The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas



It just isn’t Christmas until you find yourself pulling an all-nighter to wrap up (no pun intended) everything that needs doing before the holiday. Traditionally, for me, this happens on Christmas eve as I struggle to make final preparations on gifts in time to get them under the tree, but this year it looks like it will be happening tonight, several days early, as I prepare for a flight scheduled for the dark of dawn. A certain part of me is weighing the relative merits of just staying awake until I make it onto the plane, allowing me enough time to pack and clean and, yes, wrap things in order to leave an orderly house: nevermind that the trip is only a brief one, I hate to leave things in medias res when I travel.

I likewise have to keep reminding myself not to bring my work with me. It’s a classic blunder- I make out on every single holiday, thinking that I will have the time, will, or desire to sit and do any work during the celebratory period. Thanksgiving weekend is always the biggest culprit- I always think I’m going to have one day of celebrating and three days to work but really it turns into four days of low grade indolence. Perhaps as it should be. This, I suppose, is the peril of having work that you actually enjoy doing (for me, that means writing- as much as I lament my frustrations with it, I enjoy it very much). Those four hours of flight time look tantalizingly like a time to get some writing done but I’m reaching a point where much of my writing is spread out over three notebooks and a laptop, which seems like a bit much to try to schlep across the country just for a few hours of work. At the same time, my narrative method seems be rather scattershot: chasing down scenes and moments according to when the inspiration strikes, rather than following the progression of the plot. This involves keeping quite a lot of story details in mind, trying to remember what goes where and in what order. Alas, my memory just isn’t that good. As Dr Jones Sr says: “I wrote it down so that I wouldn’t have to remember.” Truer words were never spoken.

At any rate, a part of me wants to frantically transcribe all three notebooks in order to put the writing on Google drive… Just in case I want to access it. The rational part of me knows this won’t happen (I can’t type that fast) and that it wouldn’t do me any good anyway (not paying for internet on an airplane), but the longing is still there. 

I wish I could turn that feeling of longing into actual motivation to work on those tines when I do have the time free to work. Alas, like the holidays, I need to press myself up against a deadline in order to force myself to get things done. 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 22, 2016.

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