christmastide? yeah, maybe

Apparently that’s a word. Dictionary.com says so. Well, whatever, that’s cool.

Tradition tells me this is supposed to be the most joyous time of the year. I can sorta see why. Family, great food, presents, maybe snow, nice music, cheesy movies. The holiday season has a lot going for it. We don’t really celebrate much in my family anymore. Family gatherings are pretty rare, and… I don’t know. We just took a break this year.

And that’s fine. I’m not complaining. I sort of prefer it small and unassuming.

Obviously, I took a break from blogging last week. It seems most people did, so I figured it would be cool if I did, too. Thing is, all the bloggers I read announced that. I didn’t, and that’s kind of a pattern of mine in most things. It’s not a good one, clearly. I set up plans sometimes with friends and then don’t follow through. Of course, it’s a two-way street. My friends don’t follow through, either, and it comes down to who’ll remind who first–or at all. For example, a friend invited me over on the weekend. I said sure, and we left it at that. The weekend came and no further communication was made about it. The weekend went and nothing. I could’ve called. I know this. She could’ve called. Neither of us did.

It’s not an isolated incident, but sometimes somebody needs to take that extra step to get the plans rolling. I’m usually not that somebody. I’m not really social. I’m not big on socializing or people in general. I don’t like being alone all the time, though, and there’s the rub. It’s the curse of an introvert and a fairly antisocial one, at that.

I should step outside the bubble, right? For those of you unfamiliar with introverts, I discovered a couple really awesome articles that highlight our situation. The first one is funny, the second one is a little longer and a little more serious. It’s an uphill battle in the snow, and for those of us suffering from depression, well. Anyway. Enough about that.

I’ve missed some obligations the last week or so. Each of them would probably have been a lot of fun. My holidays are always a mixed bag, though. I’m not sure how others do it, find this season so jolly. I do look forward to it but when it comes, I find myself wondering why. I suppose you get out of it whatever you put into it. That seems appropriate, but then… what makes this time of year different from any other? Isn’t that a principle that applies year-long? Or maybe the holidays returns your investment with interest… I don’t know. That sounds nice, though.

There’s still a few days left. I still have at least one more chance to make this Christmastide memorable. Hopefully starting today.

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merry… i mean, happy holidays

There’s a rumor going around that we can’t say Merry Christmas. I suppose the most obvious thing to do would be to confirm whether that’s true or not. And what if it isn’t? Will that stop me? Not really. Of course, I don’t plan on saying that anyway. 🙂 I just don’t like to say it. Yes, call me a humbug if you must. (Now that’s a word I like to say.)

So this past weekend, we decorated the house for the holidays for the first time in… well… let’s say double digits. I can’t remember the last time the house smelled like pine (authentic tree!) or had lights, or mistletoe, or wreaths, or a Nativity! But we do now. I’m even staring at my Santa hat as I write this. Everything’s come out of storage this season. And it feels strangely good. (Strange, if you know me at all. Not so strange for regular people.)

I’ve been sidelined most of the week with a bad back. (Yes, I know I should see the doctor.) It’s improved the last few days, thanks to Icy/Hot, Aleve, and a big pillow. But before that, sitting and walking and standing were uncomfortable. I didn’t think much about writing. But I am writing. Which… leads to my big problem.

I know the wisdom as well as anyone. The more you poke at your story, the more it’ll unravel like a knitted sweater. And yes, a story is never “done.” I’ve heard it all. Hell, I believe it. And yet… I’m poking at my story. I’m examining what many have called flaws in the past, and I’m taking the time to consider agreeing with them. What would my story look like if I accepted that what they’ve said is true? It would look… different. So. That’s what I’ve been doing the last couple weeks. Taking that path less traveled, that what-if road. It’s okay. But I wonder if it’s really for the best. I still look back on what I “finished” and I still believe in it. Am I wasting my time? I’m not sure, because I’m super curious about what this new result will be. I’ve done the hard part–I’ve outlined the changes. It seems to work well. But it’ll take a little time.

I hope it’s not just some sort of subconscious effort to delay.

now what?

So I made it a point to refrain from editing anything I wrote in NaNo. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my writing. When I’m actually in the moment, I don’t think it messes too much with my rhythm or output. Obviously it has some impact on my words-per-minute, but overall I don’t think it matters much. Regardless, I kept my finger off the Backspace and Delete buttons as much as I could.

Currently, my mother’s reading it. Which is a hell of a job, considering that I wrote things out of order. I skipped entire chapters. So yeah, she’s a bit confused in some parts. But she says it’s my best writing. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Duh, she’s your mom. She has to say that.” True. But she takes it one step further and says it’s better than my last book.

I disagree. I mean… my last book. Well, it’s leaner. I feel like I produced a lot of purple prose during NaNo in my quest for maximum wordage. Apparently, she thinks the purple prose is the best stuff. I’m not sure how to take that, except that I’m still convinced what I wrote is “fat”. It needs a lot of trimming. But I was aware of it as I wrote it, not just of my runaway loquacity but also the content. I knew what I was writing about, and I was okay with it. The internal stuff flowed better and faster than the external stuff.

Has my writing changed? I know it’s been influenced by my favorite author. Steven Erikson has produced a remarkable series, and he’s written characters and story arcs in a very particular way. I took it to heart as a reader and a writer. My last book (really my first and only book) came out very different from anything else I’ve written. This current effort seemed to go even farther down that path. Maybe my style has changed. Is that a bad thing? I guess not, as long as someone wants to read it.

Because I’m not writing for me anymore. I’m not writing for… just my own edification. I’m writing to produce content that people want to read, while still staying true to my own vision and voice, of course.

I’ve been putting off some very important, essential steps in my goal to get that first (and only) book published. I told myself to take November off and work on something new. And I did. Mission accomplished. So obviously… obviously, I need to return to the first project. I need to finish it. Right? Right.

And yet. I really want to take a break. As I said, this past NaNo was brutal. I started to hate writing. I got sick of it. I’m still sorta sick of it. So what should I do? It’s been months now since I first tried to tackle the synopsis for my book. It’s still going nowhere. But I’m sooo tired.

So. What do I do now?