But more than those things, I love the people around the holidays. One of my favorite activities is spending time at the local mall on the 23rd or 24th of December. I'm not there shopping -- I'm not that crazy! -- I'm there observing.
I see people in love, people in fights, people in friendships. I see children and their parents screaming at each other and laughing with each other. I see almost every human emotion and interaction as I sit in the center of the mall, sipping a coffee, watching the Christmas shoppers go past.
It reminds me a lot of my childhood, when my eight brothers and sisters would race around our little house in the weeks before Christmas, home because school was out but inside because of snow. Since I was the youngest, and therefore the most likely to get picked on, I would carve out a quiet place for myself in the midst of the chaos and read or color. Still today, I love that feeling of quiet in the middle of chaos, and going to the mall the day before Christmas returns me to some of my favorite memories of childhood.
Oddly enough, there is another place where I get that same feeling -- the Internet. I belong to several polymer clay lists, a guild, and a magazine board of editors. When I come on-line, I usually have 50 or 60 messages to read, and many of them intertwine as people ask questions or make comments and other people fire back answers at the speed of light. I sit with my coffee, reading each message, responding when necessary, immersed in chaotic energy yet surrounded by silence and admiring how people go about the wonderful business of living with each other.
This Christmas, if I can do one good thing, it would be to tell each one of you that your activity weaves a tapestry of human interaction that bring deep pleasure to at least one life: mine.
Deirdre F Woodward
Managing Editor, Polymer Clay Polyzine