Is it possible that my writer’s block doesn’t actually exist? After all, at this very moment am I not sitting at this desk, listening to the rain, engaged in the very task of putting words in order? Am I not writing? Maybe what I want to call ‘writer’s block’ is simply generic malaise. An unease or a longing that I can’t quite define. If that’s true, then I’m lucky, because I love December.
December, sandwiched between my birthday and the New Year, is a gift. My teaching schedule is reduced and many of my private clients take days off to travel. In other words, I’ve got time on my hands.
For this reason, I always look forward to the month. I know everyone else is going to be preoccupied with shopping and skiing and partying. Everyone else will be running faster than normal. And I, more than any other time during the year, am given days of stillness.
Yes, I love December. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my ability to unwind. Instead of sitting back with a good book, I’m pacing and twiddling my thumbs. I’m racked with guilt and the tape in my head is playing “I should do this, I should do that” on a continuous loop.
A chronic optimist, December is the month when I eagerly plan for the next year. This is the month I count on to recharge my batteries. To fill me with hope. This year, however, I find myself incapable of thinking beyond my next meal (speaking of which, it’s almost time for lunch). I often advise my students to not become overwhelmed by thoughts about the past or the future. To remain in the present. But I feel stuck here, in the present – in a bad way. I’m spinning my wheels and there’s no traction.
Maybe 2010 was too big a year for me. Maybe I’m going to need more than a reduced schedule to recover.
Here are the Top Ten Moments, listed chronologically:
- In January I completed my first novel and prepared two non-fiction proposals for yoga books I’ve been noodling around with for a couple years. Anyone who has attempted this will understand the work involved. I’m proud of the accomplishment.
- In February I attended the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and pitched my novel to six agents. I am not a natural sales person, yet the agents I met all requested that I send them pages. Speaking to those agents and being asked for more was a huge victory – even if, after sending them my work, the answer was still ‘it’s not for us’.
- In March I flew to Washington DC and witnessed a friend receive the Congressional Gold Medal for flying military aircraft during World War II. She was a part of the civilian Women Airforce Service Pilots. I wish I had even half her bravery.
- In April I polished and submitted Practically Twisted (one of the yoga book proposals) to a local publisher for review. It was ultimately rejected, but still a worthwhile experience.
- In May I also began working with a mentor. Our weekly meetings, which continued for several months, lifted my writing but demonstrated how much more I needed to learn.
- In July I had my first colonoscopy. Stop giggling. It counts.
- In August I attended my two-week Yin Yoga Teacher Training. I promised myself I would continue the thirty-minute meditation practice we began each day with when I returned home. Right.
- In September, days after my return from Yin training, I boarded a plane bound for Pennsylvania and reunited with my mom. We had not spoken to one another in over two decades. I had not seen her since 1984. I’m still processing.
- I also reunited with my high school friends Beckie, Patty and Donna. Everyone looked exactly as they did in 1976. Seriously. We did. Especially Beckie.
- In October I drove to Reno, Nevada. My first solo road trip (I’m a road wimp. This counts more than the colonoscopy). I had another reunion, this time with my friend Mike. During college, he and I were good friends. We lost contact, as friends do, but found one another again on – where else – Facebook. Of all the moments this year, sitting in his music room, picking up the guitar again and singing brought me the closest to home.
Meanwhile, I continued to teach yoga classes and saw individual clients for private yoga sessions and body therapy. Of the three hundred and sixty-five days of 2010, I housesat for two hundred and thirteen.
And I continued to write. I entered dozens of writing competitions and submitted essays and poems to several literary magazines. Not only did I not set the literary world on fire, I don’t even think I threw a spark.
But there’s always next year.
And as this year winds down, I know that I am lucky. Other lives had tragic losses. I had warm reunions. Other lives had breathless gains. I moved forward, sometimes patiently, one single step at a time. It was a good year. A big year.
But I’m worn out. And hungry. It’s time for lunch followed by a nice, long nap.