Christmas drives me crazy.
I know I sound like Ms. Scrooge, but as the holiday season comes around and everyone else is making merry and decorating theirÂ trees and going to parties, here’s what goes through the mind of a novelist under deadline:Â
“What?Â I’m supposedÂ to interrupt my writing toÂ goÂ SHOPPING?”
It’s not that I don’t love Christmas.Â It’s just that there’s so muchÂ stuff that has to be done, and it distracts me from the book I should be working on.Â I once suggested, aÂ bit desperately,Â to my husband, “Let’s forget about givingÂ anyÂ gifts this year and just have a nice dinner out.”Â Â
That did not go over well.
Every year, as I frantically toss tinsel onÂ a Christmas tree that’s alreadyÂ turned brown because I’ve been too busy to water it, I tell myself, “SomedayÂ it will be different.Â Someday I’m going toÂ enjoy a normal Christmas with no deadline hanging over me.Â I’ll bake cookies and fruitcakes and wrap presents.Â I’ll compose elaborate five-page Christmas letters.Â I’ll transform the house into a holiday wonderland.Â I’ll throw a party for 100.Â Someday, I’ll actually look forward to it!”
I’ve been saying that for years.Â So far, “someday” hasn’t arrived.
I’m beginning to think that being a writer is a mental illness that deserves its own DSM classification, perhaps aÂ sub-category under Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: “Symptoms include anxiety dreams, inability to relax,Â intermittent feelings of inadequacy alternating with delusionsÂ of grandeur, hypersensitivity to criticism, and an abnormal preoccupation with people who don’t even exist.”
Oh, how I would welcome such a diagnosis.Â Because then, when my family and friends complain that I’m not getting into the Christmas spirit, I could tell them, “I can’t help it.Â I’m mentally ill.”