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writing progress made: I’ve decided that Mondays are going to be my day of rest. Don’t judge.
I have finally returned from my east coast adventure and hope to get back to some serious work on writing tomorrow.
On Friday, I hung out in DC with Bernard, who is one of my dearest friends in all of the world. After walking around the monuments in glinting, afternoon sunlight, we boarded the Metro and headed to Silver Spring. (We were going to the Roundhouse Theater to see Caberet Macabre.) When the train emerged from underground, it was suddenly dark outside. Bernard started grumbling about how quickly it gets dark this time of year.
“I hate it. What’s the darkest day of the year? December twenty-first?”
“Yes,” I said. “That’s the day the goblins rejoice.”
“Oh really? Why’s that?” (Bernard is used to me saying things like this.)
“Because, they’ve noticed that the days keep getting shorter and shorter, and the nights keep getting longer and longer, and they think that soon it will be one long, never-ending night, and finally the goblins will rule the earth…Because, you know, goblins can’t be out in the daytime.”
Bernard pondered this as our train approached the Silver Spring station.
“It’s from my favorite Christmas story,” I said. “This story called Christmas with the Goblins. It also involves a goat. It’s also Finnish.”
“So the goblins fall for it every year, huh?” Bernard asked.
“Well, yeah,” I said. “Goblins have short memories. They forgot what happened last year, so every year they get excited. And then they’re disappointed all over again.”
Goblins aren’t so different from people, after all.
On Saturday I spent the day in New York City with Chris, who is another one of my dearest friends. We walked around Central Park and then went to Greenpoint in Brooklyn to drink beer and check out his new studio. The whole day, my Grandma kept calling me to try to make Christmas plans.
I told her I needed to talk to my brother before I make official plans for Christmas. We usually drive together to my grandma’s house.
“How’s your brother doing?” Chris asked when I got off the phone. They were in the same department in art school.
“He’s good,” I said. “He’s dating another twenty-one-year-old.”
“Oh no,” Chris said.
“Yeah, I know. He should probably find someone closer to his own age. This is what he does, though. I guess we all have the tendency to repeat the same habits.”
This time of year – Thanksgiving and Christmas and the New Year –makes me think about cycles. How the seasons come and go and we find ourselves doing the same things year after year. I think about what I was doing this time last year, and the year before. Are we all just going around in circles, in a perpetual state of deja vu?
* * *
On the drive home, I thought about how I’ve done so little writing in the past few weeks. I feel like I’m right back to where I was in August – doubting myself, berating myself for my lack of productivity, wondering if writing is really what I should really be doing with my life. Have I learned nothing?
When I got back to Nikki and Nate’s, there were three strange, dried-out objects on the kitchen table. They looked somewhat like snake skins.
“What are these things?” I asked, poking at them curiously.
“Conch shell egg sacks,” Nikki told me. “Sometimes they wash up on shore.” She shook one of them and a tiny conch shell, the size of a speck of dust, fell out onto the table.
“That’s so cool,” I said. I squinted my eyes to see the spiral of the teeny tiny shell.
* * *
We all have our cycles, and I’m at the beginning of my creative cycle again – the place where I’m searching for my next idea. I was here in August and it freaked me out, but eventually I found my idea and was able to move on and eventually finish my novel. If it happened once, chances are, it will happen again. That seems to be the way of life. Cycles repeat. This part of the cycle won’t last forever, and even though it isn’t my favorite stop along the track, this time I’m not quite as nervous about being here.
So maybe life isn’t exactly a circle. Sure, we come back around to the same things time and time again, but each time we’re a little different and, hopefully, just a speck wiser.
Maybe, like the itsy bitsy conch shell, life is a spiral.
The only question is, am I moving outward along the spiral, my orbits growing larger as I make my way into the great beyond? Or am I moving inward, zeroing in closer and closer on some dense and unknowable origin?
Maybe, somehow, I’m doing both.