Friday, December 22, 2023

nocturnal turnings

 Yesterday, the solstice passed and we now work our way towards daylight, though it seems an afterthought, now that the past couple of weeks have found me wholly nocturnal in my habits and wanderings. Slow early afternoons give way to work sprints peppered with scattered movie outings. Making pot roast in the middle of the night and writing poems when I've finished my design articles. Most days I go to bed shortly before dawn, only to rise around 1pm for coffee and pastries and then dawdle for a bit til J leaves for work, getting down to more serious business around sunset. As I watch the light creep into the sky, it reminds me of my college summers, when I would meet my mom getting up as I was going to bed. Some days necessitate earlier risings, especially if we have plans that happen in the early evening or god forbid, afternoon, which are rare but happen occasionally. The last week has been enormously heavy and gray and devoid of sun, so it is not like I am missing anything. 

Somehow, we are a mere two days from Christmas, which has felt strange for years now with my mom gone, and now with both parents lost, even stranger. We are planning on staying close to home, cooking some things, and watching some Christmas horror. We'll be headed out to Rockford mid-next week for a short visit with my sister, and once again, I'll be out downtown on New Years complete with a sparkly silvery dress already in my possession. I am hoping this milder, rainy and wet weather holds and we won't be snow-bound til January hits. 

While I've been working on books, I finished listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, which makes an excellent point about the idea of struggling and miserable artists. The tortured creative is such a trope we can scarce see past it. For writers, there are probably a million things to be miserable about, and some people let it consume them to the detriment of artmaking. Rejection, feeling invisible, feeling insecure in your abilities. There are any number of demons and very few saints who did not perish in some terrible way. But then again, that too is wrong, especially among poets, who for every Plath and Sexton, there are dozens of women writers who managed to keep going, many afflicted with similar mental or physical illnesses. They do not get as much attention, and perhaps it's our own myopia, but they surely existed. Exist even now, struggling to write in the middle of the night around other work obligations, over cradles and dinner tables at dawn. It's certainly nothing to be miserable about, especially in a world where there is too much misery outside us that threatens to swallow us whole. 

I did not light a candle for luck on the solstice, but I did string up another set of lights and replace my LED candles in their tiny holders. A few weeks back, I invested in a tiny lamp that looks like a moon for my desk since the bigger work light is always shadowed by my monitor, making it hard to read anything not on the screen once the sun sets. That is the best I can do in all the darkness. 

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