The Ghosts of Decembers Past

When I think about Decembers, there are a few moments that come to mind. The first, powerful one, is of a little girl following her mother as she ran a three-mile loop around a golf-course in North Miami. Another is of grade school, eating potato pancakes and chocolate gelt and singing 'Ma'oz Tzur' while playing with the blue wax that dripped from the burning Chanukah candles.

But excepting those tenderer years and moments, December has been my "buckle down and write" month.

As I grew older, I still went on family trips to Florida, but schoolwork came along with me. I remember writing an essay on Hamlet my senior year of high school and writing an essay on reading Borges' "La muerte y la brujula" in light of Poe's "Purloined Letter" and G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown series during my freshman year.The latter was the longest paper I'd written in Spanish at 20 pages. The following year, I wrote about translation theories, comparing the arguments of Sir Woodhouselee to those of Vladimir Nabokov. Junior year is a blank insofar as what exactly I was writing at the time, but I'm certain that, as in years before, I parked myself at an Einstein Bros. Bagel Company store or the Starbucks inside the Barnes and Noble at the Loehmann's Fashion Island complex and wrote through at least one or two papers for Dean's Date, the deadline for all classes that had final essays instead of timed final exams. Senior year I didn't go to Florida, but still spent December writing--my thesis, this time, on campus and at the Franklin Lakes Public Library.

Graduating college, things didn't exactly change. I finished my first case study on a freezing December Saturday in my office (I didn't know how to turn on the heat, and the cold motivated me to type faster and finish without second-guessing my word choices). When I made it for a brief visit to Florida, I spent days furiously copyediting and looking up citations for my faculty member's manuscript.

December 2013 will be marked by finishing 2 cases and something like 8 teaching notes before the New Year. Today I took some big steps on the case, at least, starting the month on the right note. Like Decembers past, this December, too, will be a lot of reading, a lot of writing, and a lot of tea. What's missing this year is the whole lot of doubt as to my ability to get it all done. With patience and focus and the cold to keep me indoors (not to mention no more trips out of Boston for the foreseeable future), I'll make it work. The whole business thing, too.