Monday, December 24, 2007

Best Christmas Present

My daughter gave me a wonderful Christmas present yesterday. She got us tickets to see Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead at the City Theater Company here in Austin, Texas. It was a wonderful production! I’ve heard about the play since I was in high school and this was my first chance to see it. I was very impressed with the actors—especially the two who played Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season! I know that some of you may not be. My own holidays are always tinged with sadness because my father died on Christmas Eve some ten years ago. If you are part of the group who got my cross country trip email before I started this blog and read about my visit to my parents’ gravesites (for the first time) then you know the intensity of emotion my relationship with my parents evokes in me. My father’s death was both a sorrow and a relief. Which means that my emotions are always in something of a turmoil on Christmas Eve. I share this so you know that I do understand about difficult emotions at this time of year.

For me, one of the things that has allowed me to still enjoy this time of year is to consciously choose to create new traditions that are exactly right for ME. Some years I go out to parties, some years I realize I can’t and without guilt stay home. Most years I’m lucky enough to have my daughter with me and that’s wonderful too because I’m able to look at her and know I broke the cycle and that she has grown into a fabulous young woman (who will probably help to change the world).

As a writer, all of this is a reminder to think carefully about how different people respond differently to the same situation. It is a reminder that it is never enough, in my writing, to say that something has happened and assume readers will know how my characters feel. I must show how my unique characters feel and why. It is not what happens that matters nearly so much as how my character (or an individual) responds to that event.

So at this holiday time, I hope that each of you is happy and warm and safe and feeling joyful. For those who are not or who have difficult emotions mixed in, I wish you peace and comfort. I hope that you are able to find a path that lets you find those things.

Merry Christmas, everyone.