Get to the Doll, Jamie!

As we get closer and closer to the big day where the tree is finally so flammable due to forgetting to keep it watered that we have to finally take all the presents out from under it and remove the paper from the house so we can sleep a little easier when we put the hot lights back on, I know we’re all thinking about one thing. The brilliance of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s second greatest film, Jingle all the Way.

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The End of Magic

While I’ve never been one to personally push the Santa myth or any of the similar myths like Tooth Fairies or Easter Bunnies, I’ve also never been one to shoot them down. In general, I’m not one to want to shoot down people talking about magic for most things, unless it’s, you know, actually dangerous for them to think that way, like, for instance, with magical horse de-wormer.

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How I REALLY Feel About Christmas

Hey, Christmas is here, folks, and in Wisconsin, we’ve had quite the bout of weather to prepare us for it. Not only did we end up getting dumped on with snow just a few days ago, but then shortly afterward, we had a day of 57 degree weather, followed immediately thereafter with 55 mph winds, and devastating tornadoes for surrounding areas. And that was just over the course of a few days. When we talk about it beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, here in Wisconsin, that could mean anything when it comes to the weather.

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The Adventures of Luke Starkiller

One of the first movies I remember watching is The Empire Strikes Back. It was playing on the TV at daycare and although I was definitely interested enough in it to remember it being on the screen ~35 years after the fact, I also seem to remember not really paying attention to it. The Battle of Hoth is what sticks out in my mind, so I’m guessing the big ol’ AT-AT walkers were what drew my attention away from whatever toy I was playing with long enough to make a lifelong memory, but outside of that, I don’t remember much from that early viewing.

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The Urge to Quit

Rehearsals for my newest play started recently. And I was convinced to not only act in it, but also to play the top billed character. A character who is written to be absolutely obnoxious. A character whose dialogue is intentionally bland and terrible. And as we went through the process of the first read thru of the script with the cast, I spent the entire time wanting to hide in a hole, feeling absolutely self-conscious over this script I wrote and now had the audacity to allow myself to be a central figure in the production of it.

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My Battles with Segregation

I never really had a real concept of the existence of laundry until high school, when I was finally on my own, and that pile of stinky clothing in the corner of my room didn’t magically disappear and reappear folded in my dresser. Suddenly I was in this position where an entirely new task that I had an incredibly minimal concept of, was my responsibility.

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The Challenge of Writing Prompts

Something I consider one of my personal skills is that I believe I can write up to 1000 words on any subject. In fact, it’s a little secret of mine that that’s often one of the things I challenge myself with here in this space. I once gave myself the challenge of writing a love letter for comic sans, a reviled font that I honestly have no real feelings for or against, and came up with something I believe to have been clever, funny, and somehow a little bit endearing, ending with a call to action of calling your mother.

The truth of the matter is that I don’t really have enough to say on a daily basis in this space, and while I’ve often considered going down to a smaller number of posts a week, I also like to have this little bit of writing exercise to keep my fingers nimble and my brain working through how to talk about things. And so, as it is, I write a little bit of something on whatever it is I can first come up with that I think might lead to something interesting.

They’re not all successful. Not only are plenty of the things I publish on here simply lame, but I write plenty of draft posts which end up being completely deleted. I have three drafts right now that are pretty similar to other things I’ve written recently, but are just not as good, that will probably be deleted soon after I finish my writing today. But the point isn’t that I’m always writing gold, it’s that I’m always writing.

With how busy my life has been of late, I don’t always have the time to kick back and work on a long form story. I don’t even always have the time to work on flash fiction, as that takes a bit more effort and detail work. But I can usually find the space to sit down and write a quick rant about whatever might be of slight interest to me on a given day.

Of course, more often than not, I find myself getting completely off track and what I started writing about isn’t at all what I intended to write about. For example, this post right here was initially going to be something about laundry. I don’t know what exactly, that was just the writing prompt I gave myself to work with because my office is also the laundry room and that’s what I came up with when looking around the room for ideas. As I started working on it, I decided instead that it might be interesting to give a little insight into my writing process for these blog posts.

And the insight I’m giving to you is that I honestly have very little of a process. I try to come up with something I think I can write something interesting about, starting by looking around the room I’m in before going to the social medias and/or news to see if there’s anything there that piques my interest.

And finally, if none of those work, I start working through completely random words in my vocabulary to see if something comes to mind. Luckily this last step rarely has to happen, although it is what got me to the comic sans post, which, as noted before, I’m pretty proud of. Maybe I’ll have to dig it up from the archives and post it out here again just to show you how alone I am in my love of it.

However, the real point here is that I often get asked about how to find success as a writer. And as someone who doesn’t sell a whole heckuva lot of books, I can only assume they’re asking about actually succeeding with writing something. And the only answer I have to that is to just write. As often as possible. For as long as possible.

My kids have taken to writing in recent years, and they usually like to talk to me about the process, and this is the same advice I give them. Just write. It won’t all be worth reading, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth being written. I learn more about my writing through the things I don’t feel are worth publishing than I do about the things that I decide are just good enough to make it through my editorial process for this space.

So, I guess that’s my little inspirational piece for today. Maybe tomorrow you’ll be graced with my surely amazing article about laundry.

‘Tis the Season…for sickness :(

Perhaps the one silver lining in the whole issue with 2020 being shut down from the world was that it was the first year in I can’t remember how long that I didn’t get a cold. The older I get, the worse my colds appear to be, so I was incredibly excited when I made it through last winter and realized that I didn’t actually get sick. It was beautiful.

And over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had both a cold and a stomach bug flying through the house.

And I’m not super excited about it.

Since having kids, it has been nearly impossible to keep those little schoolroom bugs from inundating the household, so last year, while the kids were still barely in school, and when they were, they were far more separated from each other and classrooms were still being cleaned on the regular, we lucked out and not only didn’t get the big C-word sickness, but also didn’t get the little c-word. Having a year off from sniffling, sneezing, and all the other stuff that comes along with it was a (literal) breath of fresh air.

Having the little-c enter our house has me wondering what that might mean otherwise for our family who has been lucky enough to avoid the big-C. While we’re now all vaccinated, I know that this isn’t enough to keep us completely free and clear from becoming yet another number on the charts, and therefore becoming a number which could possibly make other people into numbers. And so, I’m finding myself a little nervous about what this might mean for our holiday season.

If little-c is going around, that means that big-C certainly has an opening to get in, especially with the hip new Omicron fad going around. And I don’t want that. Not that I’m concerned about being sick (I mean, I hate being sick, but I’m not, like, worried about it being a big deal), but I’m still as concerned as ever about getting other people sick. And one of the downsides about the vaccine on that front is that if you’re sick, you’re less likely to even be aware of it.

You’re also less likely to pass it along, so that’s something.

But, of course, now we’re dealing with yet another dangerous variant being passed along, putting us into yet another holiday season where things are already being cancelled (not as much stateside yet) and people are looking at having their second holiday season become a stay-at-home party where they miss out on getting to see family and friends.

And I’m also not eager for that.

Yeah, sure, I may have been a little overly optimistic that we would be able to convince folks to actually get vaccinated quickly enough to nip this whole thing in the bud. I knew that we’d still struggle with getting enough vaccines into those less-fortunate countries to keep this thing from mutating, but I had held out hope that we might be able to find a way to make our country, at least, a place where people could feel a bit safer.

Instead, I’m sitting here with a cold wondering what else might be coming down the pipeline.

I should also note that although I personally have not been tested for COVID since this cold reared its ugly head, my family members who passed this thing along to me were, and we’re clean.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not working really hard on keeping from passing this little-c on to other people. Because I think in general, we’re all really sick of being sick or of getting other people sick, or of worrying about who is going to get us sick.

But I’m also really sick of just waiting to see when we can be done with being sick.

I’m sick.

And drugged up on cold medication.

Which means I should probably stop writing now…

Have fun out there. And don’t get sick!