December is a time of year where I am overcome with external stimuli. Everywhere streetlamps are bedazzled with holiday wreaths and giant, illuminated snowflakes. Shopping centers hang enormous ornaments from their ceilings with glittery ribbons. Downtown office buildings erect magnificent Christmas trees and pump holiday tunes through their Muzak systems. First, I am bombarded with messaging that tells me that all I need this season is love, that it is simply enough to be with my friends and family, and that any small gift I can make to a charity is the ‘reason for the season.’ Not but a half-breath later, I am awash in pressure to be Kate, Best Gift-Giver, Most Creative Gift Wrapper, and Bringer of Most Darling & Delicious Holiday Cookies.
Really, the pressure we put on ourselves and each other this time of year is absolutely asinine. It is my least favorite part of the holiday season. “It’s the thought that counts. . . unless that thought isn’t displayed like a page out of Martha Stewart’s Guide to the Most Perfect Holiday Ever Catalogue.” And just. . . God forbid one get busy and bring a store bought treat to any holiday party. Blasphemous.
In 2010, I stumbled across a blogging trend called Reverb. While it doesn’t all-together halt the craziness that has December 26th feeling like one big happy sigh that it is all over, it does give those of us who choose to participate a creative time and space to slow down. Reverb is a 31-day writing event to reflect on the year that you are closing and manifest what is in the year to come.
Once upon a time, Reverb was a very centralized initiative, with prompts being posted from a single source. Last year, those organizers stopped curating prompts. Luckily, the seed had been planted and Reverb sprouted out not just from one new place, but many. Admittedly, I am a prompt shopper and spend some time looking for my favorites. Some of the prompts this year are ones I have thought of myself, and some are written by others. Either way, the questions are almost always thought-provoking, challenge me to write every day, and help me find a sense of calm in this hectic season through a bit of introspection, reflection, dreaming, and looking forward.
I encourage you to follow along, whether with me or another blogger, and reflect on your own 2012 and look intentionally at what is to come in 2013. Think about the prompts in the shower or at the gym. Write them online, in a private document, or in an email thread with friends. Write them in a journal, illustrate them, formulate your response aloud in your car as you drive to work. Whatever creative outlet moves you.
With that, may the writing begin.