Christmas Lights

I’d like to say that I just sit down at the keyboard and bang these posts out in 20 minutes.  I don’t, but I’d like to be able to say that the words just flow from my brain to my fingers and presto, you get something interesting to read.  Writing doesn’t work that way.  In fact most creative things don’t work that way.

It takes … oh I don’t really know … practice, time, a gift, an insight or just plain luck.  

Sometimes it just takes turning off your brain and just doing something.  Kind of like how a child decorates a Christmas tree – they just take stuff and stick it everywhere.  At least that’s how I did it as a kid.  If I’m honest, it’s still kind of the way I do Christmas decorating.  First I look for all the lights, controls and extension cords I have, and then I just put them up on the house.  When I’m out of lights, I’m done.

Creative or mindless?  Kind of hard to tell.  I don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out if the lights are balanced, pleasing, or conform to a theme.  Now, we do have three lit up deers (two does and a buck) and those were set to grazing on the lawn in a somewhat realistic way.  The lights on the outside trees, just kind of got stuck up there.

Actually, we just bought this long adjustable light placing stick from the store and I was spending more thought on how to move the light strings using an 11 foot pole than figuring out if I’d covered the tree properly.

I’m just hoping when it gets dark that the lights don’t look wacky.

The whole time I was shoving lights on trees and roof gutters, I was thinking about what I wanted to write about tonight.  That’s where my brain started to overload.  There are so many things that could make a great post.  This week, Heather and I, took a long walk at a park we’re starting to like as it has great views of Reno.  There is a lot more I could say about getting my Nevada driver’s license or perhaps I could do an amusing piece about going to the eye doctor for a new pair of glasses on Tuesday.

I did briefly consider writing a long piece on why I’ve not been writing much lately, but I think I’ve written that essay a lot in the past.  Maybe I could bring something fresh to that or perhaps my readers don’t remember those.

Then there is that poem that’s been going through my mind.  You know, the one I haven’t written.  The one that I see outside my room, on the desert hills above the house as the sun starts to rise and warm the frozen lawn.  Words that would make you feel what it is like to leave a familiar place and arrive where you can breath.  A place where a cold sun can warm your heart.

Just outside the backdoor of our house is a junk pile.  It’s the result of me demolishing a dog run, a play structure and things.  It’s a jumble that I’ve reached into and pulled out material for planter boxes and soon a lumber rack for my woodshed.

Words are in my brain like that right now – a big jumble.  Fragments of ideas, glances of images, a scent of something that might be whole.

But it’s not complete.  Unlike the light strings, nothing holds the words together.

Sometimes the act of creativity is just collecting bits of junk and looking to see how they might come together as something new, something meaningful.

And it often takes longer than twenty minutes.

The last image of the day in my desert home just passed in front of my window – sunset and the glow of the hills turning to black.  Except for the lights on my lawn.  Now it’s time to see how the lights on the trees really look.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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34 Responses to Christmas Lights

  1. I’d love to hear how it works out when you try. I pretty much do about the same thing you do, I think. I write whatever’s on my mind at the time, and sometimes it ends up as a post. I have a lot of unpublished musings in my drafts folder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely relate to this. The words come out jumbled for sure. I often wonder if readers, particularly the ones on my mailing list, think that I just bang out a newsletter in a 20 minutes or so. But they take me… a lot longer than that. Hopefully I’ll figure out how to knock ’em out faster someday. I’m glad your lights look great. Happy Holidays!

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    • With blog posts I get a lot of false starts where the idea goes nowhere and I have to start again – that’s just part of my process even though it can add time to the writing process. If I spent more time doing prep work in my writing and had an editorial calendar, I might spend a bit less time in the actual writing process. I’ll try it sometime and see if I end up spending less time actually writing or just spend the same amount doing the whole process thing.

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  3. And yet this was poetic, and you got a lot in there.
    How did the lights look?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have one small Christmas tree and I thought that my house was going to be on the list. I have a lot of work to do…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Vinny says:

    That’s a great post. As a new blogger I just thought it was me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lakshmi Bhat says:

    It was nice reading your post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. wolfsrosebud says:

    In a way writing is effortlessly as we wait for the tea to brew. There would be nothing to write if we didn’t live it first. Glad things are glowing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dave says:

    Like you the decorating’s done when I run out of light strings. I briefly considered buying a few more on Amazon but a) they’re out of stock (like Home Depot, like Lowe’s) and won’t have more until a few days before Christmas, and b) I’m almost sure I’d be paying twice what I would’ve paid if I’d planned ahead. Instead, my rather incomplete display is looking more satisfying every night.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your creative process sounds familiar. I wish I could say that I dash off blog posts in 20 minutes, but I don’t. Occasionally it happens that way, but usually it’s hours of work.

    And your junkpile analogy is exactly how I feel: Rummaging through all the odds and ends in my brain, hoping I can make something useful. Thanks for giving me a chuckle!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bob says:

    The concept of making sense with poetry or blog post Is another construct from our early years. The great poet and essayist Gary Snyder is quoted as saying; “who says poetry is suppose to make sense. Well I might add who says anything is suppose to make sense.

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  11. Hey, speaking for myself, I’m right there with you. Finding it hard to write and just sticking stuff out there. This too shall pass…I hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Christi says:

    The words in my head feel jumbled too. I call it pudding brain and blame it on 2020. After all, it’s responsible for everything else bad.
    How’d the lights in the trees look?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think you get a lot done and a lot written, Andrew, despite your trepidation. We don’t decorate our houses in South Africa on the outside, we only decorate the tree inside.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Baydreamer says:

    For not knowing what to write where there is nothing connecting the words, just a jumble of stuff in your mind, you wrote a beautiful post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Teressa says:

    A beautifully organized jumble of words!
    Yes, a cold sun does warm the heart. Thank-you.

    Liked by 1 person

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