The Unlit Christmas Tree


As per our family’s tradition, the Christmas tree’s started going up the day after Thanksgiving.  Yes, I used the plural because we put up as many as seven (eight if you count the one I decorate in my office at work) tree’s.  Of course there’s one main tree in the living room, but various sized specialty tree’s are also spread throughout the house as well.  There’s the cute and cuddly teddy bear tree in the sunroom, the eclectic world travel tree in my wife’s office, the reverential LSU tree in the playroom, and other creative interpretations scattered here and there.

I think I mentioned we get into Christmas around here.

Early this morning as I was making my zombie march from the bed to the coffee pot, I paused and admired our twelve-foot centerpiece tree.  Even in the semi-dark, unlit, it was a vision that filled my heart with pride & joy.  Truly an impressive sight.  But in the back of my mind I heard it calling to me (it was 6:30 in the AM after all), begging me to let it become what it was created to be.  So before I went any further, I was compelled to flip the switch and send currents of electricity through the miles of intertwined wire and awaken the hundreds of slumbering crystals.  The tree came to life with an explosion of twinkling lights and reflective shimmering, lifting the corners of my mouth along with my spirits.

After the coffee was brewed and the morning paper retrieved, I settled down at my desk to check emails and catch up with goings-on in cyber-land.  After a few minutes, I had to glance back over my shoulder to take in the awesomeness of our tree one more time, and when I turned back I happened to focus on my printed manuscript pages laying on the corner of my desk.  My affinity for analogies led me right where I needed to go.

For the past month I’ve been dragging my feet as far as my book is concerned, trying to muster the energy for some final revisions before pushing forward into the querying process.  As I stared at it there collecting dust, I realized that my manuscript was not unlike an unlit Christmas tree.  Impressive in its own right, but begging me to flip that switch and send it out to realize its true potential, what it was created for.  An ornament here, some tinsel there, and it would be ready to dazzle.  And like a Christmas tree, no two were alike…but all of us are drawn to certain types.  Even Charlie Brown’s tree had its admirers.

What about your unlit Christmas tree, how close are you to flipping that switch?

34 comments

  1. Your house sounds awesome with all those Christmas trees! And I like your analogy. Following it on, I would say I flipped the switch in August, had a light malfunction that tripped out the fuse, took everything back to the store, set it all back up again, and now I am once again poised to switch. Let lights commence! :)

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  2. 8 trees? Really? I have trouble getting up one (and I must really get to it this week or it may never get done!).

    As for my "unlit" tree - I've been flipping the switch for a while now. Maybe this will be the week to get back to querying. Thanks for the reminder!

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  3. Wow, beautiful! I can't wait to put up our tree, and I actually (surprisingly) can't wait for snow, either!

    My unlit tree is nowhere near completion. I'd say it's in the tree stand with a bowl of water at the foot so it doesn't die while it waits to become dazzling. But hopefully it'll be a different story by the summer =)

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  4. love your analogy. My flip has been switched... uh... huh?

    Anyway, just waiting to hear back at this point. But all fingers and toes are crossed~

    good luck w/yours!

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  5. I'm so glad I'm not the only one with a passion for Christmas trees. I could (and have) just admired them for hours, especially with the room lights off and some music playing....

    My first nearly finished rough draft is a long way from tinsel and ornaments. When it's full grown, it will need lots of pruning-it's a bit wild looking now.

    I'll prune and let it reshape itself, and prune some more....

    Then we'll see if it's ready for some decorations.

    Fantastic analogy!

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  6. That's what I love about Christmas; it's so pretty with all the lights. Good luck with your revisions - I'm in the same place:)

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  7. Well, the Christmas Trees will have to wait until next weekend. (Had to finish NaNo this weekend.) But I think NaNo helped flick that switch. I really didn't think I could write another book, but over the course of this past month, this new one came to life. Now to finish and start the rewrites.

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  8. Your decorations sound lovely. Eight trees...Wow!!!! In our house, the day after Thanksgiving was reserved for "grazing" on leftovers. Saturday we shopped and Sunday we put the tree up. We also have a twelve footer and it's a bear to put together. After six hours of intensive and extensive decorating, I'm proud to say hard work paid off. Our home looks a lot like Christmas.(: Happy holidays.

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  9. I love Christmas and twinkle lights and glitter.
    We've been decorating and lighting, inside and outside, all weekend long. We'll be working on it all week and through next weekend. By that point everything will be up and lit, faux snow will be placed just so...but I'll continue tweaking and perfecting every still life, every detail. Until every single thing, large and small, is perfect, magical.

    And, that pretty much sums up my revisions/writing process. I will tweak and move things, rip out and rewrite until I have every single detail gleaming.
    I hope to flip the switch on one of my novels in 2011...maybe, MAYBE, 2 of them. #3 and #4 have a lot of putzing and foofing left to foof.

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  10. Oh, and I'm glad you are looking at FK again, with the vision of its potential to be luminous, and no longer feeling daunted.

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  11. This is an interesting analogy. It makes complete sense. It's easy to stall forever instead of starting the query process. But sometimes we need to take that step and dive in so our manuscripts can become what they were meant to be.

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  12. You think YOU get into Christmas, DL? My mother put up her tree a few days before HALLOWEEN. Yes, really.

    I've been dragging my feet on my revisions too. That is, until last night when I got quite a bit done! Now if only I could keep it up...

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  13. What a lovely analogy! I've been struggling with a rewrite - so I backed away from my tree and decorated another one for nano. Once I'm done that first draft - I'll head on back and try to get it closer to being lit :)

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  14. Yes, a great analogy!! I love Christmas trees too & had a small one in each of the boys rooms when they were young, as they loved them too. My youngest and my best friends daughter the same age, kept their 'personal' trees up on their tall dressers All year long... well, for years! lol

    Nothing like a 'lighted' Christmas tree!! Beautiful!!

    It's awesome that you enjoy this 'passion' as a family!!
    Hugs,
    Coreen

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  15. 8 trees? Does your electric bill go up? :)

    My unlit tree still stands in the field not yet cut but...

    I bought an axe :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  16. If I pay you will you come to my house and decorate mine. I am the Grinch of all things Christmasy ...even Monster Baby says so. She wanted to get a tree this weekend. I said no. I said we have to wait. For what? Until Mommy FEELS like it. Bad Mommy.

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  17. And I loved your analogy. It's about time you get on it. I'm still waiting.

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  18. we always leave our trees lit through the night. The best thing is to wake up in the morning (when it's still dark of course) stumble around, only to be met with the twinkling lights of the tree. I don't care who you are, that'll put a smile on your face.

    I'm jealous of your myriad of trees. Are they all full size trees? Or are some of them little?

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  19. Nice analogy! Flip that switch!!!!

    Your tree sounds grand! We haven't gone to get one yet... i love when the house is decorated but getting out everything sounds like it can wait :)

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  20. That's alot of trees!
    And I just flipped it an hour ago! The switch, not my tree.

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  21. *sigh* This was beautiful, D.L. Now I need to get my tree up ASAP! LOL. I love the analogy of our MSs being Christmas trees - it's perfect!! :-)

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  22. Now that's a lot of trees! I can't imagine having that many myself. It took me around 4 hours just to get one up. I bet they're all very pretty though. You should share pictures!

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  23. Wow, eight (you did say eight?) themed Christmas trees. That is so impressive on so many levels. Loved your analogy here. My switch was flipped up for the entire month during NaNo that I think I burned a fuse. So resting during December and then revising will commence on January 2nd. Thank you for sharing this wonderfully written piece! :D

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  24. I'm a bah-humbug about Christmas (which is why I didn't comment on your last post b/c I didn't want to bring down the excitement). But I did love the analogy.

    My finished novel has more of a dimmer control than a switch. I get excited about it, research agents, query it, polish up the synopsis, and wait. The electronic age keeps rejection times down to a minimum at least (lol).

    Poor neglected tree - ah, novel.

    I'm glad you're excited about both Christmas and the prospect of sending your novel out into the world.

    Shine your light for me DL. I appreciate it :)

    ......dhole

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  25. I love turning the Christmas tree lights on early in the morning while it's still dark. I still remember coming downstairs as a little girl and being blown away by the lit up tree in the living room.

    That's great that you gave your ms a long break before going in for revisions. I'm sure things will jump out at you and be much clearer now than if you'd rushed right in (which is what I always do because I'm so impatient!)

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  26. What a great analogy!

    I've never seen a teddy bear tree. It'd be cool if you could take a picture of it & share it if you get into that sort of thing.

    I think it's great that you have so much Christmas spirit & go all out decorating & cheering your home up.

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  27. Wow, it sounds like you guys have a christmas wonderland right in your home! I love it!

    And that's a great analogy. I hope you are able to find that switch and get your mss out there! You can do it!

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  28. That's really neat- the different themed trees. We decorate the first Sunday of advent- pretty much the sunday after thanksgiving. My parents were big into christmas- same thing, coffee in front of twinkling lights so they passed the tradition down to me. I'm more of a traditional white light kinda girl but if my husband had his way, our place would look like mardi gras. Anywhoo, great analogy! Our MS's really do deserve the hard word and effort it takes to flip the switch!

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  29. What a great analogy! And your trees (plural) sound wonderful.

    I'm now waiting for my publisher to flip the switch on my fifth revisions--to tell me what more needs to be done or if it's okay the way it is! Patience. That's what we need as writers. If only I had room for such a beautiful tree as yours. I'll just have to visualize one in my mind, the trees of my childhood. Your post got me thinking about them...
    Ann
    Ann

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  30. My tree's lights go on and off, on and off. It's the way of things.

    As for my real tree, well, I have an idea of what you must be feeling. We have 2 major ones and a bunch of tiny ones. Also the way of things in my house. It's a bit of a torture to put it all up, actually. I come away with cuts and scratches and grumps, but once all is said and done and I've had a chance to sleep, I look at my house and remember why I do it. It's too beautiful to pass up. Just turning on the lights lightens my heart. Sort of like finishing a manuscript...

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  31. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a brand new initiative in a community. Your weblog supplied us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous work!

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  32. Hey DL!! No switch-flipping for me at the moment :) but I wanted to stop in and say hello. I haven't forgotten about you (or your eloquent writing, which I truly do enjoy and miss). I've been in a whirlwind of my own and eventually I hope to settle into a slightly calmer, more familiar space.

    Hope you are well!
    Erin

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  33. I'm so far behind on getting Christmas up. We have several trees that we decorate as well. I just love this time of year. You've motivated me to get busy.

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  34. I love the analogy! It's so true! I hope you're able to finish decorating your manuscript & send it off to be admired by agents & editors soon!

    As for your xmas trees, wow, they sound beautiful! I have two trees in my house...but have always wanted one in each room.

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