I decided not to torment myself by making any New Year's Resolutions. Why set myself up to fail? Eh? The pressure, the expectation that everything will change, honestly, can't be bothered with all that. It's too hard and too disappointing when I fail. But, before you fling your hands up in horror, it's good. Really, it is.
New year, as champagne corks pop and truckles of cheese are eaten in industrial strength quantities, isn't a great time to make major decisions. In my opinion. A year lasts...well, a year... and that intital new year buzz can't possibly last - just ask everyone who's bought an expensive gym membership only to abandon it by March. Not in my experience. Not when the weather remains dim and dismal and all the twinkly lights and decorations have been taken down leaving many sad and depressed in a grey world. But it is a good time to refocus, which is what I decided to do. Yes, refocussing is different from a resolution. Really, it is.
It's a bit odd for me, actually, the Christmas holidays and new year season. Coming from South Africa where the school year starts at the same time as the new year, it's taken a while to get used to the Christmas holidays not being the major event of the year. In SA, the country shuts down over the festive season, schools and universities close for the long Summer holidays and everyone relaxes in the sunshine, happy to risk third degree burns on the beach. In the UK the new school year begins in September. Christmas, with all it's twinkling and sparkling and over indulgence, is more 'festive', for me anyway, but the holiday doesn't last very long before everyone heads back to work and life continues as before.
As a writer I'm always 'at work' and it's hard to step away from the keyboard over this period. This year I made a concerted effort, but the voices in my head don't go away simply because boxes of chocolates the size of a small circus tent and tins of biscuits large enough to feed a starving village in Africa are thrust under my nose every time I leave the house. It's good to celebrate, but the excesses and amount of money spent on presents and food baffles me. It's one day in the year. One day. And yet we hear tales of mothers spending thousands of pounds on presents for their children, as if going in to debt is more important than a child knowing they're loved every day of the year. Where does the pressure come from, I wonder? Who exactly was it that decided hundreds of presents are needed and neccessary for a child to be happy and that not providing them is a sure sign of poor parenting?
When I was a child we received a stocking with a few cheap nicknacks, and one present from each member of the family. Nowadays it seems to me that children receive so many presents they don't know what to do with them, and many end up under the bed or wallowing in mud at the bottom of the garden. Does getting piles of often useless presents make a child feel more loved? What exactly would happen if they didn't get every expensive gift they demanded? It seems to me that the entire reason behind the season has been lost in consumerism.
And let's not even talk about the family arguments and fights that erupt during this time, many of them lasting the whole year, only fading after many many months. Just in time for next Christmas where old grievances can once again be dug up and family traumas can be revisited. I sound like Scrooge. I'm not, I love Christmas. But don't get me started on how, two days after New Year's Day I went in to Tesco and found mountains of Easter eggs on display. Seriously?
I hope 2017 will deliver happiness and good health to all of you. I have a new book featuring pool noodles coming out soon and am continuing to pursue Stephen Spielberg and Disney and Pixar (any of these will do, I'm not fussy) in the hope that they'll turn one of my books into a blockbuster movie. A girl can dream can't she? So, enjoy the last of the mince pies and Christmas pudding, and the inevitable turkey sandwiches/soup/stew/pate, which will hopefully see you through to the end of February at least and enjoy the year, whatever it holds.
Oh, before I forget, Blue Dust Forbidden is now FREE on Kindle until the 12 Jan. I know! Free, especially for you. Why not pick up a copy and once you've read it, leave a review?
Destiny will be FREE from 13-17 Jan
Insurrection will be FREE from 17-21
Drippy Face will be FREE from 15-19 Jan
When Killers Cry will be FREE from 22-26 Jan