Thursday, December 15, 2005

Winter Solstice

As we approach the longest night of the year, I find myself immersed in creative activities of various sorts. I'm making gifts for family and friends, so there's the arts and crafts outlet, and then there's the writing outlet. Interestingly enough, the storyline of my current book takes place during the winter, some of it during the yuletide season. I didn't plan it that way; it just happened that my four-month break from writing made the time frames for the book and real life parallel each other. I get lots of funny little coincidences like that in my writing. When it happens, it can serve as further inspiration for scenes with regard to emotional content or ambiance. But for the most part--"any resemblance to real characters or events are purely coincidental."

I've been musing about how people spend their time during the Christmas holidays. There are so many activities to join in that it makes me shake my head in amazement. About the biggest things I had available when I was a kid were the occasional caroling trip and, of course, the school Christmas pageant. But for my family nowadays, it's music concerts of various kinds, religious ceremonies, Girl Scout activities, and the gods only know what else--and this year they're all conveniently scheduled for the same day, same time. So how do we choose among them? Sometimes I think that it's all become too much of a rat race, and that maybe a retreat to some remote mountain cabin might be in order. Well, that's not an option. But prioritize and choose we must; we cannot possibly be in four different places at once. I begin to see why so many people find the holidays stressful in the extreme. I think the key is in pacing yourself and being honest with yourself about just how much holiday fun you can handle.

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