Friday, December 29, 2006

More Holiday Stuff (I'm still in the mood) and a bit of Jeanette Winterson

I love Jeanette Winterson, something in the winding way of her prose. Our meeting (her work and I) was quite unexpected. I had never heard of her before. Some time ago when I was trying to regain control of my life and was feeling alone I attempted to join a book club found on an internet message board. From the moment I opened the book she spoke to me. Moved me in a way that most of the things in my life weren’t. The book club never materialized. Some things do happen for a reason.

I had the pleasure of seeing her speak the following spring at the
Pen World Voices Festival, a performance (to say the least) which did not disappoint. I came across her monthly column on the web and thought I’d share an excerpt on the holidays.

The wind is howling outside – sometimes I can’t believe that I am half way through my life, and it feels precious and clear, and not be spoilt by own stupidity. It would be stupid not to live in the moment, which is not to say to live irresponsibly, but to live as fully aware as possible. To live in the fullness of time, and not on its edges. The wind will uproot me one day, and I’ll be gone, so when it comes to pauses – like Christmas, I want to remember what things matter, and what really doesn’t.

Don’t go mad, don’t get tired, don’t be pointless, don’t waste time, this Christmas. Love where you can, help a stranger, and if you are the stranger who needs help, ask for it.

Doesn’t matter if this isn’t your faith, or if you have no faith at all – there is enough here for everyone, and the symbol of Christmas is powerful because it is true – new life, a new chance, a change to the existing order – a Dream, (actually there are 4 dreams in the Nativity story), a Star, a Baby, Love.

Find the rest of the column here. Find the above refenced book here.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A little Christmas CHEESE (okay a lot)

One of my favorite things in the world is wrapping Christmas presents. Suddenly Christmas becomes a reality, the excitement sets in, everything becomes a little more magical; as the anticipation of seeing the reaction of the people closest to me unwrap their gifts sets in, it’s impossible for me not to feel a little like a child again. But as I get older the enchantment really is in the giving (however cheesy that may sound) more then the receiving. You buy, you spend all the money, you stress, you fret, you rethink, all so that on Christmas morning you can watch people find something that they love, want, need waiting wrapped in special paper, tied in ribbons. I realize the amount of often useless rituals and consumerism that go into creating the buzz around Christmas; everything is endorsed by big corporations and marketed some time in mid-November. It’s quite a mystery why we still even give into the trees and the decorating, but keeping that sense of joy, feeling that sense of magic, just one day a year, sometimes I really believe that it’s all worth that moment. It’s all worth seeing someone cry when the gift is really thought out and emotional, enjoying someone’s squeals of delight when it’s something they desired and never thought they’d receive. The laughter, the family time, the sheer cheesyness of the moment, the fact that each moment can never be repeated and is special becuase you can show how much you love and appreciate (even if you hopefully do it 365 days a year) the people in your life.

I was raised in a great family, which has strived each year to make it just as special, if not more, then the year before and for that, this Christmas I am thankful. I still get goose bumps each year when the presents are stacked under the tree. I’m still excited for the huge family breakfast and the even huger family dinner, and being with these people that I love so much. Life is fleeting, we have to take what little pleasures we can get. I hope this is a wonderful holiday for everyone. I hope that you find yourself with someone you love dearly and can be content if only for an instant.

That’s it from me. I'm going to go pretend to be cynical and jaded to balance out all of this Christmas cheer.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

My Blog is Practically Extinct.

A lot changed in a year, after January began the new job, meaning less time during the day plus a more active social life at night equaled less commitment to the blog. I’ve still been writing privately at a very, very slow pace (I average about two good pages a month). Plus this shouldn’t end up being another site that regurgitates other people’s opinions on literature because I lacked the time and energy to put forth the effort it deserves. I think the more broad general focus, if this is to continue would have to go beyond literature to encompass more of current culture, as it already has in the past. I no strive to be the next Miss Maud. Revisiting my blog is more of a dedication to watch less television in the new year (shit rots your brain) and write something if not my slowly paced two page a day work then at least something interesting. Something worth reading.