Feliz Davidad

And so it was Christmas.

I have to say this weekend has been quite lovely thus far. I’m getting work on the book done, I am getting things done, and I am somehow remaining relatively relaxed and sane while I accomplish things, which has been quite nice. I am sleeping very well and sleeping in every day, which is going to require some adjustments when Monday rolls around again, sadly. I feel remarkably well-rested and refreshed this morning, which is also nice as I sip my coffee and think about what to have for breakfast; probably yogurt and fresh berries, before they go bad. I am going to make pulled turkey today for the holiday in the slow cooker, so dinner’s already sorted for me, which is also kind of nice. I am intending to clean out the refrigerator today as part of my chores for the day; Paul is going to work out with his trainer this morning and I am not sure what his plans for the rest of this holiday might be. I need to write a chapter of the book today, which shouldn’t be terribly hard–I’ve written some really dreadful chapters over the last few days–and should probably spend some time with Vivien Chien’s Death by Dumpling today; I had hoped to have it finished before today so I could spend the day with the most recent Donna Andrews novel; but I may just make that my New Year’s Day reading, to close out the holiday season (even though Carnival will be starting on Twelfth Night, which is even sooner than one might think).

I also found an essay I’d been looking for; I, like Paul, have an obsessive side to my personality that I try to combat and not give into when it takes hold of my brain; often to no avail, sadly: when my brain goes into obsessive mode, there’s really not much else I can do rather than either ride it out (not easy) or give in to it. This most recent obsessive conduct had to do with an essay I had written; the other day I remembered it and started looking for it, despite the fact that I couldn’t remember what the file was named. I had been asked to write a letter to myself at age sixteen the summer we went to Italy; I started writing it before we left for the trip but had never finished it. I eventually finished it, as I recalled vaguely the other day, on the trip to Venice from Florence; I wrote it on the train, saved the file, and hit send. I could not find it anywhere; and obsessed about it all day yesterday as I dug through electronic files (which are in much worse condition as far as organization than I even feared, which I will have to do something about at some point). After Paul got home, I talked to him about it and as I spoke to him it hit me: I had emailed the story in, maybe it was in my ancient sent email folder. And sure enough, there it was; and doing a second search by the title proved that it was saved nowhere in my files; I am not sure how that could have happened, but my biggest fear about my electronic files has now proven true: there are things that have disappeared from them over the years.

But this Christmas miracle is worth enjoying; a piece I’d feared had disappeared forever (the website where it was posted no longer exists; so much for the Internet is forever) has been retrieved, and it can be the opening piece in my collection of personal essays, should I ever decide how to do that and how to pull it all together.

If 2021 was the year of finishing things–Bury Me in Shadows and #shedeservedit having been in progress for years, even decades–I think that mentality needs to continue forward in 2022: finish things. I do want to finish the novellas, the short story collection, and potentially the essay collection; I also want to finish Chlorine, and possibly something else. I’ve also spent some time going over my blog from the earlier part of 2021, to try to remember things I watched and books I read; my memory is even faultier than I remembered it being in the first place. But it’s also kind of fun seeing what I was reading and watching earlier this year–the impact of HBO MAX’s It’s a Sin combined with my sixtieth birthday this year had me revisiting and thinking about the past a lot, for example, and forced me to process a lot of things I had never processed before, which may have had something to do with a lot of my own issues: never deal with it, just keep moving forward may not have been the most mentally healthy plan for me to get through my life, but it was also necessary for survival, and I will not/shall not judge my younger self for whatever coping mechanisms and skills I may have developed in order to get through everything I had to deal with in this my life.

And on that note, I think I am going to finish this, eat my breakfast, and head into the spice mines for a little visit. Have a lovely Christmas, Constant Reader, even if it’s just another Saturday to you.

Better Be Good to Me



Yesterday was actually a lot of fun; Erin Mitchell had tagged me on a Facebook thing where you have to post seven covers of favorite books without an explanation; just post the cover and that was it. Quite naturally, my first selection was Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann; and then as I started looking up covers (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier was the second) I started remembering other favorites from long ago; a lovely sort of triggering memories. Before I knew it I was up to twenty-one covers, and hadn’t even remotely begun to scratch the surface. But engaging with people on social media in such a positive way, about books we all read and loved and remembered so fondly, was one of the most positive experiences involving social media that I can remember having in a long time; social media has become so dank and dark and enraging; a stark reminder of the societal rifts and divisions in not just our country, but in the world. I think I am going to continue posting images of book covers that I love, because there are so many books that I love.

And isn’t doing something positive on social media for a change a really good thing?

I have always been an avid reader; as long as I can remember I was always reading something. Trying to pick influences when being interviewed is never an easy thing for me; everything I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way. Where did my love for history come from? I remember reading Genevieve Foster’s wonderful ‘horizontal history’ books for kids, like George Washington’s World and Abraham Lincoln’s World; but I had to be interested in history before that in order to have picked those up in the first place (they are, for the record, extraordinary books packed full of information and analysis; her explanation of how the marriage of Maximilian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy in 1476 was a direct cause of every major European war from that point on until 1914 was something that always has stuck with me; it was the marriage that created the enmity and rivalry between the French and the Germans, fighting over Flanders and Alsace-Lorraine for centuries, and often dragging the rest of Europe into the war with them); it was American history that interested me from the first, and then that extrapolated into British history, than European and to a lesser degree, world. But I was always fascinated by ancient history as well; Egypt and Greece and Rome. I don’t know how or where that came from; paging through encyclopedias, perhaps. I do know that I read every volume of the World Book Encyclopedia that my parents bought for my sister and I when we were very young, from cover to cover; and I always had a really good memory for things that interested me. Posting these book covers brought back so many memories…of all the times I retreated from a world I didn’t fit into on the back porch of our upstairs apartment in Chicago with a book; all the times I went into my bedroom in whatever house we were living with a book and shut the door, escaping into a different world.

I have been working on the introduction to my short story collection; debating whether or not to pull one of the stories or not (actually two; they are out for submission but one is nearing the one-year anniversary of its submission date, and the other was sent to the same market so….while it would totally suck to invalidate the submission by publishing them in my collection and then have them accepted; I am thinking it’s probably prudent to pull them and replace them with other stories, saving them for either Kindle singles or another collection at a later date, but that might mean delaying the collection, unless I can finish another two stories this weekend, which is always possible…see how that works?)

And on that note, back to the spice mines.