Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Gift of Time

When it came time to do Christmas shopping this past fall and winter, my mom had a hard time getting any ideas out of me. For starters, I've always been the kind of person whose mind blanks when they're asked what they would like for Christmas. On top of that, when you've spent your autumn bundling things out of the house in an effort to sift your possessions down to the essentials, it's even harder to try and think of a list of things to bring into it. All I could do was shrug my shoulders and say, "What can I tell you? I'm content!"

One day when I was trying to write in the midst of household chores and Mom had just sprung the "What do you want for Christmas?" question on me for the fiftieth time, I answered off-the-cuff, "A few hours of uninterrupted time to just write."

I meant it, but I never expected to get it.

But I did. Under the tree on Christmas morning was a long, spindly cylinder-shaped gift that mystified me until I got it unwrapped. It turned out to be this—the idea being that I will now have no trouble in keeping track of my pencils, which have a habit of disappearing so unaccountably. But there was also something more.

Inside the cylinder, wrapped around the pencils, was a beautifully hand-decorated certificate informing me that my three younger siblings' joint Christmas gift to me was a week of my choice in January in which they would take over all my household chores—all cooking, cleaning, and any miscellaneous tasks I usually do—in addition to their own, so I could just write. Entire freedom! To write uninterrupted! I'm halfway into it, and I'm still having a little difficulty believing my own good fortune.

I waited till just the right week, so I could make sure it was convenient for everybody and so I could plan carefully what I was going to spend the precious time working on. As late as this past Sunday, the day it went into effect, I was a little nervous that I'd make a muddle of it. What if I got writers' block, or ran out of new ideas, or got stuck in my story? But I needn't have worried. It's been going just as beautifully as I dreamed it would. I started writing a new book Monday morning—a little more about that in a future post—and I'm currently in the middle of the fourth chapter, have hammered out a rough outline and discovered my title. If the rest of the week goes this wonderfully, this will go down in history as one of the greatest Christmas gifts of all time. If you're racking your brains over what gift to give a writer, I highly recommend it.


Rachel Heffington said...

This is amazing. I love it!! My family has been precious to me while getting FAH ready for publication; seriously: they let me have my space and time but WHAT a fabulous idea to give it as a gift! <3 You have a wonderful Mama.

Sarah Holman said...

That is an awesome gift! I hope you are getting a lot of writing time

Hannah Scheele said...

I have relatives who are so terribly contented round about Christmas-time. It's awful shopping for them! :D
That is an awesome idea. It's the kind of idea that's so obvious it doesn't usually occur to people---but when it does, everyone's like, " Wow."
Glad you're not getting writer's block!