owl in winter

owl in winter

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Here we are, smack in the middle/end of January. January, the first month of the new year. The month of bone-chilling winds, hot tea in pretty china cups, hearty casseroles steaming in bakeware and fur-lined snowboots, splotched from tramping through snow. January. The month of new resolves, goal making, organization and list upon list upon list of things to accomplish here in this new year. Lists of things we will DO this year, things to accomplish, goals.

We're goal orientated anyway, aren't we? But. Do we need to be?

Well, as far as I am concerned, about organizing your closets, which seems to be what January is about, you can do that any time. January just seems a good month to toss out old and not usable, and to put everything you wish to keep in order, from tupperware to sweaters.

But as writers, well, we work all year long. We organize, search through, find new, find old, we put things in boxes all year long. Writers have an interminable attic containing every thought, every character, every scene we can ever think of, in boxes in our eternal attic, to be pulled out when needed.

We have memories, we have photos, we have trunks and trunks of fabrics, and notecards of handwritten recipes and weather forecasts and Bibles complete with family trees. We have baby bibs and quilts and land owner records. Some of us may be lucky enough to have diaries, personal, hand written thoughts, impressions, real life happenings.

Allow yourself to revel in these things, allow yourself to think about what went before you. Relax. And then, allow yourself to reflect.

When you are ready, climb the stairs to your attic. Take a long look at that dress dummy in the corner. What is that dress dummy wearing? Sniff, smell, touch, see. Open the trunk you've always wanted to look into. Pull out the old letters (is there a hint of perfume lingering there?), the photos (who are all those people), the fabrics (how sensual), entrench yourself in the history entombed there.

Inhale the history, claim it. Aborb it.

And then sit down and write it all out. Come back and tell me what you found. Is it more than what you expected? I suspect so.


  1. Thanks for your encouragement, Yvonne. I love the analogy you use. I have been doing some digging into the attic of my memories, finding from scented and treasured moments, to painful and creepy events. I will be posting something about the latest, which is positive and therapeutic, for writing is healing. :-)

  2. Loved your post--strange how going back, like you suggested, brings history converging with the present. After 70 years, I find so many things written in my past journals that reflect joys and sorrows of "here and now." It has been said that by avoiding the mistakes of our mothers, we commit the errors of our grandmothers. I find great truth in that statement. How quickly the month has flown--even as the past seven decades. You are soooo right to encourage writers to commit it to paper.