Looking for Holiday Peace

Carroll Gardens Christmas
Carroll Gardens Christmas

Our neighborhood here in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, is an over-the-top holiday kind of place.  Giant Snoopy’s, enormous snowmen, singing reindeer — the works.   Raising our families in these shoulder-to-shoulder houses and narrow streets, we’re usually ready to celebrate at any excuse.  But this year, for the first time in my 28 Christmas holidays in Brooklyn, it has been impossible to put aside sadness.  Sandy Hook is here and everywhere.

And so I join my neighbors in praying that you sleep in peace, Charlotte, David, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin and Rachel, Dawn, Nancy, Anne Marie, Lauren, Mary, and Victoria.

Praying for Peace
Praying for Peace

Finding Time to Be Joyful

 

Frenchtown Buddha
Joyful Buddha

This Sunday afternoon, a writer friend on deadline emailed me: “You work full-time, with two children at home — how do you find time to write?”  I was out at the movies with my husband, so I didn’t answer in time for her deadline.  If I had been home, I’d have said, “I find time to write because I want to.  I love writing.  The real question is how I find time to do my day job.”  My friend, writer Amy Gutman, consulted a few other writers — and everyone said the same.  Her excellent article is here:  The Why is the How.

Isn’t it funny how we can find time for what we truly want to do?  I didn’t think twice about spending a few hours seeing Silver Linings Playbook with my husband (loved it!).  And hey, we can “find time” for a kiss.  It’s gotten to the point where if I’m struggling to do something, anything, I stop for a second — and ask myself whether I want to do it.  If the answer is no, I ask whether there is an alternative.  Can I skip vacuuming this week?  Can someone else do it?  That’s why my house is messy.  That’s why I don’t buy clothes that need ironing.  And that’s how I wrote my new poetry chapbook, Folding Water.  I’d rather have a book of poems than a spotless, soulless house.  I think this joyful Buddha would agree.