It was the first night of Chanukah. Both my girls are asleep and I’m finally, finally writing. Weeks have gone by. Three, to be exact. Way, way too many weeks without writing for me given the impulse to make this blog and given what I am trying to do here. I think the last time I wrote was my partner’s birthday, December 1.
Since then there was a trip to Wisconsin for a weekend of something special that we do as a family, a whole lot of math homework and a book report, many shopping trips some of which were a good idea and some of which were definitely not. There was jury duty, seeing my nephew off to go home for the holidays after completing his first semester as a college student here, a birthday party thrown for my partner and cleaned up (it was a really wonderful party), a car breakdown, and much, much more. Oh and basketball season has begun which involves my partner (Coach M.), my daughter and a lot of time, heart and driving on my part.
We were at a Chanukah party tonight thrown by a group of Jewish lesbians, old friends of ours– one and all of them. The group is known as “Jewish group” and except for a few changes of personnel in the earlier years, the group is six women who have met regularly since 1980.
They have a Chanukah party each year and a very few friends who are not part of the group– such as my partner and me along with our daughter– are sometimes invited. Their group is a small group, a closed group that bears the strengths of a group that has years of love and steadfast loyalty to one another behind it– as well as the flaws and quirks and odd difficulties any family unit has.
It was a really wonderful party, with these old friends and an easy warm feel to it and with latkes, gifts for the two children there–(my daughter and one other), a funny, creative group retelling of the Chanukah story around an outdoor fire and s’mores– marshmallows and chocolate Chanukah gelt melted between graham crackers. To my great pleasure and surprise, my daughter–who often won’t talk in a setting like this, created an inventive and longish part of the group Chanukah story. I was delighted.
I got, from the grab bag, a set of scissors– about which I said, after opening the package– “Oh, I love scissors”. It is true, I do like scissors and I didn’t find it a particularly odd gift, though by something she said I got the feeling the giver was beginning to think it was.
But the biggest gift of the evening was the fact that my teacher and old friend, E. was there. My Jewish teacher, literature scholar, lesbian sister, folk dancer and now friend for more than 30 years. I’ve referred to her often in this blog, and she is one of my most loyal readers and one of the most consistent cheerers-on of my writing endeavors. She said to me, almost as soon as I walked through the door, “you haven’t been writing lately”. I laughed and said, “I know, but now I will– it always helps me to remember that you are waiting to read what comes next”. She then gave me what is now a talk she’s given me before, about not wanting to pressure me, but…
I definitely wouldn’t call it pressure. I think I’d call it something along the lines of the magic elixir for a writer. And pouf… Here I am home, at the computer. Writing.
So in addition to scissors and my daughter’s great contribution to the Chanukah story, I got the gift every writer wants. My appreciative, encouraging reader and coach, right there in person, to talk to and to tell me– get back to it, get back down to work, I’m waiting for more.
So to E, thank you for the encouragement and for the great, lively Yiddish rendition of the Chanukah song. And for reminding me that you always light all eight candles, all eight nights. Just because they are beautiful.
And to all of you, Happy Chanukah, season of light. I hope you get at least one gift like mine– the perfect encouragement, just the right word of love or advice or support.