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By the Spell of the Spin, The Human Calendar, or How to Write a Worthy Holiday Post

corazon earring four chambered heartBirds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours… Black Elk, Holy man of the Oglala Sioux 1836-1950 (from Black Elk Speaks)

Let’s say you’ve blogged merrily along so far, only to run headlong into blogger block. Pull out the calendar and find the nearest holiday. Since we humans cycle relentlessly into the same silhouette jackets of prescribed holidays year after year, your mission is to illuminate an afore-hidden aspect of that holiday, to keep us engaged like children watching the ever widening concentric rings rippling out from the stone cast in the lake.

I started this post thinking about calendars, circles (and kindred circuit and circus, the Greek kirkos, ker, to turn or bend), and patterns of being. Inherited structures: so bound to nature we do not question them, their seasonal sense, orbit of planet around sun, the body’s kinship given the mobious strip of the blood’s path through the heart. But (try it some time) I found that letting the mind run rampant over the calendar concept caused that fractional second of suspension between planes of existence, the larger self contemplating the little self, big galaxy contemplating the little galaxy and so on. Curtailed mercifully by the thud of cat on chest. End of existential crisis.

Since we find ourselves in the month of chocolate and roses, I’ll be drawing on the Valentine genre for inspiring variations. But try applying the variations with an eye towards your own favorite holiday.

Invite help before you begin: put out a call for work by others related to the holiday. In the following two examples, open invitations went out to any listening poets 1) to submit un-valentine’s day poems (San Jose Public Library) or  2) to submit poems of no more than 20 lines about spending a Valentine’s Day all alone that “must rhyme and final line must include title of your favorite song” (Writer’s Digest). Most of us like an invitation to play. While you are waiting for responders, make sure to take your own assignment so you can at least post your attempt and blog about the lack of participation (nothing wasted). Notice we are already healthily on our way to looking at negations. A favorite theme of mine.

And a theme for blogger Katie, one of the founders and owners of We Love DC: Your Life Beyond the Capitol. In her Un-Valentines Day Round-Up post from 2010 (ahem, a tad bit racey, so hold on to your hat), Katie looks at singles options with this compelling hook: “So when you’re not dating someone on Valentine’s Day you pretty much just want the day to disappear.” She keeps us hooked with witty subtitles such as “Go Somewhere That Doesn’t Have a Menu for Couples” and she further strengthens her stance by including the warring (admittedly disinterested) gender in a portion of a post written by Kirk: “Go Out with the Guys. Or…Err…Don’t.”

Or do some research and draw attention to the history of the holiday, as Maria Popova does in her thoroughly engaging blog, Brain Pickings, in her post, The Art of Kissing: A 1936 Guide for Lovers. She gives a wild tour, complete with images from the pamphlet, and ultimately amuses while she informs (my favorite: directions for The ‘Vacuum Kiss’). Do linger once at her site; she has fabulous content and proves herself a master aggregator of diverse and inspiring material.

Or offer up something beautiful and true about your own heart of hearts, and place it as a guest post, as Judith Newton does here for The Huffington Post, A Valentine for My Gay Ex-Husband. Not only does her story now co-exist with the love-stories that belong to Valentine’s Day on a high profile, high traffic site (legitimizing and celebrating a portion of truth for others who have had similar stories), but the story stands to reap the draw of visitors to Judith’s main site, Tasting Home,  focused around “the emotional meanings of food, travel and garden” that supports her forthcoming memoir (Tasting Home: Coming of Age in the Kitchen, She Writes Press, 2013).

Can I safely assume, if you are reading this post, you’ve joined the ranks of bloggerdom, another chronic harvester? Glad to be here with you, covering the same ground, writing, or at least composing in one’s head, whether to the whirl of fan blades in the kitchen or the idle of the car at a stop light. I’m thinking of children on a merry-go-round, they way they’ll find the anchor point of your face on the first, second, maybe even third pass, and then no more. They’re on their way to reverie, under the spell of the spin.

Share here–do–the best spin you’ve seen on a holiday post, especially one of your own. Would love to see some links to your posts via commment.

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