How are you? You might be a better judge of that than I am. Everybody told me that the holidays were going to suck for me this year, but I believe that was a bit dramatic. The worst time was the weekend before Thanksgiving, which was when Dad’s birthday would have been. The week before Christmas was also hard. But the holidays themselves were ok. In fact, I think it was helpful to have an opportunity to step out of the normal routine and spend time with family and friends. No, it wasn’t as good, between missing Dad and COVID restrictions, but the best was made of it.
I think the greatest thing I got from this holiday season is the realization that my grief doesn’t compromise me, it’s actually given me greater awareness and perspective. I find I’m getting along with people easier, and communicating better. Plus, it’s really not that abnormal, as we all go through it multiple times in our lives. Really, it’s a reminder that I’m just as human as everybody else. Of course the grief does hit me, but I face it as it comes, and this new perspective is providing comfort at a time when people think I should be a hot mess.
But yes, I do miss the “what’s up?” I used to get before Dad got sick in May. Perhaps that will return someday.
Where do you get your writing ideas from? Literally everywhere. All of life contributes, from my personal experiences and people I know, to stories people tell me, to what I read and watch on TV and movies, to the news, to dreams – honestly, it’s impossible to discern what combination of factors go into any book or story I write. I can tell you what was happening in my life at the time that I wrote each piece that was an influencing factor, but I can’t tell you what specific combinations came together to create the plot, setting, and characters that make up each story. And really, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how these books and stories speak to each reader, where they’re at, and what they can gain from it.
Bonus answer: I'm also often asked "how does one go about self publishing?" from people interested in becoming writers themselves. I've posted a free ebook titled So You Want to Be a Writer at Smashwords, and an article on Ezine Articles titled "How to Self Publish and Promote an Ebook" that gives you all the basic information you need to embark on the adventure of becoming an Independent Author.
What’s up with the birds? My Granddaddy loved birds. He set up feeders in his backyard, and we’d sit in the den and watch the birds a lot when I was a kid. Then I did some “bird sitting” for some family friends who had a parakeet, and fell in love. Birds are just so happy and full of joy, spunk, and feistiness! Plus, they’re smart. It’s good to have “anipals” you can talk to (whether it’s good for them to talk back depends on what they say!).
What kind of gun should I get? This question comes to me from time to time from women who have gone through a life transition, or have had a scary personal experience where they feel they need to be more proactive about protecting themselves. Honestly, it's best to go to a firing range and pose this question to the good folks working there. Guns/firearms are not a casual interest. If you’re going to buy one, you need to be committed to learning all you can about how it works, and how to operate and store it safely. Try firing various guns to see what you like and what you handle best. And while it’s an investment of time, I’d also suggest getting a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) as well. That will give you the education and confidence you need to have and handle a firearm properly.
So Merry Christmas all! I hope this final gift of Christmas is an interesting close to an interesting year. You all stay safe, take care, and have a Happy New Year.