Other than work, I haven't written much since starting my new job July 12. There, I've written about a billion words, mostly in email, and managed to string together a few good ones in other people's names.
Being "old school" when it comes to Christmas starting on the 25th, lasting through the "twelfth night" celebration of the arrival of magi, astrologers, seers, sages and other wise guys at the manger, I usually wait until Christmas Eve to write cards.
Over the past 15 years, I've written those in someone else's name too. Her paws were worse on the keyboard than my typo-prone fingers. The cards always featured my beloved dog Boo Boo on the outside, and a year in review message from her from dog's-eye view, recounting our travels, visits to and from friends. Boo also offered a little political commentary, and always extended her peace and waggy good wishes to all people, no matter what they believed.
My conservative friends said Boo's Christmas cards felt pointed. My liberal friends adored them. My apolitical friends wondered why they were so long. Genre satire requires that one stick to form, in this case, long, largely irrelevant information, with a point of view only a few recipients shared or cared about. For the record, I'm a fan of the holiday family update letter tradition.
But on the second day of my new job, ending more than a decade of Boo's office-dog/my work from home status, her fading 15-year old physical presence deteriorated suddenly, as though she knew our time together wouldn't be the same, so she'd be on her way.
I'm not writing personal cards this year. It wouldn't be the same. Next year.
But my new job afforded me a joyful opportunity to craft a holiday greeting that, for us, is also mission driven. At some point during the creative process -- mysterious, befuddling, and frustrating as it can be -- a chill came over me and a tear welled in my eye. Boo's annual greeting was taking a different form this year, but for me and those who received cards in years past, Boo's paw prints are all over it.
Diwali, eid-Mubarak, Bodhi Day, Chanukah, Kwanza, Solstice, Christmas, et al, may you be blessed however you find your joy, however you celebrate something larger than yourself -- each of us a different card with the same author.