Life As Me
When I close my eyes at night, my sleeping brain fills with rich, vivid scenes that might as well have been cut out of a movie. It’s always been that way for me, since before I can remember. When I was in college, I took a required course on creativity in business where one of our semester projects was to keep a dream journal. At the end of the semester, most of my classmates submitted a 10-page-or-so, double-spaced document stapled together with their name on top. Mine was over 60 pages, single-spaced, with pictures, headings, and formatting, and the stack was too thick to staple, so I had to put it all into one of those 3-hole-punched portfolio folders. My professor was floored; didn’t want to believe I actually dreamed that often with that much detail.
I haven’t done a real blog post here in a long time. Forgive me. Life, work, and other concerns have distracted me from what I enjoy doing most. Truth be told, I haven’t been writing much lately, either, and that hurts me the most. But certain things have happened in recent weeks and months to put me in one of my philosophical moods again, and very much on the defensive. Not of myself (much) but of the creative writer in general. So let me tell you a story or four…
One thing no writing manual will ever teach you is balance. How do you balance your imagination with the business side of things, on top of your other life responsibilities, and do it all without working yourself to madness? I can tell you it’s really, really, ridiculously hard to do–and I have it fairly easy, all things considered.
I write this post for authors. Forgive me, dear readers, for pulling back the curtain behind which you may or may not want to see. I don’t do it to garner sympathy–I don’t do that–I just think better on paper, so to speak, so this is my way of trying to work through an issue I know other writers share. Maybe someone out there knows of a solution I haven’t thought of yet. Never hurts to ask, right?
Last chance to close the tab before we begin…
Cool. 🙂 Read on.
On January 24, 1848, one lucky fellow named James W. Marshall found gold in California. For the next seven years, hordes of hopefuls flocked to the West Coast state in hopes of striking it rich with a pickaxe and just a bit of luck. For the vast majority of them, that never happened. What did happen was thousands of opportunistic entrepreneurs making a fortune selling gold seekers the tools they needed for forty times the actual price.
While self-publishing is by no means a new idea, it follows a similar trend. According to Wikipedia (so take the info with a grain of salt), in 2008, there were more books self-published than published by traditional means for the first time in history. For those who got into the eBook publishing game that early, the following handful of years were truly fruitful. The eBook market expanded rapidly as people not only accepted digital books, but embraced them with amazing enthusiasm. Those authors made tidy little fortunes, some even went full-time or built up enough status to rival traditionally published bestsellers, and like James W. Marshall, those early success stories had budding authors all over the world flocking to self-publishing in droves.
But that growth stage of endless opportunity is over now.
You may not know this, but I love Christmas. Looooooove Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year, and as happens every year, I have again been swept up in nostalgic fervor. My childhood memories of wintertime have always been almost magical, and it always makes me a little giddy inside when I finally turn the calendar page to December. It’s like opening a fairy tale book very few other people seem to see. My own little secret world.
With all the controversy over how the holidays are acknowledged, celebrated, and fought over here in the U.S., I thought it’d be nice to do something that brings people together rather than push them apart. So for this post on the feast day of St. Lucy, no less, I’d like to share some of the traditions and stories that make my Christmas special. And I’d like to invite you all to share your own in the comments, or on your own website/blog. 🙂
I wanted to be thorough, so I actually did a little research and found some old folk traditions that are no longer observed, but still give me a sense of history and warmth. When I say I inwardly celebrate Christmas all month long, I’m not exaggerating. In my home country of Slovakia, the fun starts early and ends late in a glorious blend of pagan and Christian traditions that seriously blur the line, which I absolutely love. Check it out:
This will likely be long, and somewhat disjointed, and maybe by the time I’m done typing it all out I’ll decide to not even post it. I’ve done that before when I just got tired of reading myself talk. But I hope I don’t, because this is too important to not talk about.
Before I begin, I want to say that I’m a weirdly dichotomous person. I take certain things extremely personally; I get choked up when a friend hands me a candy bar for no reason other than I’d had a bad day. I get teary-eyed when I listen to a group of people singing in perfect harmony. I take off-hand remarks to heart, to the point where it’s made me so self-conscious that I rarely ever put myself out there. And then there’s the part of me that just does not give a fuck. Call me names? I’ll take it as a compliment. Insult me online? I’ll probably find a way to make a joke out of it that I’ll laugh over with my friends for months to come. Bash my books? I’ll take that criticism and do better next time. I am a woman who freezes first, flees second, and fights only as a last resort, which is kind of scary in practice.
I also hate with the passion of a thousand suns being presented with a problem I have no power to fix. Which is why I tend to stay away from politics, political discussions, and any drama swirling about it. Unfortunately, that’s becoming next to impossible this election season, and it’s got me frustrated to no end, because there is no escaping it anywhere, and there are things I am seeing that are actually making me afraid for the future of this country, and for my own personal safety as a woman. So here is me, addressing the big orange elephant in the room. This is where I drop the cliched line every cliched man dreads hearing from a cliched woman: We need to talk.