Friday, December 2, 2011

The Christmas Thing

So, it’s December. And that, of course, means Christmas. I will be seeing it, smelling it, hearing it, feeling it and being intellectually flooded with it for the rest of the year. Being a relatively cognitive creature I am trying to be very conscious of how I process all that stimulation and to chose what I do with it very carefully.

I was doing a lecture for my clients today on neurobiology and the basics of how the brain works. I found myself wondering how the memories associated with Christmas trigger me. I know a lot of people (really, a lot) whose memories are almost solely bad and any reminder of Christmas instantly puts their defenses up. It’s like Christmas phobia- that twinkling light or song on the radio or smell of pine candles tenses them the way a web would tense someone with arachnophobia.

I know other people who love everything about it and their houses are already fully decorated well before Thanksgiving. All the music and bells, the candles and baking and other olfactory stimulants, the lights and trees and visual hits and the memories tied to all of these are positive for them and they purposefully inundate themselves with all things Christmas.

I am neither one of these. Christmas was truly magical for me as a kid and has gotten significantly less so over time- but I don’t hate it. I haven’t swung to the other end of the spectrum. I try to enjoy it, try to embrace it in novel ways beyond those methods the commercials advocate. I find my mind being pulled in a billion different directions with it all- some cynical, some sentimental.

Ideas for stories are introduced and then dismissed as dumb or overdone within the space of a second. Anecdotes from my past which I could imagine being interesting to write for the blog get shut down by prejudgments that they wouldn’t be nearly as cool in reality as they are in my head. Reading all the themed Friday Flashes has just sped up the process and I’m feeling more than a little overwhelmed.

My natural process- thinking of something and then dismissing it well before I actually get to the process of writing- seems to have kicked into overdrive and it’s making my head hurt. And at this moment I can’t figure out what to let past the mental filters and what really shouldn’t be written. So nothing gets written.

Well, nothing except for this entry on the whole mental process that’s been kicked off by this man-eating holiday season. We'll see what comes out next.

1 comment:

  1. As a little kid Christmas was a windfall of toys. Naturally, I loved that. Later various events pushed me away from the holiday, and it became a sore spot. In recent years, though, I've engineered my own feelings about it. Using it as a reminder to express good will to the most unfortunate and to those I care about is a good idea. In a way it's like Valentine's Day. It's shameful that we need a day to remind us to be especially kind to the boyfriend/girlfriend, but we're shameful creatures. The reminder is worthwhile. The ghost of Linus is watching.

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