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Need a Spark in December's Dark? Write!

In this strange and anxious year, I’ve frequently found myself disoriented. I’ve had to check my calendar at least once a day in order to confirm the date. I’ve mistaken Tuesday for Sunday. I’ve forgotten anniversaries, birthdays, even holidays. There have even been days when I needed to be reminded whether it was Spring, Summer, or Fall.


Now that we are heading into the darkest and coldest time of this dark and cold year, the time when traditionally we fill our calendars with social gatherings that bring joy and sparkle to our lives, the dis-

orientation is getting serious. My family isn’t planning a Thanksgiving feast this year. As Hanukkah approaches there will be no latka parties; we’ll be lighting our menorahs alone. For friends who celebrate Christmas, I suspect the church bells will sound somewhat hollow without the joyous celebrations that usually fill this time. No office parties, no holiday open houses, no communal feasts for Kwanzaa. Sure, we might sing The Dreidel Song together over Zoom and lift a class of cheer at a virtual holiday party.


But it’s going to feel weird.

Which means it will be a perfect time to write.

One of the things I’ve learned through the years of leading writing groups and through my own writing practice is that disorientation and weirdness are fertile states for a writer. Being off kilter, unsure, out of your comfort zone—these are all great places to start writing from. I’m not advocating making yourself dizzy before you sit down in front of a blank page, but showing up at your writing desk when you’re confused is not a bad idea.


See, that well-oriented, clear-headed planner part of your brain, the part that always knows what day of the week it is and would never mistake Spring for Fall, is often at odds with the creative, open-hearted, curious, and wild part of your brain, the part that can find a spark of light even on the darkest day in December and turn that spark into some exciting writing.


I’m hoping you’ll bring your off-kilter brain with you and join me for a day of dizzy writing on December 12th to shine some light into our darkness together.



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© 2020 by Deborah Nedelman