Normally, in our family, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is referred to as the tucked-away week. This year, not so much. This year, we have some domestic stuff to wrangle, and our annual gathering with friends, that usually marks the new year, will be happening a bit later; this year, it will be in the middle of February, shortly after Valentine’s Day. For me, that caps the winter holiday season, so that’s ending things in grand style. Until then, it’s a bit of an adventure.
My Christmas historical romance binge continues apace, and my planner now has two full pages, listing historical romance novels to re-read, and to finally read, in the year to come. Writing-wise, big goal is to get at least one book out there in 2018. Finding more freelance blogging work would be fabulous, too, and, once the dust settles, that’s definitely on the agenda. None of that can happen, though, without regular work on the works in progress.
That’s easier said than done sometimes, especially when there are hoops to jump through and processes to follow, and getting a stretch of time when one is both conscious and uninterrupted feels like the true holiday miracle. Note that there was no mention of “inspired” or “in the mood.” Sometimes, the anxiety beast has to run itself into exhaustion, and, when that happens, there isn’t a lot of energy left to get excited about much of anything. Thankfully, though, there is a sort of creative muscle memory, and, if I get a pen in my hand, and some paper in front of me, sooner or later, the two are going to connect. I would say butt in chair and fingers on keyboard, but A) Facebook, B) blinking cursors are easy to stare at for hours on end.
I would be remiss here, if I did not mention the irritation of logging into Netflix for my much-needed Being Human fix, only to find that, sometime in the night, a door had apparently appeared and the whole show walked through it. Pause here for an audible “humph.” Cue fingers drumming on desktop, and half-hearted watching of a British period comedy that should have caught my interest, but, over halfway in, has not. I may need to brew yet another cup of tea and retreat under a fuzzy blanket with yet another Christmas novella, and, maybe, a new notebook.
Those who know me, know that pens and paper are my natural environment, and, given the same, I will produce something. At the moment, I’m not entirely recalling what the official stance is on the writing of commercial fiction during the tucked-away week. My best educated guess is that it permissible, and possibly encouraged, which I will take as a sign that moving in that direction (possibly after a suitable interval of reading, cat in close proximity, is a good idea, and a likely eventuality.
So far, this year, I have watched precisely one Christmas movie. It was an older Hallmark movie, decently cast, but I have several questions about some of the writing choices. Both my Christmas mainstays, The Holiday, and Love Actually, are readily available, on DVD, as well as streaming. Three, if I count About a Boy, which I do, though, again, I have not watched this year. Okay, four, with the Jude Law version of Alfie. Not technically a Christmas movie as such, but it does have a pivotal plot point at Christmas, so that counts for me. Okay, five, with Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, which very much is a Christmas movie, as well as the first movie I ever saw, so double nostalgia points.
This year, the tucked-away week does not feel all that tucked away, but I still like to think that the spirit of it remains, even if concentrated in small doses, instead of evenly spread out across a long, lazy week. There are still plenty of Christmas cookies, and holiday leftovers, which are an essential part of the week, and the new month, and new year, start on a Monday, which is an absolute delight for migrating to my new bullet journal/planner. Maybe that’s the best part of the tucked-away week (even when it’s not so much tucked away) the looking forward and looking back, at the same time. The putting to bed of one year and the fresh start of the next.
At this point, some bloggers would stop writing, pick up their cat, and sing “The Circle of Life,” but I am not one of those bloggers, Skye is not one of those cats (she is a floor girl) and I was kicked out of robe choir in high school, for having a bad voice (teacher’s own words) in front of the whole class (I did not mind terribly, as I got to read -you guessed it, historical romance novels- instead of singing, while everybody else proceeded with business as usual.) Instead, I will put the kettle on the stove, plop a fresh teabag in my cup, and rest in the knowledge that a librarian will have series three of Being Human ready for me in a matter of days, and I can work my way down my movie list, with Christmas movies nudged to the top. Probably.
The tucked-away week probably started as a way to extend my favorite holiday, Christmas, but turned into its own thing, at some point I can’t and don’t want to pinpoint. More than anything else, it’s a time to pause from all the rest of life and focus inward, on family and friends, imaginary friends included, and gear up to start the new year with a fresh perspective. This year, I am more than okay with that.