It seems that Paranoia has got tired now, and thank goodness for that. After a long few weeks of no motivation or inspiration, Confidence has come creeping back. I’m tumbling back into the swing of things – it was slow at first, but now I’m gaining momentum.
The writing has started flowing again and the work is coming in thick and fast (freelance work is like buses, I always say. You spend ages looking for a job and then a slew of them hit you in the face at the same time – and usually with the same deadline, just to add a little pressure). I haven’t quite stretched to editing my own manuscript yet, of course (let’s be fair, that takes a fair whack of motivation) or managed a new video yet, for either Bookshop Bistro or YouTube (which reminds me, I really could do with washing my hair), but that’ll come.
You know what I think has caused this forward thrust? Christmas.
I bloody love Christmas. Now, I know it’s not ‘cool’ to love Christmas (I’ve never really been in the ‘cool’ gang anyway). I know some people hate it. I know that there are problems and pressures and suicides. I know that there are people around the world who are suffering and so many people worse off than me.
I know that as someone who is not religious in the slightest, I’m probably being a bit hypocritical celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I know it’s been over-commercialised and I know there are people who believe this nonsense that it’s for the kids, really (as in children, not baby goats, in case you were confused).
I still bloody love it.
I love the decorations and the gifts. I love hunting for the perfect present and of course, receiving them too (yes, even the socks. New socks are awesome). I love the twinkling lights and the music and the roaring fires. The chocolates and nuts, the wrapping paper and bows, the sound of sleighbells and the silly accessories we’re encouraged to wear. I love Christmas crackers: the comradery of pulling them, the groan-inducing jokes, the silly hats that are obligatory attire, the crappy gifts that everyone loves and no-one wants. I love the laughter and smiles, seeing my family dressed up in their new Christmas outfits. Sitting in a freezing cold church for an hour, listening to a priest prattle on about something I don’t believe in (and in more recent years, in a language I barely understand), looking at me like the interloper I am.
I love the shameless indulgence of it all.
But it’s more than just Christmas day. The build-up, for me, is just as – if not more – important. It starts around September. You feel the bubbles of it popping under your feet, tickling your toes and grazing against your ankles – a tantalizing taste of what’s ahead. Then it rises, slowly but surely, pushing up and out like a Push Pop, until your head is buzzing and flittering with Christmas glitter.
So how, you may be asking, is this even vaguely related to my relationship with my close friends, Confidence and Paranoia? Is it just a matter of having fun? Well, yes and no. The good feeling I get from the Christmas run-up is bound to improve overall mood but that’s not what I mean when I say that my forward momentum was caused by Christmas.
What I mean when I say that is that the build-up to Christmas is so powerful, so consuming, that it kind of sweeps you up and drags you along. It pulls you up by your boot straps (or g-string, if you’re that way inclined) and gets a rolling flame of fire going in your belly – one that gets bigger every day; and it’s that that’s picked me up and set me on the right path again. It’s kind of like atmospheric music in movies and music I suppose -those drum rolls, the du-na du-na of Jaws, the suspense music in horror movies – it grips your heart and pulls you along.
It’s there, and I’ve got no choice in the matter (not that I’d ever choose not to have it, of course), so I might as well make some use of that rolling, building energy. I might as well direct it into something productive.
The only problem, though, is that this pretty much makes me a wind-up toy, doesn’t it? Christmas has wound tight the key in my back, listening to the clicks as it went, only to let me go and watch me waddle in an attempted run, clapping its hands with glee.
See me running, Christmas? Watch me go!