The night before the night before Christmas

This is one of my more favorite days of the year.  It’s the day that my nephew arrived, now 17 years ago!  It’s a day that is betwixt and between, a work day, a party evening for some.  For others of us, the calm before the wonderful storm of Christmas.

It’s the ‘not yet’ day for many people; for some, a holy day, for others just a holiday.  I did last minute things today but I’ve kept to my resolution that his year Christmas will be a simpler, more peaceful time for me.

This is the time of year when I look back and when I look forward, thinking of what I wished I’d done, and what I wish I hadn’t done.  A few things have happened to me this year to tweak my perspective a bit. And that’s good.

I went through a period of severe back pain for a time.  The frightening part is that usually physical therapy puts me right in a few sessions.  This time, it didn’t work quickly at all.  I spent some painful nights awake and uncomfortable, and thinking of all the things I’d intended to do that might now be out of my reach.  Then, I am thankful to say, the pain receded.  But I haven’t forgotten that reminder that my days to do physically active and challenging things can be taken away from me, either by an injury or by me simply not keeping my body in condition.

I’m finishing up a book this month, and looking ahead to The Next Book.  The incident with my back made writing uncomfortable; I didn’t want to sit in my desk chair. It meant that I didn’t finish this book before Thanksgiving, as I had planned.   But it’s also made me realize that I will not be able to write all those books that are standing in line in my brain.  Painful choices will have to be made, and soon.  I don’t think I’m confronting my mortality so much as admitting that my body does not regenerate itself as swiftly as it once did.  And that my brain does not hold detail as easily as it once did!  Ye gods and little fishes, the litter of reminders that my desk now holds is horrifying!  My Random Access Memory actually resides on a small notebook inside my purse these days.

But tonight I find myself far more thankful than frantic, more thoughtful than harried. There is work to be done, and limited days in which to do it, but I have confidence that I can get it done.  And that is true of both my looming book deadline, and that other ‘dead line’ that eventually confronts us all.

9 Responses to The night before the night before Christmas

  1. May back pain subsides and all those books in line come to life as we get to read them. I never have enough of your good literature. A very merry comfy sweet and cheerful christmas to you. Joyeux Noël!

  2. Kind of depressing that a writer gets in their prime just when their body isn’t. Good luck on the deadline!

  3. Jared! So good to hear from you! Seemed as if you had dropped off the face of the earth.
    Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are.
    Here, it quickly degenerated into the usual chaos today. But, for a minute or two, it was quiet.

  4. Robin, I’m sorry the PT didn’t work as quickly as usual, but I’m glad your back pain has finally subsided. I do have a couple of suggestions. First, walking can help, because it warms up and loosens muscles, and so can massage therapy, for the same reason (not to mention it’s a great stress reliever if you have a deadline approaching). And also, maybe think about getting a different kind of chair? There was a period of time when the only chair I could sit in comfortably for more than a few minutes was one of those kneeling chairs – and they’re still the best for me. I’m not saying they’d help you, but maybe you could ask the PTs for chair suggestions, or try out some different chairs on your own. Just one more thing – my PTs did say that I should give up the idea of marathon sessions of anything – for example, no sitting for hours knitting – but that didn’t mean I had to give it up, I just had to get up and move around periodically. They suggested setting an alarm and putting it far enough away that I had to get up to turn it off.

    Well, that’s more than a couple of suggestions, but I hope they help. Have a lovely holiday.

    who is a former RN and massage therapist

  5. hahah nice, happy Christmas. I’m currently in England (splitting time between UK and Switzerland for school) and we even have snow on the ground. Not exactly a white Christmas, but white-splotchy! Say hello to all for me and it’s good hearing from you.

  6. Good luck with that! I know, from experience that relentless pain can be a good reminder that we are really such fragile creatures on this planet, no matter how aloft our minds can soar. Take care, Robin!

  7. I certainly hope your back pain subsides! I found this page by chance when I was trying to find out when your continuation of the Rain Wilds would come out. I’m hoping when you mention finishing a book you are refering to the next in the series! I started reading your books when I was in middle school with Ship of Magic. I now have my finance hooked on your books. I love how you can amazingly created an entirely new world and link all the trilogies toether! You are such a pleasure to read! Get well soon and happy holidays!



    I am a big fan of your writing. Isn’t everyone? I am new to your work, and just finished the Liveship series which I found captivating. Thank you for that.

    But what prompted me to write is your mention of back pain in this post. A few years ago I was stricken with such pain that I felt like you that mobility had to be a choice not a birthright.

    After many twists and turns, trying to find a solution, I came upon the Alexander Technique. It has given me my life back. So I’m sending this message in the hopes that you will read it, and to encourage you to find a certified Alexander Technique practitioner in your area and begin the process to recovery.

    It’s a gradual process, but I saw results in as little as a dozen sessions. And now aftr about two years, I am totally pain free, and feel younger and more agile than I ever did.

    The Technique also has aspects that is about mind and emotion and action in life so it’s very wholistic, and a fabulous journey into oneself, without being spiritual or strange. A writer who perceives things as you do will likely appreciate that aspect of it, as much as I did.

    I am currently steeped in your story of destiny from the Liveship series, so perhaps this is destiny that I chose today to read your post, and to offer you what could well me the solution you seek.

    Wishing you full mobility and ease again without limitations.