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santa hat

I love Christmas. Love love love it.

I could speculate why, but I won't try. Just know that when the season creeps up, I get a bit giddy. Just know that I had a December 18 wedding. Just know that we literally planned the architecture of our new home around where our tree will go.

You get the picture, I hope.

And I love the music. My love for Christmas music though is a bit more complicated. I associate Christmas music with studying, with buckling down, with anticipation of freedom and frolic. Every fall in college and then in law school, when exams were on the horizon, I started listening. And it helped motivate me. I worked so hard, so efficiently, so doggedly because I knew that when all was said and done, when the papers were turned in and the exams were finished, I would be home with family around our big tree celebrating the season.

And so. Some might think that at this point in my life I would perhaps have a bitter taste in my mouth about holiday music since, for me, it has such deep connections with school and studying in my mind. Not so. Not so at all.

Confession: I am having a hard time with my writing. A very hard time. My next novel is taking shape. Some days are absolute gold. Some days are mucky gray. Monday? I was floating. I broke through something - a ceiling of self, of story, of symbol - and I was elated. But then Tuesday came and I dragged. I cobbled words together that left me utterly disappointed. I felt something inside me shrink.

And then. In a low moment, I thought of something. I thought of Christmas music. About how it buoyed me once through impossible and insecure intellectual times. About how it soothed me and sustained me. About how I always prevailed at the end of these times. I contemplated in that very moment turning it on.

But I didn't. Why? Because it is October.

It is not even Halloween yet. Thanksgiving is still weeks away. It struck me as illegal to be dipping into the Christmas tunes. I conducted an impromptu little Twitter poll about this and the majority of people said to wait until the end of November, but a few? They said that there are no rules. A couple confessed to listening to Christmas music all year long! (Love it.)

And so. This is a silly post in many regards. Who really cares when one Manhattan mother starts getting her jingle bell on? This dilemma of mine is hardly blogworthy. And yet. There is a speck of something here. About those nefarious shoulds that creep into the cracks of the everyday. About the schedules of propriety we have set for ourselves and each other. About seasons of joy and seasons of doubt. About the things that keep us going even when we feel a bit stuck.

So. Silly or no, here we are. Here I am. Debating Christmas carols in October.

(I think writing this post has given me the push I needed. I am off to download a killer 2010 Christmas mix... Today might just be a very productive writing day!)
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  • Do you love Christmas? Christmas music?
  • When is it legal to start listening to holiday tunes?
  • Do you find yourself doing things when society tells us to do them?
  • Are there things that motivate you during times of pressure and self-doubt?
  • Do you work or write best in silence or to a soundtrack of life or music?

My Terrible Dream

My Neighbor Matt Damon