December always seems to prompt list-making and introspection.
There are lists that celebrate the Top 100 songs/albums/music videos/memes/political screw-ups and selfies of the year.
There are to-do lists for the Holidays (yes, I capitalized that—Christmas is a Holy Day for me) and gifting lists and winterizing your car/home/work space lists. There are “I want…” lists, usually disguised as cute letters to the jolly sweet man in the North. No, I’m not talking about Colin Mochrie, though he is pretty sweet.
There are the top 10 baby names for 2014 (Sophia and Jackson), top tweets, best-dressed celebrities, worst-dressed, etc.
Then there are the New Year’s resolution lists, well-meant and rarely kept. One day, I’ll give up that Mountain Dew…
There is the wish-we-didn’t-have-to-list-these list of those who have passed away this year. May God grant eternal rest upon your souls, George Donaldson and Robin Williams.
And then there are the award shows, with their mini-lists, that celebrate the arts in all its forms. The Grammys. The Oscars. The Emmys. The Tonys. Teen Choice Awards. BET Awards. People’s Choice Awards. Golden Globes. Screen Actor Guild Awards. AFI. American Country. CNN’s heroes. Irish Music Association Awards (Go, Ryan Kelly! And Colm Keegan, Paul Byrom, Celtic Thunder…and George Donaldson).
Why do we feel the need to celebrate each year? Is it because of the need for self-gratification? The fear and uncertainty that the next year holds? Is it because we, as a people, will use any excuse to celebrate?
Yes. And no. My theory is that we celebrate each year’s achievements, those that are trivial (favorite cat videos) alongside those that are major accomplishments (Nobel prizes) because to not do so would mean that we no longer treasure the good things in life. That we place no value on art, or science, or humor, or heroes. It would mean that we accept that the world is a dark, dangerous place, full of sorrow and pain. The recent unrest and protests in Ferguson, New York, and elsewhere remind us all that life is unfair, and that sometimes things don’t go the way they should, that pain is a part of life along with joy…the dance of life, to paraphrase from Tony Arata’s “The Dance” sung so well first by Garth Brooks and more recently by Colm Keegan, backed by Laura Durrant on cello.
“I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
To not celebrate, or make lists, or envision a future bettered by the fulfillment of dreams and goals, means the bad guys win. It means there is no dance, no joy to counteract the pain.
And we can’t let that happen.
My list this year is pretty simple.
- Publish my third book, Serve Me, a psychological thriller masquerading as a romance, and begin working on my fourth, returning to the Kilts series I have begun with The Celtic Contract and The Celtic Captive.
- Find permanent housing. (Hotels are fun at first).
- Be a good mom.
- Find ways to celebrate and show gratitude for the many friends I have, those who have helped me on this journey through prayers, as beta-readers, editors, listening to my loooong short ramblings, or providing me with things I need.
- Acknowledge that dreams take work, and celebrate my own achievements. In one of his commercials, Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson says “Dreams don’t come true. Dreams are made true.” (Go Hawks!)
Whenever I start thinking that things are going slow, that my books aren’t doing as well as I’d hoped, I have to remind myself that I have written and published two books this past year, and am in the middle of my third. That’s not small potatoes, people. It’s a great start. And I only cry a few times a day now out of frustration when my characters misbehave. (Just kidding—I’ll add that as a goal for next year. Note to self, buy stock in Kleenex).
Maybe one day, I can make that most coveted list every author dreams of…The New York Times Best Seller list. 😉 For now, it’s enough for me to know that people are reading and enjoying my books, and I’m still enjoying writing them.
So now, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa or even Happy Festivus. If you celebrate nothing special this month, then Happy Tuesday to you!
May the year 2015 bring you love, light, laughter, and dancing, and the courage it takes to make your own dreams come true.