Kage Baker always viewed the week between Christmas and New Year’s as free time. Also, unreal time – another dimension of sight and sound, to paraphrase the New Year’s Eve Twilight Zone marathons she loved dearly.
Those 7 days, she firmly believed, were like a pocket universe. Very little happened that really mattered, at least in terms of the wider world outside Kage’s own head. She resisted having the “real” world impact her as much as possible anyway; the week between Christmas and New Year’s was even more so a time of isolation. She always contrived to be mentally snowed in as much as she could.
Various of the calendar-wise ancients had days set aside in a similar manner. The Aztecs, the Incas, the Mayans – the Meso American civilizations that had idly calculated their dates thousands of years into the past and future – they all had empty squares on the calendar, days when, for all intents and purposes, the world just didn’t exist. They instituted the spare days in order to balance their calendars so they came out even, especially where solar and lunar calendars had to be brought into alignment. (Europeans still haven’t found a graceful way to do this …) Most of them viewed the extra days as extreme bad luck as well, days when reality thinned and luck failed and the tendency of the malignant Universe to munch on humans increased exponentially.
The Meso American Universe was not a cheerful place.
Kage’s Universe, though, was a pretty optimistic one. She took the last week of every calendar year as a respite and a break. She played games, she read books – other people’s books! – she lived on the seasonal goodies around the house. So did I. That’s what that week is for. And if a story idea or two came out of all that sleeping in and living slowly – well, that was just a bit more gravy for the leftover Yorkshire pudding. Leftover Yorkshire pudding was one of Kage’s perfect foods.
I’ve been lazing my way through this final week of 2013 with a determined sloth that qualifies as a performance oxymoron. The winter days have been brief, and I’ve rarely seen ’em anyway: sleep has been my main occupation. I’ve been living on panettone, hard salami and Jordan’s almonds (three of my perfect foods). The Christmas prime rib is now in its frozen remnants, awaiting its reincarnation as beef stock; the New Year’s ham is perfuming the kitchen.
This is the peaceful nadir of the year. The world has spun to a standstill, and is now beginning to slowly turn once more – for the next half year we will fall into the light again. Although Los Angeles has been basking in its usual halcyon summer phase – 75 degrees and clear skies – the earth is cold. It breathes out steadily at night and the temperatures plummet; no question that it is well and truly winter. But it’s – quiet. Blessedly quiet.
I’ve blown off just about all my tasks this week. Enduring my way through an attack of shingles has helped with the urge to move as little as possible – the chickenpox was bad enough, back when I was 11; I really did not need the shingles to remind me of it. But the conflagration in my nerve endings is beginning to ease, and it appears I will survive.
It’s just the last little kick in the ass from 2013. It wasn’t my best year. I’m glad to see the back of it, and I hope to do – and have – a better year in 2014. This peaceful empty space at year’s end has helped a lot.
And so has the yearly recap of my blogging activities supplied today from Word Press. It appears we filled the Sidney Opera House 10 times over or so, Dear Readers. Thank you all very much for that – I couldn’t have done it without you.
Tomorrow I will step back into the stream of Time. For now, though, I am still. That’s all. Just – still.
Happy New Year, all.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.