I know it might make me sound like Scrooge or the Grinch, but I really hate the holidays. You spend a bunch of time trying to participate in something bigger than yourself only to wind up wiping yourself out as you try to make sure everything goes well or that everyone has a good time. Then, once the food is done and everyone has finally settled down to eat, you spend your time trying to make polite conversation and not rip off someone’s head for making an incredibly shitty comment that you don’t appreciate but which really isn’t worth ruining everyone’s good time. Because there are people who enjoy this experience. I’m sure at least one of my siblings had a great time. I think my older relatives also had a great time. It’s not like they’d admit it if they didn’t, though. That’s not polite. An entire day was sacrificed on the altar of family and festivity and all I’ve got to show for it is a new degree of tiredness, a slow smoldering anger at someone for the ignorant shit they said, and a sort of tacky feeling to my mouth that is the result of too many sweet deserts.
I honestly get along with most of my family. I also can get along with almost anyone, so I don’t really know how much that’s saying about my relationship with them. Most of my family skews toward the conservative side of things, in politics and religion, and I’m about as liberal as they get without entire abandoning sensible democracy. I dislike mind games or being passive aggressive and one side of my family plays tons of mind games while the other side engages in constant passive aggressive warfare. It’s exhausting just to be around them, and that’s just on normal days. If there’s something going on or something in the subtext of the gathering that’s less than positive, it gets exhausting to even think about being around them because they’re all in on the games and I just want to be left alone. Which is apparently “a millennial thing” rather than a “properly manage my mental health and be the steward of my own well-being” thing. I’m still quite upset about that remark, to be honest. It was uncalled for and I would have thought it was out of character for the person who said it until I heard them say it. Now it is entirely in character for them and they have been made lesser by their more apparent small-mindedness.
I also left my light therapy lamp at home so I’ve been without its benefits for more than twenty-four hours now and I kind of miss it. Even if I don’t need daily exposure to enjoy its benefits, I really enjoyed having it as a part of my morning routine. In not even two weeks, it has already become an indispensable part of my morning routine. The warm glow of it on my face as it stirs my brain and mind to life while I slowly get myself in order to start the day… It has probably been the most beneficial thing I’ve done for myself outside of creating good writing habits. And deciding to end things with my ex. And playing the Hamilton lottery. Okay, maybe not the most beneficial thing, but it is definitely having a major positive impact on my life and I miss the little bump it gave me every morning.
Honestly, if it weren’t for my plans to visit my grandparents (the ones who are having health problems that resulted in me being entirely derailed for the first full week of the month), I’d have left to drive home yesterday after dinner. Mostly because I was frustrated by my relatives but also because I like sleeping in my own bed. I’m looking forward to getting back to the audio book I listened to on the way down and having some quiet solitude for a few hours. In fact, the only reason I’m not definitely driving home this evening is because of Shitty Music Neighbor and my desire to have a Friday night free of his shitty music. I slept right through it last week, but I don’t know if I’m tired enough to repeat that performance again. I probably would be if I drove home tonight.
I’d also lose out on a few hours of writing time and that’s precious today. I’ve got the usual two and a half thousand words to write, but I’m probably going to be busy all day. I’ve got a friend to visit, grandparents to visit, and both of those things are far away from where my parents live so I’ll probably have about three hours of driving just to get to and form these events. Even if I only spend a couple of hours on each of these visits and it takes half the time I expect to drive around, I’m still only left with the evening and filling that with a drive home would leave me with no time to write since I’ll probably be too tired to do much when I get home, especially if I don’t try to stay up incredibly late to just push the words out. That never actually works out for me.
I’m sure my family would also appreciate it if I stuck around for a while longer. I don’t see them much, on account of living in a different state, and I know my youngest sister wants more of my time than she’s gotten so far. I don’t think she’ll get as much as she wants, even if I stayed until Sunday, but I don’t really want to just leave without giving her at least a little more of my time. I left for college several years ago, when she was just six, and I haven’t been back much since, so I think she kind of misses me without really understanding why, which is why it hits her so hard when I don’t have the time for her that she wants. I also don’t really know her as well as I know my other siblings, so I could be entirely off base. I would guess my absence has something to do with it since I’m the only one of her siblings who hasn’t moved back into our parents house at some point or another. For most of her life, I’ve always just been a little too far away to easily visit. I imagine it’s not a great feeling to have a brother who seems to like the same things you do who is never available for you to get to know better. Any attempt to bond is further complicated by our respective mental health issues that tend to clash if we ever spend more than a few minutes talking to each other.
Family is tough and I dislike the holidays because they’re stressful and often upsetting. For me, anyway. I hope your holidays are nothing like that but actually serve as a chance to rest up for the lat push of the month, this last week of writing before National Novel Writing Month draws to a close. If they don’t offer anything but more frustration and emotional drain, feel free to use National Novel Writing Month as a reason to pull away a bit and get some room to breathe. It may not be easy, but you’re worth it. Good luck with today!
Humans, as a whole, celebrate birthdays in a large variety of ways, usually dictated by cultural traditions. At the same time, there is a growing movement in modern Humanity to redefine how we all treat birthdays. My boss remembers when people are work would bring in treats for someone else’s birthday, or else the workplace would provide them, and now we’re all expected to bring something in ourselves unless we manage to avoid admitting it’s our birthday by conveniently taking vacation around it. How does your protagonist view their birthday or celebrations in general? Are they something to be avoided, or are they a ready-made good time? Write a scene showing us your protagonist’s inclination toward celebrations in general or birthdays specifically.
Currently, my favorite Science Fiction writer is doing a great job of putting out a book or two a year. He’s had a notable career in that he’s dependably produced books you’ll enjoy if you enjoyed any of his previous ones and, while he’s probably not a writer pushing the bleeding edge of wordsmithing to new heights, he’s probably one of the best Sci-Fi writers producing works right now. I’ll admit my collection is a little dominated by white dudes, so I’m also willing to admit I might be wrong. I think all of the authors he boosts for visibility, using his success to help minority writers succeed, are amazing as well and I can’t wait to keep digging through the writers he’s recommended. You should check out Scalzi’s books if you want some good Sci-Fi on a regular basis since he was the writer who inspired me to try writing my own Science Fiction. He’s got some really cool ideas out there that will hopefully inspire you to come up with your own.
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to get uncomfortable if I’m sitting in one place for too long. My legs get restless, my knees start to feel weird, and my back demands the opportunity to bend and flex. I can counter this somewhat by using a standing desk, which is something I’d getting set up at work as we move from one office to another in the coming weeks, but I much prefer something even more free-form. I like to lounge on the floor, propped up on pillows or beanbag chairs while I work. I can roll around, twist into any comfortable shape, and never get stuck in one position for long enough that my knees start to hurt. I’d suggest you spend some time considering what barriers keep you from your writing desk or area. Are they barriers of comfort? If so, checking out different ways to sit or recline are your best bet. Even springing for a different chair can work wonders. I started using a padded folding chair instead of my computer chair because my computer chair is constantly sinking and I’m actually enjoying the simplicity of the folding chair. Maybe you’ll find out that you feel the same way if you start to explore ways to find comfort.