Holidays can bring out unusual feelings. Hopeful, nostalgic, inspired, and joyful, yet also crazed, anxious, melancholy, or even hostile. I hope whatever you’re feeling today, eight days before Christmas, you are able to sit down with paper and pen (or computer and keyboard) and write down your feelings. Write without guilt. If you are an artist— sketch, paint, create. Use this stirring opportunity as a ticket to express.
Memories, Aspirations, Realities
Write a down your memories. If I could remember some of the stories my grandmother told, or even my parents… I would seal each word and expression into a secure vault in my heart. I would have a guard to protect me from myself. The key would be to describe my feelings, so she would know which memories to release. Which ones would mend, soothe, or trigger a turn of events. Which ones would bring laughter or tears… as there is a time for both. Memories of our past can slow down progress toward future goals, or they can springboard us forward. Start by writing them down.
Write down your aspirations. What do you wish for this Christmas? What would you like Santa to bring you? This is where you can be selfish or selfless, because it’s just a wish. You can seal your wish in an envelope for keeping, or destroy it for mental freedom. This is between you and yourself… all feelings are justifiable.
Write down your realities. When you take a peek back at what you wrote, maybe things aren’t as bad as you thought. Perhaps you discover things are worse than you thought, and it’s time to turn them around. Or maybe gratitude escapes from between the lines, and you find your life is better than ever imagined. Sometimes seeing your reality outlined on paper (or WORD document) causes the jolt we need to appreciate or make a needed change.
My point is, discoveries about our inner selves are important. And I believe they lead to brilliant writing. The most moving stories I’ve read have always been written from emotion; from someone feeling something, in both fiction and nonfiction. As a teacher, it’s what I impress upon my students the most. We write best what we know best… and this works in any genre because we can transfer emotions and feelings to any story topic. Read the nonfiction poem below:
By Joyce Sidman
Water nymph, you have
climbed from the shallows to don
Perched on a reed stem
all night, shedding your skin, you dry
your wings in moonlight.
Night melts into day.
Swift birds wait to snap you up.
Fly dragonfly! Fly!
Emotion. Reality. I imagine the author feels passionately about this natural creature, and shared her words with care and attention to an important moment in its life. Hope in a few words.
I surprised myself with some unusual feelings last Christmas. I won’t go into the full memory, as that reality is still locked up behind my vault. My guard, who knows me best, won’t release them right now. It is not the time. However, I will share a poem that came from those locked up emotions:
The Edge of Christmas Dinner
By Celaine Charles
Silver forks scratch ceramic plates.
quietly analyzing the green beans.
Inner pleas for escape,
minutes too long,
to say nothing,
to say something.
Not my happiest poem, but real. And just getting the words out was not only healing in my life personally, but also in my writing world. I took those emotions and finished some valuable character revisions I had been working on. Voila! Write down your feelings… your memories, your aspirations, your realities. They all count for something at some time, for some reason or another. Ironically, the holidays create a remarkable time for drudging up feelings of all kinds. So, take advantage.
Here is a poem from this year—a little raw, so you may need to check back later for revisions. But, my heart’s been full.
By Celaine Charles
Dressed in cheer.
Scarlet and evergreen
for inspiration and passion,
balance and growth.
What secrets he holds,
year after year,
memory after memory,
What stories he’s heard—
The truths he could tell,
joyful and sorrowful,
wrapped like garland,
like glittering strings of light.
Each ornament hung,
a tangible still life,
carrying moment after moment.
Some remembered or recalled
after a mere glance.
Others reminisced like time travel,
past events returned
to a room donned in hopeful spirit.
Each occasion stitched in stockings
by the fire,
warm for the taking,
if you so choose—
If you linger long enough in the veil
I hope this holiday finds you well, and regardless of what is happening in your life, hopeful. Take this opportunity to use whatever is in your heart, your head, and the depths of your gut as a ticket to new inspiration. Happy Holiday Writing!
Categories: Thoughts on writing...