“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”

Annie Dillard, American author

This felt like appropriate writing advice for the season, so I thought I’d re-post this gem from Annie Dillard today.

Over the past few days, my writing energies have been poured into Christmas cards. (Yep, I still do those.) It’s the one time of year I connect across the many miles with family and friends who don’t do social media (which was me, too, until just a couple years ago).

It’s the one time of year I “give it all”–braggin’ on my boys and sharing declarations of affection, longing, and even shared loss that might feel sappy at any other time.

Which gets me to thinking about something a friend of mine posted (on social media) about not being afraid to speak of those we’ve lost over the holidays. This is my twelfth Christmas after my mom’s death. The cynical and deflecting part of me thinks I could make up a funny song about my grief–to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas…” (Or maybe something along the lines of “Goodly Mom I lost looked out on the feast of (what rhymes with Stephen?)” Instead, I share her stories with my boys, carry on tying the family ties, and speak her name.

“…give it, give it all, give it now.” That seems like good writing–and living–advice, during this and every season.

All the best and sincerest holiday wishes to you and yours,


P.S. Pics from my family’s “Thanksmas” celebration: the obligatory sister and me in the kitchen selfie; a nearby beach looking not at all Christmas-y; and one amazing elf.

24 thoughts on ““Do not hoard…”

  1. Rebecca, I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your mother 12 years ago, but I’m so happy you’re keeping her memory alive by talking about her and bringing her into your Christmas celebration. I think she would be very honored and happy.

    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay then. I will remember that for the piece I am writing now.

    I’m a big advocate for speaking of the dead. We are the life we’ve led, and the people we’ve shared it with. While you share the stories, your mother will not be forgotten.

    Have a lovely Christmas, Rebecca.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I, too, still send out cards with short, personal messages. It seems important, especially since so many of the recipients aren’t on social media. It’s nice that you have family to share the holidays and stories about your mom. Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear! I think a handwritten note is fun to receive now more than every, with so much being online. Thanks for checking in, and I hope you enjoy your holidays, too! (I’m looking forward to a little break and catching up on blog posts, including your latest!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Aw, so nice of you to keep up with the Christmas letter writing tradition and recognizing that it is okay to miss someone you loved dearly, especially at this time of year. I love the fun photos, too. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely post. Thank you for sharing. I am a pretty techy Nana but I break out the Xmas music, a favorite beverage, and handwrite notes in all my Christmas cards. It’s a tradition I love. This was my first Christmas without my mother. It certainly tugs on ones feelings during the holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

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