I know it's days after the holiday, but hey, it's still Hanukkah until Monday, so :p. I've been pretty busy with the holidays, cooking, baking, cleaning, entertaining, so I haven't taken much time to update my blog or twitter. I've appeared on facebook and myspace briefly here and there, but that about sums up my online existence outside of working. I did do some fun things for the holidays, including baking sugar cookies and gingerbread men. I made my first yule log this year with an chocolate orange center frosting that is to die for! We spent Solstice at my parents' home, which was pretty nice. My Dad had gone to visit my estranged brother to take my nieces gifts, and when he came home he actually brought photos of the girls with him. Then on the Monday after Solstice, I actually got a card from my brother and his wife with pictures of my nieces. My parents then went on Christmas day to visit them, and according to my mother, the visit went well. One small step for my brother, one giant step for the entire family.
My in-laws came in to visit Christmas day, and since my mother-in-law went crazy years ago (and no one told her...) I expected chaos. Apparently she hasn't been speaking to my sister-in-law, so again, I expected chaos, but it wasn't really bad at all. Dinner went over well (bows gracefully and hands out plates of leftover scalloped pineapple...) and while she tends to exude negativity, she actually wasn't as hard to be around as she usually is. My daughter was spoiled ridiculously by both sides of the family, and all ended well.
Aside from the holidays, the season has been a little slow. I've spent too much time under the weather, which makes it easy to brush off the important things and sink into a state that seems to recycle one illness after the next. I started out with a major bronchial infection back in November that keeps recurring. The doctor I went to is an obvious moron, who hasn't addressed the issue at all, so even as it occasionally seems to recur, I just go about my normal life until it gets so bad that I can't breathe at all. Then I call and go back.
I haven't written much and I haven't kept myself motivated, but it's time to get things back on track. I sat down last night and did some thinking about what I want to do in the coming year. It always comes down to what is most important to me (aside from my family, that is,) and that is writing. I was doing so well for so long, writing 2000 words or more every day the entire time I was juggling college, work and family. Now that I'm finished with school and spending so much time on the computer working every day to make ends meet, I make very little time for writing at all. It's exhausting to sit back down here and try to meet my creative goals. So, I've made a decision that I hope will remedy that. I am going to start writing longhand again and bring the draft to the computer. I wrote in longhand for years, and found that transferring it to the computer or word processor (back in the day before computers...) was a very refreshing process. The process helped me really put the overall idea into perspective and the transfer from one draft to the other strengthened the story as well. I know I have to do something. Writing is all I have ever cared about and wanted. It's time to start proving that again.
I was also considering applying to Wilkes University's MFA in Creative Writing program this summer. It's a two year program and the degree would allow me to teach creative writing to college students and at seminars. It would also provide an insider's look into active publication, something that despite my own attempts to understand, has never become quite clear to me. I am still considering it, as I feel it would motivate me to write under threat of deadline again and give me a slight edge in publishing that I've been looking for. It really couldn't hurt to go through with it. It's a low residency program, so the majority of it takes place from home, and I would only have to appear on campus for 2 ten day seminars a year. I have quite a bit of time to get my application and packet ready, so I'm going to be doing some serious meditating on that.
I was telling Jason this morning that I noticed I tend to feel more spiritually connected this time of year. While some may say, "Well of course, it's Christmas, everyone feels a little more spiritual then..." I am not a Christian and don't celebrate traditionally. We actually celebrate Winter Solstice and go through the holiday motions with my husband's family. I actually think it has more to do with how tough this time of year can be for us financially. The economy is crap now, but for us it feels a little harder. This is the time of year when my husband's job comes to a lull, but it's been in a lull already for the last three years, so instead of lulling it's come to a complete standstill. There have been years I really couldn't understand how we made it through, and so that strengthens my faith a little and makes me feel closer to my spiritual center.
I hope everyone is thinking about the dawn of a new year, making their resolutions now and getting ready to embrace the old one last time before welcoming the new. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming holiday photos, and expect to see a lot more of me here than has been appearing in recent weeks.