I can’t think of a single thing I want for Christmas this year. Honestly. In previous years, I’ve started to come up with answers to that oft asked question in my family: what would you like for Christmas? I try to think along the lines of things I need. A new toaster maybe. Or things I would like. New fuzzy socks. Dangly earrings. You know, those items you’d love but can’t bring yourself to indulge in and spend the money on just for yourself. This year, I am at a loss when asked this question.
In previous years, when my mother or sister or husband or kids have asked me the question, no matter what comes out of my mouth, there is always only one answer in my head. I want to publish my book. I want to see my words on the printed page. I want my characters and fictional world to be “out there,” I want my story to hit home with someone, make an impact. But of course this isn’t a gift anyone can give me.
Or is it? It’s a gift my mom or sister or husband or kids would have given me in a heartbeat if they had the power. It’s something I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to give myself for a long time. I am always undermined by my own yearning to get back to the story…any great effort I put forth to finally get the attention of an agent or publisher is always slowed by my own fiction. My characters are needy, they are loud at times, and they will not let me rest until I come back to them and let them go on with their lives. It’s quite a balancing act, managing the nuts and bolts of being a bona fide writer with actually doing the thing. And doing the writing always wins out.
This year, for the first time in many years, I have no answer to the question. I want nothing. There isn’t a single thing I can think of that I want. Because I have everything I want. I have a husband who loves me. Two kids I am proud of beyond words. A loving, caring extended circle of family and friends. A job I like, a roof over my head, food in my belly. I’ve had these things for a while now. I’m pretty good at seeing things from the big picture perspective. I know how lucky I am. But today I have something else, and this is why, when my family asks me what I want for Christmas, I can honestly say, “nothing.” Because I know, in six months’ time (or so), there’s a very good chance that I will have the immense pleasure of holding my very own book in my hands. With my words—my heart and soul and blood and tears and joy—inside. I can’t wait.