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“Advent” project – help needed

So a few years ago I read something somewhere online about a cute thing for your kids – you get 24 children’s books and wrap them up and then each day of advent your kid picks a book to open and read. They could be books from your shelves, new books, all Christmas themed, whatever. Just 24 books, wrapped, and the kid picks.

And let me tell you, I loved that idea. I loved that idea so much, that I thought to myself, “Self, you need to write yourself a collection of books that you could sell as a package, except maybe they’re for adults, and maybe they come pre-wrapped, but they’re definitely 24 separate books.”

And that general idea has been swimming around in my head for several years. Sometimes I forget about it for a while. Usually I remember sometime between late October and early December when it’s too late.

This year, I’ve remembered in February.

So I’m starting to brainstorm this idea. Will it be novel-length, 30,000-80,000 word pieces? The answer to that is oh so very probably not. I’ve been stuck lately. Badly stuck. When I have managed to write, I haven’t been finishing. It sucks, and I hate it. So it will likely be short stories – 3,000-10,000 word things. Possible to write in the time available while A) pushing my current habits to grow into new ones, and B) keeping my sanity.

They will all need to fit the general theme of “advent“, since I’d like to market them as a lead-up to Christmas gift. They’ll need to be long enough – somehow – to merit publishing each one as an individual paperback, because even though I don’t think many people will want to buy 24-27 paperbacks for a Christmas gift. They’ll absolutely be available as a collection, too – paperback and ebook.

So here’s where I’d like some input.

I have a page full of words I associate with Christmas, Advent, and the holidays – probably 50 or so. Most are positive, some are just objects, and some are negative.

I would love it if you could help me add to my list.

I only have my experiences to draw on, and they are fairly average. I know not everyone has picture perfect holiday experiences and associations, and not everyone has the Christian background with the December holidays that I do. If you’re able and willing to drop a list of a few words in the comments (or more than a few words, to be honest), I’d appreciate it. The inspiration would be greatly appreciated.

I hope to start writing my stories soon – maybe not this week, but soon – and I hope to be done by July or August. Don’t be afraid to share words that are negative, and don’t feel like you need to explain anything to me.

Thank you! <3

Pink

I’m going to be doing the Blog All About It blog challenge by herding cats & burning soup because I stumbled on it through another author’s blog and it sounds like is a lot of fun!

February’s prompt is pink. This is kind of super appropriate for me because pink is my color. I’ve said for several years that the moment I don’t have to worry about getting fired for pink hair, the hair is going 100% bright pink. Not a shy pink, either. No pastels for me.

I am one of those women (and I was one of those girls) that loves everything pink. Pink clothes, although I stick to pink tops these days, pink notebooks, pink paper, pink pens, pink backpacks, pink dresses. I don’t particularly think it was because I was “supposed” to like that color just because I was a girl – my mom’s favorite color is blue, and while that always baffled me (blue is nice and all, but it’s not pink, man!), fine. Everyone has different tastes.

Some of my daily pink items

Please forgive the state of my carpet.

Those are my essential pink items. The phone case, watchband, pen case, and traveler’s journal go with me everywhere daily. The laptop sleeve/case is used any time the computer leaves the house, and the water bottle I’m trying to develop a daily relationship with.

And it probably should be mentioned that the pink pen case carries one pink glitter pen and one pink ultra-fine pen. No, those are not my only pink ink pens.

Eyewear

Of course. While the front of my glasses are a darker purple in an attempt to not be too flashy, the inside and the arms are a lovely, bright color that you can almost see in this photo. I wasn’t sure about these because the arms are also very thin, but I love them now.

Vital supplies

In these two boxes I keep a ream of lovely pink writing paper, and letter-writing supplies.

This is not the full extent of the pink in my home. Notebooks, a giant soft die, a 6″ binder with a double-spaced, fixed font manuscript inside, a blanket, pens (pink barrel and pink ink), and a caticorn’s horn are just a few of the pink things I can see at this moment.

Oh, and the toes of my socks.

I think what I’ll try to do for the rest of the month is find as many pink things in my life as I can, and I’ll report back with photos. My purse might be pink, but it’s also kind of red. There’s my coat which could charitably be called cranberry, but that’s not quite pink. But photos. I’ll grab them and post them, and create a lovely pink gallery because pink is the color. At least, pink is my color. I get it if you don’t love it as much as I do. It’s not for everyone.

Prompted: broken

gin. on Twitter has a Patreon and I’m a patron of hers and she sends me a writing prompt every Thursday. I’m going to try to use every prompt this year and publish them here, and at the end of the year I’ll stuff them together in a book and see if anyone will toss money at me in exchange for reading them all in one place.


I wish I knew what to say, but I don’t.

I never do.

“I’m sorry” gets old.

It’s never enough.

“I’m sorry,” I say anyway, because saying nothing is worse.

“You don’t have to apologize,” she lies.

I can be silent now that I’ve apologized, so I stare at my feet, which is a mistake. I can see the shattered pieces of whatever it is that I’ve just broken. Evidence of my unfortunate talent.

How do I know she’s lying? I can hear you screaming the question at me.

Because they always are. Polite words betrayed by sighs, irritation radiating off like heatwaves that cause the air to ripple in the distance. What else can I expect, though, when my mere presence causes such havoc?

I can’t blame them for being angry. They have that right.

I’m not just clumsy, you know. It’s more than that. I seem to invite fragile things to leap into the air and fling themselves against hard surfaces when I’m near. Floors, walls…bathtubs (more than once).

It’s a problem.

I’m so lost in my thoughts that I’m ashamed to say I nearly jump out of my skin when she puts her hand on my sleeve.

I’d forgotten she was still there.

She snatches her hand back, but her body doesn’t move.

My eyes stay on my feet, despite being startled, and so I see her crouch down to examine the carnage. The pieces catch the light and look like they want to dance, and she picks up some of the larger pieces to examine them.

“They’re perfect,” she says.

Wait. What?

“I can totally use these. They’re exactly what I needed!”

“What are you talking about?”

She picks through the sparkling pile and gathers particular pieces. They’re all broken, I can’t imagine what good they are to her.

I start again when she jumps back to her feet. She has ignored the smallest and largest pieces. They lay in the street, in the sun, evidence of my destructive power.

Damn it.

“Come with me,” she invites. She’s got her shards gathered in the pocket of her shirt so they don’t cut her hands. One holds the pocket together, the other beckons me to follow.

I’m curious enough to do it, maybe because once I offer a slight nod, she turns and starts walking and doesn’t look back to see if I follow. It makes me feel a little less intrusive. A bit less guilty.

She really doesn’t seem to mind.

Then again, maybe she’s taking me to a trap, where she can beat the price of whatever I broke out of me.

But she doesn’t seem like that type. She seems sweet and genuine, and yes, there’s no way to be able to tell that, but it kind of sits on her like a hat.

Or maybe an aura, but I can’t see those. Anyway, it’s just a feeling.

She doesn’t dart, but she doesn’t dawdle, either. She leads for long enough to make me think I should stop and let her go on ahead, to let the crowd swallow her up. I’m about as good at second guessing as I am at breaking things.

Just when my feet are ready to stop and I’ve convinced myself that she didn’t really mean it, and she was just being nice, she pauses. She looks back, and smiles, and hooks a sharp right into a doorway.

And because she looked and smiled, my feet keep moving.

She’s disappeared from the doorway once I reach it, and I’m as careful as I can be as I move through it. I’m careful of my elbows, and my feet. My hips tend to brush against tottering tables with expensive vases, so I keep an eye out for any of those.

I’m so busy trying to keep track of my parts and make sure nothing fragile encounters me, that I don’t notice the space.

“Over here,” she calls.

She’s across the room. I look at the expanse I have to cross, and then forget to be careful.

It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing to break – everything has already been broken.

Mosaics made of of broken pots and vases, and other fragile, breakable things cover the floor, reassembled from their pieces into illustrations of themselves. One doesn’t walk on art, but there’s no choice. The center path is worn smooth but is no less vibrant for that fact.

The sun falls through a window and illuminates a spot ahead, and I walk toward it. Toward her.

“I only get to keep the pieces that break,” she explained. “And I can’t bring myself to break them, even when they’re not usable.”

She gestures to a shelf, and I look.

Malformed mugs. Collapsed vases. Magnificently painted and fired, but imperfect.

“I can’t break them,” she says with a sheepish smile. “I love them too much, but when they are broken, they become beautiful again.”

Oh.

“I can help with that.”

January status

January didn’t go well.

I mean, it kind of did. I wrote a very short piece of fiction and posted it on the blog. I had a birthday and lived through it. My two kids are awesome and my family is as healthy as usual, and I got to spend some time with friends.

But I failed both with moving 20 minutes a day and writing 30 minutes a day every day of January. I hit maybe five days total. Does this sound familiar to you? It sounds like every single story I’ve heard from disenchanted New Year’s Resolution-setters, and it is not unfamiliar to me, either.

Here’s the thing, though. I failed, but I also succeeded. I went for several really great walks which felt amazing, and I haven’t done that in a really long time. I didn’t do it every day, but I did it a few times, and it was good. I wrote a bit more on a story I had thought would be done by Christmas, and those are words that my undiagnosed, depression-prone head wouldn’t have otherwise cared about getting done.

So a fail, but a win.

I’m going to not think about February tomorrow until February hits tomorrow, because today was enough.

What I will say is this: write more and move more are still good goals.

<3