Sunday, 21 December 2008

Nobody Freak Out, But . . .

I actually worked on my book today.

Scary. I know.

Sorry to shock you so.

But one day, in the next two years, when an agent signs me and my manuscript is sold, you can say that you knew me when . . .

Back to writing now. Characters are talking. Gotta listen.

Sunday, December 21, 2008 8:20 p.m.

The Sunday before Christ-mas. You may wonder why I hyphenate Christ-mas. If you're a believer, you know why. If you're not. . .  why do you celebrate?

What does Christmas mean to you? There are many meanings that people attribute to Christmas, and there are many reasons to celebrate, according to the world-at-large.

But here's what the deal is people: Christ-mas might be a symbolic holiday for the celebration of the birth of Christ.

I am a believer in the teachings of Christ. I believe he is all about unconditional love, about being bummed by the sin, but forgiving of the sinner.

Let's look at the meaning of unconditional love.

LOVE WITHOUT CONDITIONS; LOVE REGARDLESS OF______________ (fill the blank with your own no-way-item).


So, no more 'if you love me you will or won't'...

No more 'I'd love you if you were or weren't'...

Love everyone. Even if you don't know them. Love doesn't have to be some over-the-top freak-fest either. There are all sorts of love - and when I use it here, I mean friend-love or family-love. Let's not start some weird kissing-random-romance-love-thing. That's just too weird.

Just assume the best about someone before (and if) they will prove you wrong. Don't see the bad in a person based only on appearance, skin colour, shoe choice, job choice; whatever idiotic prejudice you use. See the good. Choose your battles in life based on this rule - NO conditions. You'll be amazed how it will change your life.

I Don't mean to be preachy, just know what I'm talking about.

So no judgement. It's not your job.

Everyone is your friend, regardless demographic what-EVER. We're all just people.

As Avril Lavigne sings, "How does it feel to be you, are you different from me, are we the same? How does it feel?"

Anyway - practice the art of unconditional love this season and every day thereafter. I am absolutely convinced that if we could all do that - there would be no such thing as war, hunger, or homelessness. Poverty, crime and abuse would be non-existent.

Quite a concept, right?

Okay, I know I'm being sappy. Maybe it's Wynonna singing on an episode of Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. David Beckham was on, and I'm just all mushy with unconditional love for him. . . .ahem.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

How to Avoid Being Eaten by the Holiday Greed Monsters

So the season is upon us. White and crisp and Decembery, Christmas is only a few weeks away.

Suddenly, I hate going to the grocery store, the mall, or any other place that is stacked with consumers who are head deep in gifts for their loved ones, their credit card balances growing while their bank account is shrinking.

This is the most wonderful time of the year? Really?

What is it about the holiday season that sends most of us into a shopping tizzy? Why do we go crazy like this every single year? Stressing over who to buy for, what to buy, how much to spend and will they even like it? Should I get gift receipts with everything?

Gift receipts. It’s a cop-out. Getting a gift receipt with a present is like an admittance of guilt from the gift giver. A gift receipt says I-really-didn’t-know-what-you-wanted-and-I-know-you’ll-hate-this-so-here’s-the-receipt-you’re-going-to-ask-for-anyway-to-go-buy-what-you-really-wanted.

And the people that it’s hard to shop for? How many headaches do we need to ‘prove’ our love or kinship by buying as many gifts as our pocketbooks can possibly handle? And really, how do you know that your gifts are re-gift proof?

Here’s what I think.

The holiday season started in order to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Christ was born in a stable. Every one should get hay for Christmas to remember that.

Three kings came to visit the newborn babe. And sure, they brought gifts fit for a king, but still, Jesus was a newborn. If we’re going to remember the reason for the season, everyone should get diapers, wipes and a couple of baby bottles, wrapped in smelly barn hay or something.

The kings each brought ONE gift. Just one. So Jesus received three presents in total. Four if you count the little drummer boy’s ode to the newborn King.

So let me ask you this. If Jesus only got three presents, and it’s His birthday, what on earth makes any of us think we deserve more than that? In fact, what makes us think we deserve anything at all?

How about if we all trim back this year? Let’s not go into massive debt to please those we love with material shows of affection. Let me ask you this. What present do you like better, the one you expect, or the one that someone brought you because they thought of you, and there’s no special day to mark the gift?


Three presents. Start a trend. Crash the economy. Teach your children, your teenagers. It’s not about the amount, or the value of the gift. Demands are out this Christmas. Tantrums and gift receipts, OUT.

This year, let’s only buy 3 gifts – and when you’re looked at with eyes of suspicion, eyes of disbelief that the present pile isn’t higher, ask yourself and the person looking at you with expectant eyes what they want, what they’re waiting for.

Chances are, they’ll say nothing. I mean really, who will admit they are waiting for more presents? And if they do ask?

Blame it on me. Tell them some silly writer said that nobody should get more than three presents because that’s all Jesus got.

Yeah, let them argue with that.

Merry shopping everyone. Here’s to crashing the economy even more  (but at least it will be our fault this time) and making a new meaning for the holidays and Christmas season.

Peace, joy and unconditional love.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Facebook – The Ultimate Connector

I’ve written about Facebook before. How it’s a great way to decipher every degree of separation from Kevin Bacon.

And now? I am just about stupefied silent (right) by the people that are reappearing in my life through Facebook. I feel I must tell everyone that Facebook is more than a teenager’s what-are-you-doing-right-now kind of site.

With Facebook, you can reconnect with family, friends and your school mates. Good Lord, you could probably find Jimmy Hoffa on Facebook!

I graduated from high school in 1983. There are a few people that I still communicate with regularly, but let’s face it. That was 25 years ago. Gulp.

People that were important to me back in those days haven’t been on my mind for many years. Except for the three or four that I still talk to – high school has been a very distant memory.

Then one day I log on to Facebook. And there it is, staring me in the face. A friend suggestion from someone in California. Gilbert Daudistel. Eighth grade. Whoa.

I added Gilbert as my friend. Haven’t talked to him, thought of him or anything since we threw our caps in the air at graduation in 1983. I remember his Davy Jones haircut and his mouth full of metal.

With a quick catch-up email through Facebook (exactly how do you catch up on 25 years in a ‘quick’ email?), I learn he is now the father of three or four dozen boys, has a gorgeous wife and has done some serious military service. He is also apparently fluent in Russian.

What happened to the awkward Gilbert that blushed all the time?

And that’s how it began. Now, more than 20 of us from our drama club in high school have reconnected. Even our beloved drama teacher, Kathy Juarez, has reconnected with all of us. It’s plain crazy, people!

Their pictures all look the same. Nobody seems to have changed much. Some have come out of the closet, some have married and divorced more than once, some are still chasing big dreams, and some have made their dreams come true. It also seems that every darn one of us is still involved in creative arts in one way or another. Dance studio owners, screenplay writers, column writers, novelists, actors, teachers. . . it’s just been a really cool experience.

I feel just a little bit younger, and the world feels a little bit smaller.

Until I see pictures of all those children that my school mates have spawned. Many are in high school, some even in university now. The littlest children belong to those friends that seemed to take their time to continue their DNA line. I feel my youngest when I see those toddler aged children standing against the legs of my school chums. Then I feel like the clock is ticking properly, that time isn’t spinning too fast.

I wonder if, 25 years from now, we’ll all be too old to type our status changes on Facebook? Will we go from a status of ‘Joyce is getting ready to party the weekend away’ to ‘Joyce is currently napping away her golden years’?

Will I be Facebook friends with the great-grandchildren of my high-school mates? Will Facebook take place of actual reunions now that we’ve virtually connected?

Really, even if I were never able to ‘see’ these friends again, it might be okay. Without Facebook, who knows when I would have connected with these people again?