Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Thoughts on writing during the holidays....

I'm going to try to do it. I should do it. That contract calls for book #2 by Sept. 1, 2011, so if I'm smart, I'll keep going. No long break.

But I'm a real pushover for Christmas. I start humming carols in July, love the growing intensity of preparing to sing in Christmas concerts with my choirs, find the senses start tingling when I haul the (artificial) Christmas tree up the stairs, and have several emotional moments when hanging the ornaments, many of them saved with great care over the many years since childhood.

I have my tree decorating traditions -- The Nutcracker CD playing straight through both discs, a glass of something festive, and only the lights of the tree and the glow from the fireplace to guide me in placing each memory. And they do conjure up the days when I was a child, watching my parents do the tree, with my superb help of course, then watching The Nutcracker on TV (it amazingly was showing the night we would do the tree, every year -- at least that's how I remember it).

Christmas in a Swedish home meant we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and got up at 5 a.m. Christmas morning to attend a candlelight service at church. The foods were traditional -- lutefisk with white cream sauce at night; turkey the next day and plenty of Mom's homemade Swedish kaffebrod (coffee bread) (this year I actually nailed the recipe, after decades of trying) and pepparkakka (ginger cookies).

The smells, the sounds, the joy of my childhood Christmases have stayed with me and are present each year as I welcome each new holiday season. It is simply the most delightful time of the year, to me.

So, while wandering through these memories, I could have been writing my book. The fun part is, I'm setting this new one in the Christmas season, so I will write, a bit most days. But not every day.

How do you fit writing in with your holiday traditions?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

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