Thursday, December 22, 2011

tomorrow i can say...

from here!
When I was a little girl, and Christmas was like candy-bliss-crack-pops that fell from the sky (you know how it was), this day was also iconic. Every year, on December 22, I would proudly announce to all within earshot (and sometimes, just to myself--over and over again), "Tomorrow I can say, 'Tomorrow's Christmas Eve!'" I'm not sure if this tradition soothed me or added to the unbearable, pee-my-pants excitement, but it happened every year. Even well into high school and college, I was bereft if a December 22 passed without my acknowledgement of it being the day before the day before the day before Christmas.

I was a weird kid.

Sadly, after more than a quarter of century of life, I am no longer jittering in any corners over impending holidays. And, if I am, it's for completely different reasons.

In general, I fear I am becoming a disillusioned old grump. Not just about Christmas. I kind of hate movies all of a sudden, for example. Not that there aren't films I adore and always go back to, but the industry just makes me sick. There is significantly less magic in Hollywood to me, now. I look at images of that sign and all I see is money, money, money, power, power, beauty, fame.

But I can't help it... I still watch.

Christmas is a little bit like that. Somewhere along the way, the magic got warped. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely still there. Whenever I think of A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The original Grinch cartoon, or, you know, the birth of Christ and the good news of "God and sinners reconciled," I feel it. I'm there.

Then, I chance to walk inside a Walmart (another necessary evil, ugh), and see this sign:

and now I am physically ill.

I don't even have a problem with Santa Claus. Not really. Not if the point is believing in things you can't see, or embracing generosity, or actively participating in a world-wide fantasy for one night of the year (I still like to set out cookies and milk, knowing full well that my dad is the one who will partake-- I love the act of welcoming the fairy tale. Also, of feeding my dad cookies in the middle of the night). Elf is another Christmas staple I love, as well as The Year Without Santa Claus, and it's because of that, the belief. The magic. The wide-eyed-ness of childhood.

And then there are the flops. If you guys have been reading for a while, you know that my husband and I love Phineas and Ferb. More than any twenty-six-year-old, childless couple should. Because I mean, seriously. It's the best kid's show on TV.

But their Christmas episode? Holy cash cow. So depressing. If you haven't seen it, the basic premise is that, by accident, all of Danville shows up as "naughty" on Santa's list.

You remember in The Grinch, when all the Whos came together and sang, even after the old green meanie took away their things, and his heart grew three sizes? Well. In Phineas and Ferb, the opposite happens. They get on the radio and sing to Santa about how they all "thought they were good."

Sigh. I expected more, you know?

Okay, so, now that everyone's like, "Why is she talking about Christmas specials after bemoaning both Hollywood and the holiday?" I'll add that this won't be the most concise, point-driven post, or anything. I have five minutes before I need to be across the street at the theatre for our second-to-last performance, and I want to put this up before my blog goes another day untouched.

On a positive note, one of my favorite things to do, while I can, is to not do any shopping until the week before Christmas, with no definite plan of what to get. And tomorrow is that day! A weird Christmas tradition? Yes. But not quite as bad as, "Tomorrow I can say, 'Tomorrow's Christmas Eve!'"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

and then i quit the internet for some days.

A of all:
I won!
Which is totally old news, since it's been hanging out over there on the progress ticker for weeks now.
*takes down progress ticker*
Anyway, yay! And a slight bit of "good riddance," too.

I say "good riddance" because, well, my brain got fried. I proved, once and for all, that I can write 50k words of a sh**ty first draft in 30 days. Good for me. I don't think it was a complete waste of creative energy. I made a few good, strong discoveries and shaped a couple of exciting and compelling characters (a couple. meaning, like, TWO, of the 50-or-so that came into being. yeesh). But, ultimately? I blanked on how to write with intent.

Two weeks ago, I went back to my *real* WiP, and here's what I thought:
"Crap. This one has to make sense."

Thanks, NaNoBrain.

And then, in true Julie-fashion, I gave myself a little too much space. I haven't written anything, and I mean ANYTHING (note the almost-three-week blogger absence), since November 28. In my defense, I *have* been doing other things. The play, for one! Happy sigh. My current literary dry spell is nothing compared to my recently assuaged, theatrical dry spell (two and a half years = longest I've been not-on-stage since I was 12, for reals). So, at least I have that.

And then I quit the internet for some days.

And then my mother-in-law showed me this:
found somewhere in here!
Books. Christmas lights. Tea lamp.

And, for some reason, things changed. Yes. I can still do this.
I can write and act at the same time. I can be BOTH.
Duh. I even mentioned writing in my actor's bio.*

Why am I always the last one to figure this sort of thing out?

*No, seriously. I did. And now EVERYONE who comes to the play will know. The secret's finally out... (eek.)