Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Motel

Once, while in the midst of the (I believed then) obligatory baking of Christmas cookies, my friend Chris Torke called. Apologetically, she said that she had received a sheaf of poems from a student and had no idea what to say to him about them. Would I help?

"Yes!" I said. "And thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding me who I am. Please! Bring them over right now!"

I think she thought I was kidding, but I was as serious as a heart attack.

To say the least, I don't "do" Christmas well. I try, but it always gets me in the end. I sink lower and lower into a bad mix of sadness, guilt, anxiety,and dread. I get tireder and tireder, until I can barely stay awake.

Anyway. After Chris's call that day, I salvaged what I could salvage of the burnt, broken cookies, cleaned up the mess in the kitchen, and swore, Scarlett O'Hara style, As God is my witness, I will never, ever bake Christmas cookies again.

I don't remember anything about the poems Chris brought, just that reading them and saying something useful and encouraging was something I knew how to do. I felt like myself reading them. It was such a relief.

This picture of the Christmas Motel, sent my pal Mary Nicolini, captures how Christmas feels to me. It cheered me up all through this season--though, alas, not enough to avoid the holiday plunge.

I know I'm not alone out there!

Next year, a few days before Christmas, I am going to offer "Christmas Motel: An Afternoon of Escape from the Holiday Spirit" as a Writers' Center class. We'll write, commiserate, write some more.

Refreshments: store-bought Christmas cookies.

I'm betting it will fill.


Betsy said...

Sign Me Up!

Barbara Shoup said...

You're in!

Timekeeper said...

Barbara, reserve me a room. That looks like a 1960s motel that's not jammed up in a city somewhere.
Please visit my new side blog. Happy New Year