Chestnuts Roasting on an Open…Eye

Current mood:  bouncy
Category: Writing and Poetry

I’ve encountered an unusual problem this holiday season. Playing host to my family (sixteen people) is both a pleasure…and a pain. I’ve discovered it’s impossible to write with children in the house.
I was in the middle of writing a big sex scene when my niece sidled up to me.
“Whatcha doin’?”
I quickly closed the file. Dammit. The scene was really hot, too.
I have no idea how my married friends with children manage to produce anything.
Being used to being single and juggling nothing but my day job now appears to me to be a complete luxury. I resorted to bribery and corruption to buying some writing time. I promised my cousin Chris and his gorgeous husband Tracy that I would look after the kids for the evening if they gave me the afternoon to write.
“Did you just call me gorgeous?” Tracy asked. “Of course you can have free time.”
I went to my bedroom on the pretext of taking a nap, but the kids could hear me typing and they wanted me to watch A Christmas Story with them.
For the tenth time since we arrived a few days ago.
So I left the house.
The trouble with paradise is that once I leave my mountaintop retreat, I’m in Waikiki. Not quiet. No sir. I couldn’t find a coffee shop where anybody would leave me in peace. I had three strangers at my table at the Starbucks down by Diamond Head and I quickly gave up.
I tried a sheltered beach table on the boardwalk at Waikiki and a bunch of stoners arrived, getting high and generally making a nuisance of themselves.
I moved on. I finally found an outdoor table at the Diamond Cove cafe. Two Scottish girls arrived, playing the fiddle at the table beside me. Yes, they were wonderful but the jitterbugging that ensued made it awfully hard to write.
Yes, I just couldn’t sit down. My feet just wanted to dance.
I went back home, hid my car down the bottom of the hill, sneaked past the kiawe trees that line my property and sat in my garden. I watched nature in her finest and opened up my laptop.
A little voice piped up beside me.
“Whatcha doin'”
“I’m roasting chestnuts with you,” I said, making my niece scream with joy.
We have become obsessed with chestnuts this Christmas…don’t ask me why and I arrived on island prepared with a recipe I downloaded on the mainland.
We made a nice barbecue and followed the instructions.
We washed our chestnuts (all carefully selected and inspected for mold at the grocery store), dried them, salted them and put them on the grill.
Christmas carols wafted from the house.
“I’m making eggnog,” Tracy shouted from the house.
The kids danced around as the chestnuts started to roast.
One popped open and flew up, hitting me in the eye. I danced around in agony and after a while the pain subsided and I realized the gods and goddesses of writers everywhere were making me see the bigger picture.
I will always have deadlines – and I am grateful for them – but I won’t always have the children in my life at the ages they are at when they yearn to be with me, who want to know what I am doing. Who really, truly, want my time.
Deadline, Schmeadline. We’re going to Chinatown to hunt for the freshest chestnuts today and we’re going to try again.
The ones we roasted yesterday were old and moldy and tasted like…nothing. Our online research indicates Chinese chestnuts are the best.
My nieces are ready. I am ready.
This will indeed, be a Christmas to remember.

Aloha oe,


Currently listening:
Kimo’s Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas
By Jim “Kimo”West
Release date: 2008-10-01

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