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other things Writing Life

More midwinter musings.

I think I posted about this earlier this year, but tbh it’s an evergreen topic. I found this draft buried in a folder from this time last winter & I’m cleaning up my WordPress today, so I’m finishing this and posting it.

It’s even timely, since it refers to the day after Christmas.

This is the time of year structured social interaction becomes painfully difficult, stressful & exhausting. (Yes, this does include daily interaction with Spouseman, but he married me, so we do our best to rub along.)

Is it irony? The time of year everyone wants to get together the most, I NEED to crawl into a figurative cave? It’s something, that’s for sure. One thing it isn’t is Seasonal Affective Disorder. (I investigated that, we all thought that’s what it was for years, but turns out it isn’t.) It doesn’t get better as days get longer. It gets better in February, period.

If I get a seasonal downtime, then my energy level, my creativity, my stability in general–really the whole rest of the year–goes well. If hibernation time gets interrupted by demands from The Outside World, if I’m forced to deal with things I can’t handle, then the whole year suffers.

I’ve lost friends over this issue. (Pro tip: do not drop a “jokey” guilt trip on me by email the day after Christmas. I will cut you out of my life like snipping a price tag. Same for rants about my lack of responsiveness at New Year’s.)

Working retail 4th quarter always meant missing holiday parties and ending up w/a post-Xmas staycation. I felt bad about missing out but was relieved to avoid the social scene at the same time. Post-Borders, I slowly recognized that I had been leaning hard on that built-in barrier to fulfill an underlying need for withdrawal I hadn’t realized was there.

Since then I’ve had to learn to make my own excuses, schedule time off and pretty much avoid Big Planned Activities, Basic Life Decisions, and anything else that requires Normal Conversing or Responding to Inquiries between mid-December and the end of January.

It isn’t easy. The social pressure is pretty HUGE. But it’s better for everyone this way, it really is. I cannot human in midwinter. I am a bear. Of course some years hibernation isn’t possible. Whenever that’s happened, I’ve coped. I get through.

Coping isn’t thriving.

There’s a high emotional cost to pushing beyond safe mental limits, and those effects are long-lasting, rolling down through the months until my next big seasonal reset. (That happens around fall equinox, when I become a squirrel. I’ve blogged about that too, I’m pretty sure.)

ANYway. It’s midwinter now, and I am enjoying my downtime, writing this, writing that, thinking and daydreaming and dodging the Real World as much as possible.

And yeah, feeling super grateful to be at a place in my life where that’s possible.

That’s all for today. Until later.

Categories
Media Consumption other things Whimsy Writing Life

Good Christmas

It was a good Christmas. I say that every year, even the year Mom died, even the year my best friend was dying, even the year Spouseman was waiting on cancer news, because every year–even the bad years when one or both of us was grieving or wrestling with illness or more–every year there’s been something good about the day to remember. This year there were far more goods than average despite it being Pandemic HellWorld Year Take 2.

We slept in, ate cinnamon rolls, opened presents, and then Spouseman went to game for a bit and I sat in the sunshine near the fireplace and wrote a thousand words about nitrile gloves & why I love them, which might be a boring way to spend Christmas afternoon, but it was comfy and cozy and I enjoyed it immensely. There was also a great deal of cat photography and some family texting, so I wasn’t a total hermit.

On the material side, I received an abundance of socks & can’t wait to wear them. Spouseman’s various Kickstarters and other online adventures brought me tarot cards and tea dragon plushies, plus a Practical Witch’s Almanac that I can’t wait to use all year long. He is loving his PS5 (no, I did not buy it scalped, I got it normal retail, plus accessories) and insists he is not disappointed even though it’s literally the only thing I got him. So I’m happy about that.

Santa didn’t bring me any sales or book reviews, (almost all authors love the gift of new readers, I’m pretty sure that’s a True Fact) but I forgot to send my letter to Santa about that, so the continued drought of sales was hardly a surprise. Maybe next year is the year I’ll suddenly and without explanation make enough money from a title to join SFWA. Or sell two short stories I haven’t written yet. Or maybe it won’t be. I’ll keep plugging away at projects either way.

ANYway. In case it isn’t clear, this is my way of recording thoughts I would usually scatter piecemeal across social media. Writing down what happens in my head and in my life helps things stick in my sievelike memory, so…here we are.

n with the day. Eventually we went out for a walk in the sunshine and the weather was so crisp, still, & clear that we impulsively decided to have a fire outside when we got back. The temp dropped hard as soon as the sun set, but was a good test for my new dragonship heat deflector. Success! It kept us toasty warm. Some next-block neighbors were having a yard party with much carousing and caroling, too, so that was a nice bonus.

The finale: we had leftovers from the Eve Feast in front of Iron Man 3. It’s kind of a Christmas movie, and it had been a while, and it didn’t require a lot of mental energy. I might be the only person in the world who likes it, but I do.

And that’s a wrap on this year’s official winterfest holiday. Spouseman is gaming, the cat is in the sink playing in the dirty dishes (I should go roust him out) and I’m writing this in front of Spiderman: Homecoming in prep for seeing the new movie on Monday.

Until later.

Oop. Some pics from the day.