This is the tree this year. It's pretty similar to the years past, and the picture was sort of... haphazardly taken with a computer web cam, which explains the quality. It's just not really a point and shoot job when you're dragging mouse work, and separate monitor into it. Angles, and angles. Apologies.
It's sparser than last year. I didn't use as many lights, or as many beads, and that's weird for me, because I generally think a full tree is the best kind of tree, and last year I thought it was pretty sparse too. But the tree's getting kind of old, and it sags a little under too much weight, and even though I spent the whole night on it, more of that might have went to watching Red Dwarf than digging through the decorations.
Plus, I had to cannibalize some strings of lights for the lights that wound up on there. I don't think I ever realized how simple Christmas lights were until I had to pull out bulbs and take a few sets apart. The upside to this is that fixing them was not as beyond me as I expected it to be. The downside is, as with most really simple things, it's really simple to screw up the perfectly good lights too while trying to fix or replace the bad.
Still, it made me feel handy. That doesn't happen very often.
I was writing last week, this short fantasy story called "The Mouth Devours." The plan was to post it on Friday, but the honest fact is, even though it was only a couple hundred words long, I decided it wasn't really up to my standards - which, if you've seen some of the prose I've put on here is pretty low. So, I nixed it. I meant to pop in on Friday or Saturday and write... something, but I didn't really see any reason to force it if I didn't have to. And I didn't.
Things have been busy. I actually only finished my Christmas shopping today, and that was "finished" with some caveats. There was a new book to review, and I actually polished it off a little faster than usual, just because the extra income to recover from said shopping would be nice, especially with other expenses that might be coming up after the first of the year. I'm also reading a friend's manuscript for them, and I'll admit I didn't really think about doing that with all of the Holiday-related merriment, which was... terribly short-sighted of me. And odd, because I really have procrastinated myself into a crunch in a very long time.
I'm actually pretty good at controlled procrastination, so that's odd.
Justin and I hung out on Thursday night - the long Magic games have been a lot of fun, and something I've come to look forward to each week. Surprise news this week, but Justin thinks on his current schedule, we could see "Calamity Cash and the Town with No Name" finished by February. Once the pages are finished, there will be a lot of work to be done by me again, and I'll detail it all here, as usual.
Something I wanted to add... I do something like this on the blog every year, where I write a letter to Santa, asking for whatever it is I want for Christmas. I have an Amazon Wishlist I sometimes give out which is embarrassingly huge, and my guess is, given the date, anyone who was going to get me anything and knows about it probably has already has. And anyway, the more I think about it, the more I realize that, honestly, I don't really want anything.
I mean, yeah, I know everyone says that. And I'm not going to turn down some book I want, and yeah, my scarves have all seen better days, and I have a Steam Account now, if anyone's interested in getting me a game or something on the cheap or just friending me to play Spiral Knights when I eventually get to that, and a bottle of Scotch wouldn't be so... sorry, no, no, I really am kidding with all that... because this time of year, like that's not what this is about for me. I just enjoy all this, you know? The music, and the shopping, and the decorations, and all the trappings, be they self-indulgent, commercial, and obnoxious, or just quiet, modest, and stirringly heartwarming. A celebration should be both, I think. I think that is what celebrating is.
So really. I don't want anything. If you must spend money on me, make a donation to some charity. RAINN's good, not perfect, but good. Honestly, anything pro-women's issues, or some place that's gay and/or trans friendly. Anything social justice related. Hell, try out some micro-lending. Just... nothing religious, no food banks, make sure you know where and what the money's going to.
It's gloriously cold out. There keep being promises of snow. It's Christmas time. I have this marvelous girlfriend, and a, at times mercurial, yet still incredibly affectionate cat, and yeah, things happen, setbacks like the thing with the story that I was going to post on Friday, but I feel like... it's slow, but I'm getting it back. I'm writing again, and I feel comfortable in that skin, being "the writer." Specifically, being the kind of writer I am.
Mind you, my moods are about like my cat's, so this could all change spectacularly, and soon.
So I'm enjoying my Christmas specials, the decorations, all the prep, so much of it I will never see the payoff of, but just knowing that payoff is there, maybe some of what I do will brighten someone else's season, that's really enough for me.
All right. I am not so sentimental that I can't tell when things are getting kind of saccharine. So here's the thing, Santa. I just want the mail to run a little faster, so everything can get to where it needs to be on time, and I just want a little bit of this confidence to stick around after the New Year. And that's all I'm going to ask for.
Happy Holidays, everyone.
P.S. I put something like this on Facebook, but I want to put it up here, too. I'm no stranger to depression. It's very much a part of who I am, and maybe it shouldn't be, maybe it's mad that I put up with it sometime. Being tortured is quickly falling out of vogue. But all that aside, I do still find it in myself to enjoy things, enjoy things like this time of year, but I would like to say, I know it isn't always so easy.
Look, it's hard. Life is not what I'd call the most pleasant experience... most of the time, but there are bright spots, and it's easy to let all the times without them get you down - sadly, especially, when there are bright spots. I know what it's like to be celebrating something, but also feel depressed, disgusted, just generally worn down by everything. And I know that for most people, the first thing you get when you mention to someone, especially this time of year, that you're down, you're probably just going to get a nattering "Why can't you just be happy?" Anyone who thinks it's actually that simple is mad, and not nearly as sensitive as they think they are. And anyone who's said as much lately... contemplate sending a very apologetic Christmas card.
Sometimes it's not as easy as just cheering up. And it can be really hard when you can't reconcile the good with the bad. And if you're feeling like you're struggling, well... be damned with the cheer up people, and don't be turned off by suddenly more upbeat disposition. Call me, write me. Or if not me, find someone to talk to, reach out. It's hard. You might have to do it a couple of times, before you find what you need. But keep trying.
To quote myself, it takes some serious mad skills to handle it all on your own, and trust me, not having said skills is probably more healthy than not.
Take care of yourselves.