A Dickens Year and a Schrodinger’s Week

December 28, 2023

SunsetThe week between Christmas and New Years’s is always a weird one for me. We’re poised on the brink between last year and next year, reflecting on 2023 and planning for 2024. Caught between leftover holiday indulgences and upcoming new year’s resolutions. Somewhere between the coziness and lights of the holidays and bracing ourselves for the long dark months of winter still to come. We’re all technically working, but no one’s working all that hard.

It’s a liminal time – caught between one thing and another, both and neither at the same time. Basically, it’s Schrodinger’s week, coming at the end of a Dickens’ year: 2023 has been both the best of times and the worst of times.

Under the best of times column, I launched a book I’m incredibly proud of, and other people seem to like it too — Polar is a Eureka! Honour Book and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book now. Tech Support and I had an unusually high number of travel adventures. And I did quite a few things (climbing mountains, riding bikes, crying in front of other people without feeling uncomfortable about it) that I had no idea I was capable of.

But then there are the worst of times. The Carmichaels have experienced two family health crises this year, both of which will continue into 2024. Several manuscripts have been rejected, and several others delayed. As a result, the thing I was really looking forward to starting in 2024 will have to wait until 2025. 

It’s been a LOT to deal with, so I find myself wishing that this in-between-time could last just a little longer. That I could crawl into a cocoon like a caterpillar, or rest 100 years like Sleeping Beauty, emerging a new and stronger me. In the absence of fairy godmothers or metamorphosis genes, I’m going to have to settle for a page in my journal and another cup of tea.

Here’s hoping that the space between 2023 and 2024 brings you whatever it is you need most. 

2 Comments on ‘A Dickens Year and a Schrodinger’s Week’

  1. I so much appreciate these thoughts. As I lie here in a Covid haze, having had to adjust all holiday plans, not being yet able to look forward and only barely having enjoyed the celebrations, I feel, indeed, in a liminal space. And like you, looking to the best of times worst of times year, I take heart with the idea of liquifying like a caterpillar to transform into something new. Perhaps the whole planet is in that phase. Liminal and transitional at the same time. Thanks for giving it all a context, and best wishes for your emergence into 2024!

    Reply | 
    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that COVID has found you. I have just recovered from a non-COVID virus, and any kind of sickness really puts a tailspin on festivities. And the older I get, the more bad stuff happens around holidays, purely by chance and bad luck… and that creates a lot of cognitive dissonance between the emotional complexity I’m experiencing and the one-note-Hallmark-relentless-saccharine-cheerfulness society tells us we should be experiencing at this time of year. It really is a LOT.

      Here’s hoping that in 2024, we both emerge transformed.

      Reply | 

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