Sunday, December 26, 2004

Joyous Yule

I'm finding many reasons to be thankful this holiday season. Of course, there's the joy of celebrating the holidays in our nine-month-old house, the decorations, the gifts given and received and the holiday treats. But although I'm blessed by all of those things, they aren't really what I'm thinking about just now. I'm thinking about the fact that none of our family died this year, the fact that my twelve-year-old cat is still spry and apparently healthy, and so are the members of my immediate family. Not only that, but all the gift packages and cards that I mailed out arrived at their destinations on time, and I was able to keep all the holiday promises I made. Just simple things, really, but things that many of us are apt to take for granted if our eyes are not fully open to the world and people around us.

This time of year can be so sad for many people, and it can be so hard to get into the spirit of the holidays. Maybe they've lost a loved one recently or they know that they are about to. I've been there in the past, and although this year was one without such a heavy pall of sorrow, I watch other people going through it and remember what it was like when it happened to me. It's frustrating to know that no matter how much I might want to wave a wand or wiggle my nose and poof, make the bad stuff disappear, all I can really offer is a kind word and whatever warmth friendship or love can muster. There are some things we all must face alone, and the expectation of the holidays for everyone to be happy and joyful can be such a burden when you are the one facing the loss or struggling to make ends meet, or perhaps both.

So this year I am thankful not to be the one currently in those particular trenches, and saddened by the fact that I can't make it all better for those who are. I wish joy to all of you, wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourselves. And I offer a thought both hopeful and sobering at the same time: those circumstances can and will change. Fortunately we as humans are only required to get through one day at a time. A small goal, maybe, but a reachable one. And like the sun rising after the long dark of solstice night, a new day will arrive. Blessings to you, and may this next year bring the change you need and enough joy to make it all worthwhile.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Synchronicity and Bridget Jones

While shopping at the local Borders store recently, I just happened to see the book "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking, flipped through it and saw a diagram that caught my interest. In my fantasy writing, I use instantaneous travel through some kind of mana or ether, Magical Gates, etc. Don't we all? So anyway, I thought: what if Magical Gates = folds in Space/Time....hmm? After all, what is magic other than a type of technology that we don't understand or can't explain? It had possiblities I wanted to look into, even if I never actually use the principles outright in my fiction. Whatever the application or springboard for writing inspiration, the book is bound to be a good one to have on my research shelf. Plus, Stephen Hawking writes in such a user-friendly way that I can actually understand what he's saying--it's not all techno-speak. So a couple of days ago at a Chinese restaurant, I was trying to have a conversation on the subject over dinner. The man with whom I was trying to have this conversation kept either going off on a tangent that had little to do with what I'd been talking about, or suggesting that I shouldn't try to explain the magic in my books away with science. Well, I wasn't trying to explain anything away, believe me. In my opinion, we need all the magic we can get in this world. But it was kind of nice to think that my ideas for my magical world might--just might--have a teensy, tiny basis in theoretical fact. One of the rules in the fantasy genre is that the magic has to make sense and obey its own laws. You can't get that to happen if you don't figure out what those laws are. But I sort of struck out on the conversation and had to give up trying to explain how my brain works. Maybe that's a lost cause with any artist, anyway. But then the funny thing was; the fortune cookie I picked up showed that the Universe has a sense of humor. It read: "Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century." Heh.

So on another note, last night I got dressed up and went out with my kids to see "The Nutcracker". It was held at an unfamiliar, out-of-town venue, and I was driving (read, chauffeuring) three Girl Scouts to the event. We had the cheap tickets, my two kids and I were all dressed up (which people really should do way more often than they do out here in Idaho) and when I drove our station wagon up to the event, there was no parking left. So I dropped the kids off at the door with the Girl Scout leader and went in search of parking, which I finally found on a nearby residential street in front of someone's house. It was raining, and I had to walk back to the event venue. By sheer luck, when I stepped in a puddle of water, it didn't quite slosh into the top of my shoe--just over the toe but not into the shoe. Thank goodness! If it had, that would really have been a Bridget Jones moment. As it was, it was close. And I wasn't wearing the stilletto heels, either. I was wearing the mom heels--the lower ones that still allow me to walk quickly. Never mind that the dress skirt was a narrow cut, and if I'd have had to run after a kid I'd have had to hike my skirt up. Fortunately, the rest of the evening went off without a hitch and we enjoyed a very well danced, very well staged performance of The Nutcracker. And then afterward when everyone else was struggling to get out of the crowded parking lot, the kids and I just walked down to where I'd parked the car and got out within minutes, a straight shot back home and no traffic snarl-ups.

It's beginning to seem like everything happens for a reason. So having said that, I can't wait to see what's in store for me with my future book contract. With as long as it's taken so far, and with me still waiting, it's bound to be good, right? Right.