Friday, December 19, 2008

Vast, Black Empties


I’m on the brink of doing some writing. I’ve skirted the edge of a few ideas. I’ve had good intentions, then abandoned them. I’ve wanted to revise a novel, whip out a few 6s, write a play and draft a few quick flashes. I’ve even thought about revisiting “The End of Day,” a flash I got great feedback on from some fellow writers. But what have I actually done this month? A whole lot of nothing. If Santa awarded gifts based on productivity, I’d end up owing him.

I go through this every December. The worst part is how unbalanced I feel. I’m one of those people who gets snarky when she doesn’t write. A whole lot of uneasiness wells up inside me. I don’t like myself. I want to peel off my identity. I sizzle with energy that has no safe outlet. During December, I put that energy into holiday preparations. I bake cookies. I meet friends for dinner. I cook for the hungry masses. This year, I ventured into something new and unhappy, namely some exhausting girlfriend dramas. Clearly, I’m not the only one who suffers holiday insanity. And still, in the midst of wrapping presents and angsty reconciliations, there’s the awful feeling of emptiness. The waiting.

I’m a big believer in the God-shaped hole in our hearts. I’ve lived with it. I’ve seen it consume the lives of others. I’ve seen people throw drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, bad relationships, anything they can find into the void of their vast, black empties. My writing is what helps fill mine. I think that’s why God gave it to me and why I miss it so much when it’s gone. It’s my balance, how I make sense of His world. Without it, life seems like so much clanging noise.

At the bottom of it all, we need peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding, the kind that bubbles unexpectedly from the stormy heart. And I know it’s there, hiding in the empties. So I count the days until Christmas, hungry for peace, knowing God comes to us in so many ways.


Stephen said...

Hey Greta,

First, I want to wish a "Merry Christmas" to you and yours. May you, your hubby and your baby girl have a blessed holiday season.

I know what you mean about that big hole, and it comes out in your writing--how people try to fill it with everything they can, instead of the One thing they should, and suffer the consequences of their decisions. Thank you for sharing that with all of us.

And I understand how you feel right now. With this holiday season, everything tugs at us from all possible angles, and finding time to write is absolutely hard to do. Boy do I know that to be true. Keep your chin up, though, and just enjoy your family for now. After the new year, I'm sure you'll find your stride again.

Take care of yourself.

Greta said...

Stephen, no worries. You know me: I'll get back into my swing. I'm in circling mode now. I was laying in bed this morning, planning my next few weeks, and I felt that tiny frisson of excitement as I thought about my projects. Can productivity be far behind?

My best to your family, too. I'm sure we'll be in touch. I'll be home, plugging cloves and pineapple rings on the ham.