by Valerie Davisson
I love the Holidays!
When I first considered a topic for this December blog post, the Magic of the Season came to mind. It’s that little niggle of delight and excitement that comes with the prospect of finding good deals on perfect gifts for every loved one. It’s the anticipation of seeing their faces as they open the gifts we’ve chosen with such care. And it’s the tingle of pleasure knowing we’ve given them a moment of joy, no matter what else might be happening in their lives. For a few precious weeks, we focus on giving to each other in a season of kindness and generosity.
As writers, we get to feel that excitement, anticipation and tingle every time we really get rolling on a new book, or get past a particularly sticky plot point. And the feeling of satisfaction we get from actually finishing a book, one we are proud to present to the world, well…it doesn’t get much better than that.
Do we, as writers, receive more than we give?
I sometimes worry this Magic I feel is a selfish thing. Am I getting more than I’m giving? After all, writing takes a tremendous amount of time and emotional energy away from our family and friends. Most writers don’t earn much money, and many spend more than they earn – sometimes for years. Very few writers make enough to support their families or even help them, and far fewer get rich from it.
How does writing fit in with the spirit of the Holidays? Without tangible benefits normally recognized by society, how can writing, or any art form, be seen as an act of generosity? What are we giving?
How can writing be seen as an act of generosity?
I only need to look to last week to answer that question. I read a poem by Langston Hughes that put me in a particular frame of mind to help one of my students. When I stopped and looked around, I realized how often good writing has affected me – and all of us. Hearts are cracked open by a poem, spirits lifted after a loss by seeing a fictional character overcoming theirs, and hope revitalized by the kick in the pants we need at just the right time to knock us out of self pity.
Writing that gives generously doesn’t have to be on the level of Langston’s powerful poems or Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. It can be just a good, solid story that keeps our minds distracted when nothing else works, when we’re going through something that can’t be changed, but must be endured. Or just have insomnia.
There is value in a good story.
So, write yours! Be proud of all you have written already. And don’t feel guilty for scheduling some writing time during the Holidays. Writing really is an ongoing act of generosity. We are lucky to be able to play Santa all year long!
A self-admitted book addict, Valerie Davisson was the kid with the flashlight under her pillow, reading in bed long after lights out. Growing up in different countries led to degrees in Cultural Anthropology, Teaching, and a pervasive interest in people and how we navigate our world. Writing is her Passion! She is the author of Saturday Salon: Bringing Conversation and Community Back Into Our Lives, and the new Mystery/Thriller series featuring strong, female protagonist Logan McKenna. You can find her on her website at www.ValerieDavisson.com.