I suspect that I fell in love with Charlie Chaplin today. I could blame the atmosphere. A world-class concert hall. The orchestra playing my emotions. Hundreds of children providing the laugh track, with all their delight in watching a man waddle and stumble from scene to scene.
But it was something more too. A blink, an innocent glance, a sudden grin. His face shifting from expression to expression. Charm and pathos and perfectly timed anything for a laugh. I’m a sucker for a man with crinkles at the corners of his eyes.
And pratfalls. They get me every time.
It has been a hectic December. All leading up to tomorrow. I’m hosting my first Christmas dinner for both my family and my husband’s. Things that seemed very important when I first took on the job have slowly been dropping down the scale of importance. So the day before my big debut, I am calm. Ready for whatever is going to happen tomorrow. And however the day plays out, everyone will have more than enough to eat and far more than enough to drink. I’m looking forward to it. I am breaking from tradition and, I hope, beginning a couple of new ones.
This season is always both contemplative and chaotic. Something about the preparations and the people creates swirls and eddies in my thought patterns but leaves a kind of stillness in the centre. I’ve watched the sunrise this morning. Gradients of orange and yellow to purple-gray clouds. I haven’t actually seen the sun yet. Such a slow process at this latitude at this time of year.
There are some few last minute tasks. But they won’t take much time. As my dad would say, “It’s time to slip into dawdle.”
Winter arrived all in one shot yesterday . A load of snow and plunging temperatures. Out come the goose-down parka and the serious winter boots — the ones that tromp through snow drifts while you laugh at fools with just ankle boots.
I am delighted.
Delighted doesn’t quite capture it.
I am gleeful. Elated. Kid-on-Christmas-morning out of my mind.
I’ve driven on the roads that have yet to be cleared. I’ve had to be pushed onto the road by a stranger. I’ve had to forward-reverse-forward-upshift-reverse-forward on several occasions times. Getting anywhere takes that tiny bit longer that seems to make other people cranky. None of that touches this vibration of excitement. This is how all Decembers should be.
The past two months have been demanding. Creatively and otherwise. This is the busiest time of year for me at my job, plus I have been enrolled in a magazine writing course that was a lot more taxing than I had expected. Thanks to my instructor’s generosity and guidance, some hard work on my part, and a measure of talent, I have done very well. Better than I actually believed I would do. So, hooray for me. It was the sort of affirmation I needed to believe that I can take my talent and make a successful career out of it.
That’s a big realization — and an even bigger admission. I knew, in an off-hand, not-really-admitting kind of way, that I was a good writer. I had a knack that perhaps, kinda sorta, people found entertaining. Oh, I’ve been encouraged (repeatedly). I’ve been prodded (persistently). And I’ve worn out my heels shuffling my feet along this dirt road. Choked on the clouds of dust I’ve been kicking up. Enough is almost enough.
Strangely, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted all these years with my indecision and self-doubt. I’ve been ripening and practising. I realized how far I’d come when I was writing a short profile article about two months ago. I wrote a bit of description that I was particularly pleased with. The words lined up in front of me and danced in perfect synchronization. But as the article took shape, I discovered that little bit of description detracted from the focus of the article. So I cut it. And my heart didn’t cry out. My world didn’t collapse. The article came back to me with a resounding 96% on it.
The problem is I’m not really sure what I mean to do. I’ve given myself another few months to suss out what I want. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something huge. It’s more like a chasm that I’m going to have to crawl down without knowing where my next toe-hold is. Or maybe I’m at the bottom crawling up. I don’t know. There’s a damn lot of rock, in any case. And only a few possibilities for the consequences of climbing.