of not being done. I treasure this feeling above all. I am not done. There is nothing about me that is done. Kiss the year good-bye, I'm still here. A horizon does not a sunset require.
For me this is not the time of year--not just yet!--to begin making pledges for the next. It's the time of year to lift chin and say, All right, I can see this and this and this was done, and that this over there was not negligible, and that that was a wrong turn but look how I recovered here, and there is where I left those, which I can easily pick up again, and over here was the darkness, which doesn't seem so dark right now, and there was that smooth patch, like going over cut grass. Good. I can see it all.
At this time of year, I hope you'll take a moment to indulge the view. It spools in back and in front. It's a road. The calendar is an illusion. You may, like me, not have done as much as you wanted, or even as much as you believe yourself capable of. But the road goes on. There is no falling short of it. There is only continuity. December seems to fall like a hammer. But a simile is what you make it.
December is a bridge painted white.
Love and joy to you all.
Causes Mylene Dressler Supports
The Women's Media Center