Gifts for the New Year

Just a few things I will carry into the new year:

1. A cozy sweater or two. 

The nights will be long in the new year, and the snows will come. I need a good sweater for the nights when the heat just isn’t enough. 

2. Cozy socks. 

See above. 

3. A good bottle of port. 

For the nights when I have just finished a story, or have something to celebrate. I anticipate there being a few of these nights along the way. 

4. My personal collection of houseplants. 

I have been nurturing them for years. They live on the windowsills of my apartment, and though sometimes I forget to water them for a week or two, I have not killed one in months. They live happily on, my silent green companions. They make me feel less alone in my apartment, like a touch of nature has made its way in.

4a. My lemon tree.

Six years ago I bought a little potted lemon tree from a garden center. It was a charming thing, with green leaves and no fruit. Over the years, I have kept it in windows and on balconies. It has shed its leaves and grown new ones. I has been repotted twice. Its flowers smell of the sweetest perfume in the world, far too saccharine to wear. I have been tending to my lemon tree for six years. One day I will have a house of my own, and I will plant the lemon tree there, where it can send roots deep and grow tall, and give me lots and lots of lemons to eat. 

5. New pillows for the writing chair.

To get cozy with. 

6. Too many notebooks. 

I always thought that one day, maybe, I would become the kind of person who writes my drafts in longhand. I imagined my writing unspooling across the page, languid and lovely. But I have not yet become that kind of person. I am beginning to suspect that I never will. I may have to donate the notebooks.

7. A license to write in any way I please.

Last year, I nearly stopped writing altogether. This year, I have started the writing habit again, and I wrote more than I have in years. Next year, I will write again, and I will write more. I will write beautifully, and poorly, and generally any damn way I please. 

8. Permission to take a break.

I will take off. From writing and from work. I will rest, and pause, and sleep, and care for myself. I will not push myself to my limits again. 

9. The view of the sunset.

I live on the third floor of an old house, the tallest building in town. An old beech tree grows beside the house and I look out through its branches toward the sunset. The sky glows saffron and fuchsia. There are no words to capture the luminous light that flares before everything begins to darken again, turn to grey and then to black. That is my cue to sit down and start writing. 

10. A few new dreams.

I dream of romance, and adventure, and interesting villains. I dream of the kinds of stories that I have not yet seen written. I dream of my own words on the page, on your page, published and shared so that everyone can read. 

In the morning, I whisper my dreams aloud to myself, to make them become real.