Monday, January 18, 2010

Writers on Martin Luther King Day

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I mean no disrespect to this great peace-maker, or to Lincoln or Washington, but celebrating their days right in the middle of winter is not an amusing time for a writer! We wait for mail everyday, even though it often brings heart-tearing rejections. To know there will be no postal delivery makes the day even longer in winter. While never easy to face a day with no mail, it is easier to bear national holidays in the months when sun shines, grass grows, flowers bloom.

Writers are cooped up inside, hammering away on keyboards while the snow flies and the cold bites. We stay up late creating and reading; we stretch our brains for every scrap of creativity lurking, capture it, and send it out in submissions to dance on the desks of editors. We drink numerous pots of hot tea and make vegetable soup while taking refuge from the weather inside with our words. Even when the snow and ice melt, sand and cinders hang around for weeks reminding us (and our carpets and hardwood floors) that winter is still parked on our front porch. We don’t dare look at gardening catalogs yet, knowing April tilling is far away!

So a day without mail is like a day without air. We are sure that this day could be the one for a great acceptance letter or a bountiful contract. It might be sleeping down at the post office in the bottom of a canvas bag right now! We can face a trip to the mailbox in torrential rain or knee deep snow if the post office will just run mail routes. We are willing to pull on snowshoes, raincoats, even a clean nightgown under our writing robes if there will just be a visit from the mailman! But alas, today is a national holiday, right in the middle of January. Think anyone else wants to move Rev. King’s day--to the end of March maybe?

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