I am so excited to be the guest blogger at Suite T, Southern Writer's Magazine! Check it out!
That Perfect Gift
The shopping-days-countdown is ON! Traffic is jammed. Stores crowded. People rushed. It all makes me tired. And a bit sad.
I know lots of folks who thrive on the hustle and bustle. On the frantic rush to find a gift for everyone on the list. On the energy and excitement of being out there in the middle of all the craziness. And that’s a good thing—for them. For me, all the noise, the tension, the energy-flowing-out-and spilling-everywhere is stressful.
I tried doing it that way for years. I left the house intent on joining in, getting it done, checking off those names. Pushing forward. But by the time I found a parking space and made my way to the shops, I had all but drained my energy reserves. There was nothing left for the shopping.
I wish I were different. I wish I thrived on all that.
But the truth is, I don’t. Never have. Never will.
It’s sort of like the rush some people feel when they approach their writing. Get the story down. Read it through once. Maybe run it by the writing group. Make a few adjustments, and BAM! That story is D.O.N.E.
But I can’t do that either.
Actually, I gift-shop all year long. Not as an intentional project. Just a slow meandering through whatever presents itself on any given day. I love the surpise and delight of coming across (quite by accident) THE PERFECT GIFT for someone. And since most of my family and friends have everything and more than they need, the perfect gift is often some quirky, never-before-thought-of-thing that well….just FITS them.
For instance, my son is a history professor and a guitar man. All year, I’ve been searching for ideas for what he might like for Christmas. He has insisted I not buy clothes. Except for dress socks. I’m allowed to purchase those because he tends to wear them out or lose them to the sock-eating-washing-machine. So, I do have socks for him. He has numerous guitars, and I wouldn’t buy one of those anyway because I know nothing about them.
He loves all things old, antique, and history-related. So, on a recent trip to a craft and antiques market near where he lives, I did find three small items I think he will like and use. But, truth-be-told, I was beginning to get a bit anxious because days are dwindling, and I didn’t feel I had “the perfect gift” for him. And that made me sad. You see, I love to love what I purchase for people.
Then yesterday—a dreary, gray, inside-by-the-fire kind of day, I binge-watched some shows on television, which I rarely to. And voila! There it was. Something I believe he will like and appreciate. I believe it is the perfect “special” gift just for him. I was soooo excited. I couldn’t get to the computer fast enough! I typed in the item, made my selections, and BAM! That gift was bought! And I love this gift.
It happens that way in writing, for me, too. I fiddle with an idea. I mull over the story my head. I jot down a few pages. I let that simmer. I might go weeks or months (and sometimes YEARS) just letting that story stew inside me or in rough form on my computer.
Then the universe spins just right, and I KNOW exactly what to do with that story. Fiddling with it before that moment can help get me there, but until the time is right, that single, best idea for that story remains elusive.
The good news is that when it happens. I KNOW it. I feel it. I rush to the computer and type in a rough draft or make the changes to the pages I’ve already tucked away. I commit to that story. I revise it. Revise it. Revise it. And then BAM! The universe conspires again to let me know when it is DONE! There is a feeling inside me that tells me it’s ready for the writing group. It’s ready for final edits. It’s ready to send out there. It’s the best gift I can give at that point in time.
I love to love what I write. For others, yes. But especially for myself. It’s like finding that perfect, made-just-for-me-present. It is that satisfaction of knowing the work was done with care. Done with love. Done with the best I could give it
And that makes for a very, merry, me!
Merry Christmas, Y’all!