Merry Christmas everyone!
I realize it's not chic in this country to wish people a Merry Christmas. I mean, there's been this cultural battle about how we should greet each other this time of year. What I've seen is that after all the yelling and screaming at each other about "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" we've wound up just grunting at each other, acknowledging each other with the bare minimum of effort. Sort of like every other time of the year.
I have been pretty busy lately, and haven't blogged much, but I thought I'd write to you, my friends, in the form of a typical American Christmas letter: Except this isn't going to be painful to read.
So here we go:
My Dear Friends:
This has been a tough year for many people, and that's pretty true for me as well. My little family spent far too much time this year waiting in emergency rooms, talking to doctors, buying prescriptions for multiple medical issues we never saw coming. It was sort of a mash in the head, starting on Easter night. When I look back on 2013, I'll think of it as the "year of the medical bills."
Had the year ended on March 31, I would deem this year a failure, a dark, black hole. But the year didn't end, thankfully, and there were moments of great hope and beauty along the way.
On a professional front, I got my rights back for Dream in Color and I created not one but two new covers for the book. I also released my two Elsie W. Books
And I'm currently working on a third book for my "Wicked Women" series, a book I hope to have released by Valentine's Day.
But there the four of us were, the last photo session of the night for the photographer. It had been a very tense time in our house since Easter Sunday night and frankly, we were a very fragile bunch. But something happened during that session: The four of us laughed together for the first time in a very long time.
We sat in that hot, miserable room, all of us looking really, really awful for different reasons. (I personally picked a shirt that simply doesn't look good on me. It's too light for my fair skin. Normally I wear it under a sweater, but like I said, it was July.) But there was something that was so funny about the photographer, what we were doing , and everything, it was like a dam broke and all the tension that had hung over us broke and we laughed together and healed.
I keep this picture on the fridge. I love remembering that day because it was so special. Some time ago I realized I like the way I look because I look like a blond version of my aunt Carol, who is a beautiful soul and if I turn out to be like her I will be a success in my life.
Now here we are, and it's Christmas. There's trouble in every corner of the
world. And yet, I can't help but feel optimistic. Maybe the world leaders will continue to screw up on a monumental basis, but if we here in the real world can shut out the shrieking, shut out the anger, and reach out to each other, we are going to be okay.
So whether you celebrate Christmas or not, let's all take a minute and see the beauty of things, even in the smallest things. Leave an extra five dollars as a tip for your waitress. Hold the door open for a string of people at the post office. Give your mother a hug even if she makes you insane every day of your life. Don't give the biggest or shiniest gift, give the one that speaks from your heart. Hum or whistle a happy song.
Friends, I celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ. My basis of my faith is hope. In my writing, I bring to life characters who are very flawed, but have hope. If I take nothing away from 2013, which started out so very, very wrong, I can take this: Hope is never lost where there is kindness, love, peace and laughter.
So, where ever you are, whatever you are doing right now, I want to wish you a heartfelt Merry Christmas...and my hope is that we are all just better to each other in 2014!