Aside from watching the 12 (I kid you not) tutorials on how to use a planner book to get my life into full focus, I did not indulge in any throw-out-the-old-bring-in-the-new rituals in that glorious blank space between Christmas and New Year’s. Okay, I did draw out a Dave Ramsey style debt snowball chart, but it made me sigh with resignation instead of gird up my financial loins. Exhausted from watching all the video instructions of how to organize my days instead of attacking the pile of dirty dishes threatening to spill out of the sink and the equally daunting pile of laundry already abandoning the hamper like rats skittering off the Titanic, I closed up the mostly blank planner and rolled up my sleeves.
Every year for teachers, the Christmas holidays spread out across the horizon in a glorious vista of nothingness in which you can get everything done. Every year for this teacher in particular, there’s a sense of panic around December 30th when I realize the party’s over and all I have to show for it is a string of dental appointments and an unconscionable number of candy wrappers. By the time Epiphany rolls around (that’s Twelfth Night for your Shakespeare fans), I’m already full throttle into the new year and so “over” the holidays that I don’t even think about king cake. “Enough Christmas, already! I’ve got things to get done!” I invariably think, and then feel that rusted but ever-present anchor of Catholic guilt pulling, pulling…good thing God has time for you, stupid girl.
But not this year, Gentle Reader!
After the blackeyed peas and greens had a chance to run through my system (If you’re from the South you know exactly what I mean here), I hit the road for camp! Like some post-modern version of Jane Austen or my heroic literary hottie Charles Dickens, I took a curative by the sea. Okay, before those of you who know me personally go pointing out that I don’t live but 10 miles north of the prettiest beaches this side of the Mason-Dixon, you need to understand the following: no husband; no practices; no cooking; no bell schedule. Brisk walks, the gentle whisper of surf cradling my soul, and the communion of strangers-come-friends.
Graduate-level writing instruction fired my imagination, while real-life actual intellectual discussion about the craft of writing…discussion with egos, politics, and the minutiae of daily responsibilities held in suspense for just a few days amongst a community of authors–this is the stuff new years are made of!
What a way to start 2018!