Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On New Year Resolutions

There's a decent amount of history in regard to New Year resolutions. Many cultures and religions view the New Year (whenever it occurs) as a time of rebirth, a time to change.

I've always found resolutions to be, well, futile. When I was younger, I'd make them and not keep them. Or I'd keep them for a few months before I got distracted by the ins-and-outs of daily life. And then I'd feel bad about not keeping the resolution.

I no longer make the type of resolutions that seem to abound this time of year. There are no resolutions to lose weight, no promises to exercise five times a week or write 1,000 words every day.

For several years now, I've made the same resolution at the beginning of each year: to enjoy myself.

This is a promise to myself.

I'm prone to forget that life is meant for living. And enjoying.

I get caught up in the daily grind. I come down hard on myself for being so flighty with my hobbies and passions. I compare my day to day existence with other people's highlight reels. I question where I stand in my career status, my education level, my writing, even though I know better.

I need to be reminded that more than one hobby is a boon, mentally and physically. I need to be reminded that I decided some time ago that I don't want fiction writing as a career but as something I do for myself (though if other people can enjoy it and get something out of it, I revel in that).

And I need to remember that there is no right place—in my career, my education, or in my level of adulthood (some people seem convinced I should own a house by now)—that I should be at this point in my life.

The important thing is that I'm enjoying where I am, who I'm with, and what I'm doing.

So that's the promise I make for 2014.

To enjoy my continuing journey. The specifics of this year will vary from last. I will face new challenges and moments where I'll need to reel myself back in with the reminder of my yearly goal.

What's your resolution?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Moments in Time: Midwinter

I turned 30 this past spring. I think it's made me a little maudlin. I've found myself lost in thought about places I've been, people I've known, things I've done more often than usual throughout the year.

As Yule and Christmas have drawn closer, I've started taking stock, about as far back as I could easily remember.

1990. 7 years old, entrenched in the Mojave. Holidays on base are occasionally interrupted by the roar of air planes. Eventually, you stop hearing them. Christmases are chilly in the desert. There is no snow. The sky is cold blue, cobalt, missing clouds. I roll outside in brand new skates, looking up.

1992. Southern Georgia. It's warm. The nights are cool. We carry wood from the pile in the backyard, drop the logs on porch before we bring them into the house. Our tree takes up a whole corner of the living room and with the companionship of the fireplace looks like something out of a Christmas card; add in a Christmas kitten, who will be with me for the next 11 years of her life, and you have one.

1993. Oberkail, Germany. It's not the first time I've seen snow, but it is the first time it's snowed where I live. The roads turn to ice in winter; the cow pastures, so green throughout the rest of the year, are drenched in white. We go sledding on the steepest pasture, starting early in the morning. By afternoon, the slope we've created has turned to ice and we have to brake with our feet to avoid slamming into the mean wooden fence.

1995. Sonoran Desert. Seven years from now, I will have spent most of my life in deserts. This one is different from the Mojave. Lusher, greener. But the winter days are similar, grey one moment and cobalt blue the next. I miss the snow, but welcome the ability to walk around unencumbered by winter clothes.

1999. My first Solstice. I light silver candles on my altar, burn a sweet incense and welcome the longest night of the year.

2003. East again. My boyfriend, (who will, years later, become my husband), and I celebrate the solstice. We go to see The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and stay up all night. We go outside to greet the rising of the sun, the turning of the year toward spring.

2007. A town away from my parents. My boyfriend and I in our own apartment (though it leaves something to be desired). My own tree, my own decor but Christmas day will still be spent under the roof I used to call home.

2011. Several cities away. This is the first year I will spend Christmas Day in my own apartment. Just me, my husband, and the four cats. My first year cooking the holiday meal and it turns out good, though there seems to be something missing.

Over the next few years, I improve. I find that missing midwinter magic.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

NaNoWriMo and Hiatus

So, fellow NaNoWriMo participants....how'd it go? (I know, it's mid December. You've probably blocked it out of your minds by now.) Did you fall into any plot holes? Write yourself into a corner (or off a cliff)?

Despite my strong start, November ended in a bit of a fizzle. I could blame travel or other projects I had going, but it was mostly my realizing that I my novel idea - as it was - was probably not going to make it to 50,000 words.

So instead of muddying up the plot and the main characters I'd come to really enjoy, I left off around 32,000 words.  I long to spend more time with these characters and this world, but I want it to be time well spent. Time not rushed.

I hope to finish the first draft in January. Or later this month. But considering I'm currently wrapped up in an online class for a new job, it'll likely be the former.

Which brings me to the short hiatus. Due to said class/training and the new job, the blog will likely be on hold for a while. (Though I have some posts drafted, I don't know that they're ready for public consumption.)

So, look for new stuff around the first of the year.

I'll see you then.

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