Welcome, Old Friends and New

December 1, 2014

holibadge-snowmanToday is the official start of Holidailies. I used the logo yesterday, because I was just so eager to leave my customary wobbly participation in NaBoPoMo behind and move on to the next big thing. Holidailies always delights, always motivates me, always gives me a reason to keep on keepin’ on.

I have participated in Holidailies since 2004, its second year. In those ten renditions, I have posted 238 essays (some of them re-postings of my “classic” pieces, in particular my Christmas Eve mediation on the 1953  Dragnet Christmas episode). I usually post every day, for a total of 30-some over the course of the project, although from 2010 through 2012 I offered only 41, only about half my usual production.

Today is my introduction to the project and to the community. In 2007, when I was in Wyoming at a writing residency, I wrote:

Holidailies began in 2000 when Jette, an Austin blogger, decided to write a post every day as a gift to her readers. I wasn’t one of Jette’s readers, but I did read someone who read Jette, and that’s how I heard about it. I don’t know when this became a group project, with a list of participants. In 2003 the official portal was created, but I missed the cutoff date for signing up. I finally became an official participant in 2004, so this, the eighth annual Holidailies, is my fourth.

Jette suggested that the first Holidailies post be an introduction. I looked back at my history with Holidailies and noticed that in 2004 I was coming off something of a slump year in my writing. I took Holidailies as an opportunity to start again. When I look at the work I did that December, I am tempted to say that Holidailies saved my journal. That collection is called The Soul Ajar, still online in the style of posting I used then. (The link takes you to the table of contents, and you can follow through December from the first piece.)

I’m coming off another “slump year” as this Holidailies begins.When I came back from my summer writing gallivants ready to begin again in the new academic year, I did a studied review of my writing life (and my life in general, or maybe they are the same thing) over the 2013-2014 year, and had to acknowledge that I had done virtually nothing except spin my wheels. I rededicated myself to my work, and then fell into the same pattern I always do: enthusiasm gives way to procrastination gives way to spinning my wheels over paved roads instead of blazing a trail across new terrain.  Then, a genuine depression began to grip me.

With a lot of help from a lot of people who must love me very much, I’ve been able to halt the downward spiral. I feel like two people at once — the one who is depressed, and acting out of that mindset, and the one who keeps watch, analyzing and correcting course. Positive self-talk is exhausting, I’ve learned, but if some days are still Less Than Zero, at least I can look at them honestly.

I’m regarding this early part of December the way I did when I was employed full time and had a school-age child to look after. In those days I taught lessons in American Literature and composition that had nothing to do with Christmas or my own inner life. Nevertheless, working in the margins of time in the early morning and the evening, I managed to mount a traditional Christmas with all the trimmings.

I’m back to work on fiction, toward a fellowship application deadline on December 15. Then it’s Christmas all the way. As I said before:

Jette started Holidailies as a way to give readers a gift of her prose. My readers are a gift to me. Thank you for being here, however you got here, and for however long you plan to stay. And thank you for reading, so much, so often.

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2 thoughts on “Welcome, Old Friends and New

  1. Holidailies was a group project as early as 2002, my first year participating. As you say, the portal we have now have didn’t happen until 2003; in 2002, kismet had a page on her site with a newspro.cgi function that we used to post our entry links. I’m pretty sure it was a group thing in 2001 as well; I didn’t have an online journal then but I sure read a lot of them. I’m so glad this project is still ongoing, even though I’ve pretty much been neglecting my own journal between Holidailies events.

  2. I’ve been participating in Holidailies for years (though my blog archives prior to 2012 are archived offline), but I’m not sure exactly how many years. I’ve never really bothered with an intro post because until the last couple of years my blog was full of ME. Now…I visit it, but I don’t feel like it’s my online home any more, and I kind of wish I still did.

    Happy Holidailies. I always enjoy reading your posts.

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