by Amy Sue Nathan
While everyone is scurrying and scampering and wrapping and baking, I am not. As a Jewish mom of two pretty-much-grown kids, this is a relaxing (dare I say boring?) time of year in our house. Hanukkah is over, and frankly, it’s not a big deal or important holiday. It’s much more a reason to celebrate that my son is home from college and that my daughter finished her high school senior year finals yesterday. (Whew!)
While having everyone around all day long every day is wonderful—especially because they can cook and drive, it also messes with my mojo. That is no one else’s fault. Just mine. I am a creature of extreme habit (those who know me well can stop laughing NOW) so the before school/after school/before dinner/after dinner schedule doesn’t exist.
Even if it ever only existed in my head.
If I tried to do what I do every day…it wouldn’t happen. Knowing that was half the battle. Embracing it was the other half!
This year, I’m choosing to work on blog posts and essays over our winter break and read some friends’ works-in-progress. I’m going to fine-tune the synopsis for my own. Even though I’m always writing posts and stories and essays, this will be a more concerted effort to get ahead, in anticipation of my debut novel in May. I’m going to spend more time reading the books I’ve collected and more time watching the movies I’ve recorded. Having big kids around means more time with them, but it also means plenty of time on my own.
Of course I’ll dabble in my new novel, but a short winter break from that project will probably do it—and me—some good. I’ll jot notes, make lists, add to the new timeline I’m trying out. But I’m not adding it to my schedule. One of the most important things on my schedule will be to take this time during everyone else's frenzy, to relax.
A rejuvenating change in my writing routine, extra time with my kids, a few midday naps, reading books by the fire, and if the weatherman is right…Chicago’s first real snow of the year—they're all gifts to be grateful for—no matter the reason or the season.
Amy Sue Nathan’s debut novel, THE GLASS WIVES, will be published by St. Martin’s Griffin in May 2013. Amy’s stories and essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times online, The Huffington Post, among many others. In 2011 she launched Women’s Fiction Writers, a blog promoting the authors, books, and craft of women’s fiction. Amy has also works as a freelance fiction editor. She is an unapologetic chocoholic who lives near Chicago.