The White Witch may have been on to something...
So Christmas is coming up and that sets my panic button all aflutter. Christmas is very bad for writers. Very bad. Why?
1. All your children are home on holiday from school. It’s highly doubtful that you will be swept away by Daniel’s abs or Keahi’s breathless declarations of love for Leila…when there are five children squabbling, breathing your air, eating all the food that isn’t hidden safely under your bed, pestering you about shopping for presents. When you’re a parent, Christmas is all about children. Writing a book? Are you kidding? Hell no. Only bad, evil, uncaring, Narnia White Witch women write books during the Christmas season.
2. You are so much more liable to fall prey to GUILT. You remember how your mum decorated the entire house for Christmas when you were a child and you realize your house is Christmas-cheerless. You hear your mother’s voice in your ear, your brain, following you into the writing cave, “Mothers are the makers of magic. Mothers create memories. Mothers make Christmas for years to come.” And so you must pack away that laptop and bust out the Martha-Stewart voodoo doll. Channel your inner Mrs Claus. Your inner decorating and baking muse. You must make Xmas cookies with eager children. And let everyone have a stir of the Xmas pudding and make a wish – just like how your mum did. You must deck the house from top to toe in green pine and red sparkly baubles. And rifle through nightclub rubbish bins like a drunk – in search of empty wine bottles so you can dot them with taper candles, creating magical centerpieces worthy of Vogue magazine. And you have to do it with a smile. Dammnit. Or else it doesn’t count for blessings in heaven. So you do all that and then at 2am you try to answer the call of the book you’re working on. Lani, what about meee? And you get frustrated because you’re tired and you can’t get all the words and images out just the way you want them to. So you’re frustrated. And meaner. Badder. Ready to decree your home, ‘Always winter and NEVER Christmas!‘ (cue witch laugh here.)
3. There are family and friends crawling out of the woodwork. Because of course that’s what Christmas is about. Spending time with loved ones. Joyous happy times. Not sitting in your room with earphones on, blasting the soundtrack from Breaking Dawn. Or mouthing all the curse-words from Eminem. With a blaring sign on the door LEAVE ME ALONE. I’M WRITING. DON’T BOTHER ME UNLESS YOU HAVE DONUTS. No. During the Christmas season, you have to talk to people. Go to family dinners. Host family gatherings. Smile a lot. Visit friends. (yes, I do have friends thank you very much…) Take them cookies. Smile some more. Heaven forbid…sing Christmas carols. Christmas is not for solitary hermit types. No. They get locked up in a cupboard because they’re too sour. Too Scrooge McDuck.
The Christmas season may be all about love. The Saviour. Family,. Sharing. Friends. Joy. But for a writer who’s trying to finish several books? Who’s addicted to her laptop? Who’s only half-living in the real world because she’s actually existing in that book place where her characters hang out?
Christmas is depressing. Frustrating. And guilt-ridden.
I think I need some Turkish Delight.