This is actually a post I wrote a few weeks ago for you, when I was still finishing up the semester, and desperately pining to get out of the country. I presume that as you read this, I have succeeded at turning in my grades, writing all the letters of recommendation everyone wanted, and settling the housesitters in to the house. I expect I am in Iceland, away from the internet, email, and my phone –if not, I’ll need to remember to replace this with something else! — and expect I’ll be working on The American Tour rewrite, starting work on the next story/novella, “Sweet’s Heptad,” and going for walks in the cold and dark.
When I was little, I always loved the holiday season. It started with the beginning of Advent, because my Lutheran-pastor dad had special nighttime services for the Sundays of Advent, and as a family we often had nightly Advent meditations. The 23d of December, my mom and dad hosted an open house for the members of his church, and the weeks leading up were filled with baked goods my brother and I couldn’t touch until the 23d, and the smell of cider mulling. Rich and I kept the trays and tables refreshed with new cookies all through the night on a “one for me, one for the tray” basis. Dad’s Christmas dutues werew a flurry of services — children’s pageant and adult service on Christmas Eve; sometimes a midnight service; two or more services on Christmas Day, sometimes a visit to a nearby rest home or care center. Rich and I went to whichever were in synch with our ages at the time. Dad invariably collapsed with a head cold at the end of it all, and we ended the season with bowl games and the construction of giant Legos projects.
This year is going to be totally different for me: just me and Elizabeth alone in a artist’s residency in a very small town a long way from either of our homes. But I feel as though it is likely to be pleasant and restful in all the ways it was when I was a child, before jobs and social media and all the other complicators of life. I hope your holiday is a wonderful one!