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Let’s return to that flat in London, or Paris, or Vienna…

There is a small tree decorated now…strands of colored lights draped here and there throughout the room…sad Christmas songs playing. I always prefer sad, soulful Christmas songs to jolly ones. After all, Christmas is a bittersweet time. Some of us have so much while many of us have too little. Some of us will never get what we ask for…basic, essential things like warmth, food, love. It’s a time of both simple and difficult truths…of miracles and the recognition of our collective need for them.

Why do I return to the flat? Because I’m thoughtful today. I spent the day Christmas shopping. There’s nothing like Christmas shopping to give one a glimpse of the spectrum of humanity…to be both inspired and to have one’s faith shaken by our species. And it has left me thoughtful. This is a good thing for a writer. For me, it means I am more silent, more observant, more sensitive.

Tonight, as I sit in the flat that lives inside my head, I am practicing feeling the emotions that accompany my thoughtfulness…feeling and not acting. Action…like rushing out of the room, reaching for the phone, seeking out one of the many distractions available to us these days…takes away from the thoughts and feelings. The only action a writer should take in these moments is to write. The words are not a distraction but an outward manifestation of what is inside…the page an extension of ourselves.

I’m practicing because over the past few years I’ve become horrible at containing my thoughts and emotions. It’s too easy to turn on a movie, text someone, even rummage in the cupboards & fridge instead of staying with those thoughts and feelings. But in doing so, I lose my opportunity to turn that thoughtfulness into words…into stories…into something I can share.

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