It’s Christmas Eve at 9:14 AM Pacific time. I’m drinking an Irish coffee unbeknownst to my mother. First lie. It’s a poor man’s Irish coffee with whiskey that isn’t from the land of leprechauns and Bailey’s. Close enough.
The sun is shining, the tide is rolling in, and the Christmas tree looks weird against the backdrop of the shore. My boyfriend is making me eggs while I sit at the table trying to make the already late deadline for a magazine I contribute to. My marinating thoughts have finally come to fruition and sometimes it scares me the way they’ve been blackened.
It’s almost the new year. No capital letters necessary. I’m not a real writer like I always thought I was going to be one day, but I’m working on the “one day” part.
I’m not sure what it is that denotes a real writer but if it is getting paid for writing then that whopping $20.00 in my PayPal account for a poem I wrote makes me at least as talented as the crumbs that probably used to get stuck in Hemingway’s mustache, right?
Probably not. But I can now say that I’m published.
Someone recently asked me when I find the time to write and it caused me to fall off the earth for a few seconds before catching up with the spinning. After the pause I replied, “When do I find the time to do anything else?”
Even when I’m not literally writing, I’m always writing. My thoughts are constantly blending the pastels of my mind like the sunset I once saw that I’ve been struggling to describe ever since. Each word tastes different on my breath so I’m determined to refine my palette before I develop an allergy.
If you’ve ever played the game in which one person says a word and then someone else must say the first word that comes to his or her head in response, then you understand how curious it is that certain words have very specific implications.
Since there’s no snow here in San Diego, does that mean it’s not Christmas?
Sometimes during the holidays it feels like I’m being suffocated. The pressure of getting into the spirit, decorating the tree, hanging up lights, saying Ho Ho Ho, listening to mind-numbing Christmas music, talking to estranged grandparents on the phone, and receiving too many promotional emails from different retails stores.
Despite all of this, I can finally breathe easily after 23 years of a daunting existence (that I’ve spent mostly in my head). I know that my boyfriend makes me happy and if it was this time last year, I would have been confused by my apparent ecstasy and would have abandoned the very notion.
Maybe I have it backwards because my writing will always come first, but for the first time, I understand that it doesn’t matter how many ornaments you put up on the tree if you’re not happy with the one that you’re putting them up with.
–story by MARISA CRANE