Monday, November 25, 2013

Pre-Christmas Rant

Who doesn't love Christmas, right? It's fun, there's music and presents and Christmas baking and you get to see all those loved folks you haven't seen in a dog's age, right? Yup, that's what I get told every year. And yet every year I have less and less of a desire to celebrate this nonsense holiday. Bah. Humbug.

Okay, so that last statement was a bit of a joke. It's not that I'm a scrooge, I swear. But every year seems to be getting worse. Walking through the grocery store trying to pick up the few items of food I need for the week while all along inane jingles piped through the speaker system on repeat. Or not realizing that it's Black Friday and having to stand in an insanely long line for a half hour just to get hubby's coffee before he comes home for the weekend. Did someone forget to tell these people that it's still November???!!

This all has to do with me. I can see that my need to be a speculative novelist no matter what comes is behind this Holiday Season ennui. It seems like a stretch but hear me out.

A while back, after a long time of cogs turning in my brain (sometimes it takes me a long time to come to conclusions about my life), I decided that if I really want to become a novelist -- and I do -- then I can't just be in. I have to be all in. I have to commit to it and to myself in a way that I never have before. And so I decided, with my RoboNomics manuscript as the object, that if I could not get a literary agent interested in it then I would publish the book myself. It had to be published.

I've done tons of research in regards to self-publishing ebooks. And from what I gather, self-publishing takes some cash layout on things like book covers, et cetera, if it's going to be done right. Call it a ROI system -- return on (initial) investment. So if it comes to that, I've been working away for the past few months on collecting a little nest egg: an investment in my future. Trying hard not to spend any more money than I absolutely have to.

So it's frustrating for me to go pick up necessities and see tons of people who presumably have much, much better paying day jobs than I do standing in line like so many cattle to the slaughter (though for them it is the slaughter of their bank accounts) in order to buy some ornaments for their lawn. Really? Do you seriously not have enough Christmas ornaments at home?

No doubt I'll buy a pack of Christmas cards to send to family and friends. I'll make up my little list of special friends and family members who I want to buy gifts for. But isn't Christmas supposed to be about sharing time off of work with loved ones? Since when is it about what your house looks like or mountains of crap no one needs? For me, this year and every year, I want to have a restrained Christmas. I don't want to go crazy buying stuff. I don't want to break the bank on stuff to keep the darkness away -- if you know I mean.

Again, it's a side effect of my growing ambition. When I see people in line buying tons of gifts or worse yet tons of decorations that in ten years they'll probably have long forgotten they even own, I see a sad cycle of consumption. Get a job you hate to pay for crap you don't need. Repeat. I think I'd just rather save what tiny bits of money I have so that I can carve out a path for a future vocation and use my free time on that avocation in the meantime.

It's the same lesson I've learnt while I work on my art. I don't need expensive paper, notebooks, or pens to create an amazing novel. Similarly, I don't need all those decorations and gifts to have an amazing time over the Christmas holidays. It's not the appearance that makes it great. It's what you do with what you already have! :)