My Favorite Season!

I preface this blog with the following:

I am not a religious man. I believe in a higher power. I have to hope there’s one out there. Sometimes, I call Him/Her/It God. Sometimes, we talk. Sometimes, I pray.

That’s about as far as it goes.

This isn’t one of my favorite seasons because I find comfort in the community a church provides, though I know people who do, and for them that comfort is real, and it works magic at points. No judgement from me.

This (Thanksgiving to Christmas) is my favorite season because it reminds me that a great man lived a great life. He was my grandpa, or Papa. He was a cook. A bongo drummer. A marine in Korea. A bartender. One of Santa’s helpers, who didn’t need to be given extra padding for his Santa suit, because he already had the right amount of padding. A reader of stories from The Hardy Boys to The Boxcar Children to Crichton to The Great Gatsby to my own offerings. Which he always read with a twinkle in his eye.

He was my first reader. He believed in me always. When he was lying, short of breath, in his bed near the end of his life, he took my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, “My writer.”

I am his writer. It’s my job to preserve his memory. To tell you that he made his own turkey gravy, and in my dreams I can still taste it around this time of year. He made two kinds of pie every holiday, apple and pumpkin. I always ate both kinds every holiday, because I could.

I miss you, Pop. I will always miss you. Somewhere up there, in the Afterlife, where you’ve defeated the cancer that took you from us, you’re preparing for a Christmas to come, and you’re saying, “I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, kid. We had a big turkey up here. And we thought of you.”

Same here.

The Blank Page

There is nothing scarier than the blank page. It can bring on paralyzing fear. And it is a writer’s worst.

“That page is blank. What if it stays blank forever?” Believe it or not, some writers do worry about stuff like this. Most, actually.

For me, the beginning of any piece is its toughest portion (aside from editing, which is a whole other ball game entirely). For only with a proper start will work flourish the way it’s supposed to, in the end.

My go-to when I can’t seem to overcome that endless expanse of white: A poem. Write a poem. Let the wonder of language, its simplicity, complexity, its coarse edges, its smooth underbelly calling for a good vocal rub–let them all dance in concert on your ready tongue. Accept what the Gods of Poetry give you. Throw nothing back. What’s meant to come will come. That’s what I’m going to do, now.

A poem, written without concern for what it shall become, and entitled An Endless Expanse Of White.

 

I come awake to a

Snow-sky gray

Sweet Christmas Day,

Find the presents waiting.

As a child my night

 Drifted away right,

A moment fading from sight,

Replaced by this wonderful morn

Yet to be warm with hot chocolate and cheer,

Nor is it light,

Though the freshly fallen snow shimmers the immediate vicinity.

So that all is clear and bright.

That endless expanse of white.