Archives for December 2014

Rethinking Holiday Expectations

We decided to come back to Portland, Oregon to spend Christmas Holidays with our dear family. The trip was arduous, to say the least, especially since United Airlines changed our itinerary at the last minute without notifying us. This made for a lot of stress as we hustled to get to Mexico City in time to make a much earlier flight than anticipated. Flying during the holiday season can be harrowing. We knew that ahead of time, but it was the unexpected things like earlier departure time, change in itinerary, flying to Portland via SF instead of via Houston, late connecting flight and finally luggage not arriving with us, that threw us off the most. 

All this plus our family’s unanticipated changes of plans made us re-think the value of not being too tied to any one outcome, especially during holidays.  Probably more than any other time, the Christmas season seems to bring along with it an undue amount of stress, from worries over what he or she may want most as a gift to what are we going to prepare for the big holiday meal that will please everyone. Tensions abound, and possibilities for misunderstandings as well. I remember something Leo Buscaglia once said in his book Living, Loving and Laughing and I paraphrase: be careful about expectations. When one expects a certain outcome,he or she is laying the groundwork for disappointment, whereas if we don’t have any pre-conceived notions about what is going to happen, all will be a surprise and maybe a pleasant one!  

So, in closing, I just want to say what a delight that we have a dear family to visit, a home in two places, Oregon and Mexico, wonderful friends in both places, and plenty to eat! More than many in the world. This is a time to count our blessings, not expect more than we already have and to dream of Peace on Earth, as impossible as that sometimes seems. May all our friends and family have an “Unexpectedly” Merry Christmas!!! and—if all goes well, a Happy and Healthy New Year!! We’re expecting little and looking forward to many surprises! 

Writing Workshops Can Help

After years of attending writers workshops, being part of a writers group and taking part in Writers Conferences, I was beginning to feel “enough is enough” but “slogging away” on my new novel, I realised I still have so much to learn and when the opportunity presented itself to study with a successful writer, Signe Hammer, who lives half the year here in San Miguel de Allende as I do, I signed up. 

Our first session of three was yesterday, and I must say it was an interesting experience, with six other aspiring writers, mostly writing memoirs, but one fiction. Signe was a good guide and kept things rolling quickly but with enough time for individual contributions regarding each piece submitted by the participants. We also did a warm-up writing exercise with a prompt from Signe, which helped break the ice and gave us each a chance to warm up! I must add, warming up is also meant to be literal these days as San Miguel temperatures have dropped to the low forties, unusual this early in the winter.  B-r-r-r-r. Those of us who have portable gas heaters in our casas all have them cranked up now.  Luckily, I have one in my writing room and really enjoy the cozy environment in which I put pen to paper. Now, I’m knee deep in early re-writes on some of the scenes in my novel and look forward to the next session with Signe. Writing is a craft and like with any craft one must practice and practice. It’s fun and always stimulating.