It is the season of Christmas music, Christmas lights, Christmas cookies, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, and Christmas. Christmas. Just the word lifts my spirits. Merry Christmas to you. And you. And you over there, too!
I'd like to give a shout out to the folks over at Kodak Gallery. I ordered *stuff* from them on Saturday, and UPS says it is on its way to my house today - Wednesday - just four days after I ordered it. That's amazing! Santa Claus and his elves don't have nuthin' on these people. My order wasn't just pictures, either. I won't tell you everything I ordered, but I did order a 40 page bound photo book of my family. If I had gone the old-fashioned route and scrapbooked this baby, it would've taken me at least a year, but Captain Kodak Efficiency is delivering it, bound and glossy, to my doorstep in just four days. Wow. So, if you are looking to create a unique and attractive Christmas gift this holiday season for some well-deserving grandparents or aunts, check it out.
BW and I battled back and forth for a few weeks about Christmas shopping this year (to spend or not to spend - that is always the question), but finally settled on a maximum dollar figure for the year. We're on a mission to become debt-free - a mission that will take at least several years, just for plastic debt - so any outside spending feels like we're slowing down the payoff. But it is Christmas! Spread good cheer! Be generous even with little! Some of you will smirk at our budgeted funds - $200 - but you'd be surprised how far we stretched that money. By the way, we finished our shopping. Insert triumphant laugh.
With the holiday break only seven work days away, I've taken out a stack of books by almost all of the poets who will be attending the Key West Literary Seminar and hope to read something by all of them before I go in January. It's a hefty stack.
I just finished reading two excellent books, very different in subject matter - Still Alice by Lisa Genova and The Host by Stephanie Meyer. Still Alice was a heartbreaking story about a woman (Alice) who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The book is written from a third-person limited omniscient point-of-view from Alice's perspective and follows Alice from her thriving career as a Harvard professor through the stages of degeneration. The author does a magnificent job of bringing the reader into each scene. Alice's relationships with her husband and children change and evolve throughout the book in a very real and powerful way. The author writes with truth and compassion about her characters. It is a beautiful story.
The Host by Stephanie Meyer is almost impossible to summarize without sounding wacky. Like the Twilight series, The Host is a sci-fi book that incorporates many themes I care about - love, sacrifice, reconciliation, forgiveness - into a strange and futuristic world. It seems evident to me that the author is modeling her main character after Jesus, incorporating powerful parallels. "He came into the world, but the world rejected him," could be an opening epigram for this book. While this book did not capture my attention as intensely as the Twilight series, I found myself much more engaged and not hating the main character or feeling annoyed by any one perspective. This is a much more well-rounded book with very few lag moments.
I have really enjoyed this dive back into fiction. I missed plot and character development, extended narratives, and dialogue. I missed not having to figure out what the story is really about, although I did do that anyway.
Poetry writing has come to a bit of a standstill for the time being. I have a few ideas but just haven't had the time to write. As usual, much of the drafting might have to be done in my brain before I ever sit down for the writing. I need to figure out what I want to take to Key West for workshopping. I want to bring mostly new material to see where I could go from here. I'm excited for Key West. It is hard to think about it now in the face of this great season (see beginning of this post).
It seems we have come full circle! Time to sign off - have a blessed holiday if I don't sign back on in a while!