It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (has infected everything I write…)

Things have picked up on the writing front. As of this writing, Christmas is at a record-high 90% SAVED rating, which as allowed me to get a few things done here and there!

First, I completed a 3,000 word short story titled “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” I am so entrenched in the Christmas cheer that I can’t stop writing about it. The story focuses on a young mother and her daughter who have been protected (unbeknownst to them) for years by the angel on their Christmas tree. Things go to hell in a handbasket when the angel is lost in the basement and not in her proper place at the top of the tree…

(Side note — I had a friend in college who was convinced he’d coined the phrase “to hell in a handbasket” and I had to gently remind him that was bulls**t).

I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of ghost stories at Christmas time, as was the tradition in Victorian England. This has inspired a series of blog posts on I Know What I Know about paranormal experiences I’ve had over the years.

I also crapped out a couple of Christmas-themed poems, one about how all of our traditions for this Christian holiday were stolen from pagans, and the other about how Christmas magic fades as you grow up, but is reborn once you have children of your own. I’ve almost filled up my poetry notebook, and when I’m done I think I’m going to self-publish it. Just to give them a home. Because I’m not much of a poet, but writing poetry has made me a much more vivid writer. My descriptions often get praise from my readers, and this is because I try to describe things poetically and say it in a new way. I don’t want my little thought-nuggets to float around in my piles of notes and old writings forever when they could have a nice tidy little book to live in.

Lastly, I’ve been thinking a lot about journaling lately. I still keep a journal, but it’s not much more than just a list of things I’ve been doing or thinking for the past few months. I don’t write in it any more often than that. Mostly, I pour my creative journaling energies into a logbook I’m keeping for my daughter of all of her milestones and developments. I don’t write in that one as often as I should…

It’s weird — I used to go back and read my journals fairly often. Maybe because now the pile of notebooks is 24-25 years long, but I don’t have that desire anymore to marinate in a sauce of myself. I’m not sure what would be gained from looking back, and with so little time, I’d rather push my writing career. Yet I can’t see myself ever not keeping a journal…

Anyway. Happy holidays to everyone, be safe, and spread the love.

The 52 Short Stories Challenge

Originally, the idea is to write 52 short stories in 52 weeks! (*bursts out laughing*). Yeah that’s not happening. But I’m chipping away at these prompts, and I’m loving it. Here’s my progress. Will update as I continue.

1. A story entitled “A New Beginning” (done, and published at The Fictional Cafe)

2. A story about rising to a challenge (“Snake Charmer” published in Saw Palm)

3. A retelling of a fairytale (“The Twelve, Dancing” done and published in Quantum Fairy Tales)

4. A story about three siblings. (“We Kill the Skull Man” appearing in My American Nightmare)

5. A story set in London (“Idylls of the King” Published soon in Running Wild Press’s short story anthology v. 2)

6. A story about finding something that has been lost. (“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” which appears in Intellectual Refuge)

7. A story about a journey. (“Thriller”)

8. A story set during a war (“The Kitchen at the End of the World” in anthology Enter the Rebirth)

9. A creepy story (“Our Lady of the Crossroads” published in the “Wizards in Space” literary journal)

10. A story featuring a countdown (“Countdown”)

11. A story set at a full moon. (“Motherhood of the Wolf)

12. A story about a contest or competition. (“MVP”)

13. A story that takes place entirely inside a vehicle.

14. A story from a villain’s perspective.

15. A story set at a concert or festival.

16. A story that begins with a gunshot.

17. A story set in a country you’ve never been to.

18. A story about a historical figure.

19. A story set in a theatre.

20. A story written in 2nd person narrative.

21. A story set on another planet.

22. A story written from the perspective of someone dead/undead

23. A story about a birthday.

24. A story that ends on a cliffhanger.

25. A story set at the summer solstice.

26. A story about nostalgia.

27. A story that features a song or poem.

28. A story that ends at sunrise.

29. A story opening with the words “F*** you!”

30. A story about a magical object.

31. A story set at sea.

32. A story about a curse.

33. A story set 100 years in the future.

34. A story about loneliness.

35. A story that features a real recent newspaper article.

36. A story written from an animal’s perspective.

37. A story about a scientific discovery.

38. A story set on another planet.

39. A story with only one character.

40. A story about a secret.

41. A romance that ends in tragedy.

42. A tragedy that ends in romance.

43. A retelling of a recent Hollywood movie.

44. A story that takes place the year you were born.

45. A story about a near-death experience.

46. A story about anger.

47. A story about a magic spell.

48. A story set in a strange small town.

49. A story about justice being done.

50. A creation myth.

51. A story set at Christmas.

52. A story entitled “The End”.

Here We Come a’Wassailing (but not a’writing…)

Oh sweet Queen of Heaven, I have written PRETTY MUCH NOTHING LATELY! ACK!

Well, here’s my story/excuse/”the deal” — My husband, daughter, and I attended NCTE and AREA (English teacher conferences for those who don’t know “the lingo”) and then drove down to the glorious Jekyll Island for Thanksgiving.

When we got home, it was November 28th, and I realized I had exactly NOTHING done for Christmas. No parties planned, no decorations, no meals, no gifts.

It was almost enough to say, “Screw it, we’re not doing Christmas this year.”

sadpug

My face was literally this pug

But then I saw my husband’s sad glistening little Christmas-loving eyes… he is a major Christmas fan, but because of grad school and finals, I knew it was all up to me. So I abandoned all my writing projects and kicked my ass into SAVE CHRISTMAS MODE!!!

As of this writing, successful gatherings have been thrown together, the festivities are scheduled, cards sent, photo ops with Santa perfected, the menus achieved, and the SHOPPING DONE (as is MOST of the gift wrapping). I would call Christmas 90% saved (assuming something doesn’t go wrong… DAMN I JINXED IT!).

So, I’m going to do my very best to get back on track with the writing. I hope to get a lot accomplished over the break, but… we’ll see.

me-as-santa

This is obviously a painting of me. Because this year, I AM SANTA. I HAVE SAVED CHRISTMAS! (just ignore the burning German toys at my feet– just pretend they’re my writing hopes and dreams) (but she kinda looks like me, amirite?)