december 1: new leaf

December 1, 2018 @ 12:07 pm | Filed under:

Ahhhh. Here it is, the day I’ve been working toward. There was no nice clean line between buried under work and wooo I’m free!—it’s been a gradual digging-out process, like shoveling snow. But my walks are clear now and I can at least emerge from the cave.

I’m blinking a bit. It’s ironic that this hemisphere is heading toward its darkest, coldest season, and here I am feeling like spring is on the way. The icicles haven’t even formed yet and I’m already hearing them drip. Sometimes the seasons of our personal lives don’t sync up with what’s happening in nature.

I’m glad, though, that the chilly weather, the rain, the early dark, will keep me physically cloistered a bit longer. I need some time to regroup, to restore balance. And of course there’s the holidays to consider…I’ve just barely begun the shopping and the house is still wearing autumn clothes.

This time last year I started a practice of writing Morning Pages a la Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Three pages longhand immediately upon waking, before opening any tabs or apps. I kept it up for a couple of months, then fizzled out. Resumed the practice in June and shifted my work routine so that right after finishing my morning pages, I worked on the novel for a couple of hours before breakfast. That was a wonderfully productive schedule for two or three months, and then summer ended and the family’s morning rhythm changed, and I had less solo time before breakfast. I dropped the morning pages and kept plugging away at the novel.

I’m shifting back now to my summertime rhythm, with tweaks. Up early, twenty minutes of quiet writing time, then Huck joins me in the studio for an early morning snuggle and chat. We watch the black sky fade to navy blue, steel blue, sky blue streaked with cream-colored clouds. The birds wake up, crows winging past the window, goldfinches arriving at the feeder, juncoes perching on the rain dome. Steven wakes for school and comes in to tear off the page on my ‘year of tiny pleasures‘ calendar. Then both boys scoot out to get their breakfast and I try to work for another hour or two. The temptation to climb back in bed next to Scott for a few minutes is strong, and some mornings I succumb. Never for long, because he gets up to make Steve’s lunch, and then the bus comes, and the girls begin arriving in the kitchen, and the busy day has begun.

For the next few weeks, instead of morning pages I’m going to do the lessons in Holly Wren Spaulding‘s 21 Day Poetry Challenge. I’m excited: I don’t think I’d be enthusiastic about getting up in the early dark on these cold December mornings just to write my morning pages. (I find the pages to be a valuable practice, but I don’t enjoy writing them. I’ve never been a journaler.) The theme for Holly’s course is “interior,” which is just right for this change-of-season I’m in. I also plan to choose a corresponding art practice for these twenty-one days, something simple—a daily sketch of some kind, perhaps sparked by a Creativebug* lesson, perhaps just something on my desk. My sketchbook practice has been a bit sporadic of late, although I did manage some good work this fall.

I recently read Austin Kleon‘s Show Your Work, a book that felt like a fresh pair of batteries for my blog. It made me realize that “showing my work” was exactly what I did here from 2005-2015: I was thinking out loud, learning in public, about homeschooling and parenting. Tidal Homeschooling grew out of that pondering. My sketchbook habit great out of it. A lot of things grew out of it! And I realized that’s what I want to return to. I don’t yet know where in the day a regular blog practice will fit but I plan to spend December playing with rhythm to see if something clicks.

What does your December look like?

*That’s an affiliate link because there’s a sweet deal on right now: three months of Creativebug for $1. I consider our CB subscription to be the best five dollars I spend every month.

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6 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Penny says:

    Best wishes on all of your endeavors. I hope the poetry challenge delights you!


  2. Margaret Berns says:

    Your writing is like a cozy quilt, Lissa—I snuggle in, smile, sip my coffee, dream big.

    What does my December look like? The Minnesota version of yours, I hope.

    {sips coffee}

    {dreams big}

    {flips the calendar}


  3. sarah says:

    My December is long hot days, claustrophobically muggy nights, and the feeling of excitement that seems to thrill the air as the summer holidays approach. I wish we had winter Christmases here!

  4. Kortney Garrison says:

    So glad that you’ll be writing with Holly–she’s a wonderful teacher. And I’ll be on the other side of the city writing in the dark, lighting candles, listening for the children as they wake.

  5. Darren A Jones says:

    Lovely writing.

    My December:

    Morning Prayer with the wonderful words of the Collect for the First Sunday of Advent.

    Teaching my 10th grader about the Civil War and Reconstruction.

    Reading “Love Came Down: Anglican Readings for Advent.”

    Decorating the house with Advent poems, that only I will read, because for some strange reason my children did not inherit my love for poetry.

  6. tee+d says:

    Well, hello! Welcome back! I, too, feel a bit like I’m coming out of some kind of mental haze, just in time for the world to be swathed in clouds and fog and rain. I welcome it all, though.

    Happy autumn, Happy Advent, Happy Hanukkah –