Okay. Take a moment. Look to the list of books on the right side of this blog. There's one book with 6 Christmas stories in it. It's going to go on sale for 0 dollars in a couple of weeks. I'll let you know when.
The story behind the Christmas stories is that my wife asked me to write something for our neighbors a few years ago, something we could hand out as a gift. At the time I had this story percolating that incorporated memories from when my grandfather died in 1976. I was eleven years old. His death left an imprint on my life.
Anyways, I wrote the story, people liked it, and now I am writing a Christmas story every fall to give away to neighbors come Santa time. I've enjoyed the experience up to now. This year, anxiety is kind of getting the best of me.
I think I can say that, on the whole, I've one-upped myself each year. Some of my friends might argue. I have had some say that one year's was their favorite and then others that another year's was better, but purely from a storytelling standpoint, I think each year I have produced a better Christmas tale. I'd be interested if you can line up the stories correctly. They aren't arranged in the book in the same order I wrote them. Go ahead, when you get your free copy, send me a comment and tell me your guess as to 1 thru 6. (If you're reading this sometime in future and didn't get the chance to obtain your free copy I have a suggestion. Buy one. It's only five bucks.)
Like I said, this is where the anxiety sets in. How do you continually better yourself? Doesn't there have to be a point where you produce your ultimate effort and what you push out from then on is - well - it ain't that great? Certainly not better. And by better I'm talking noticeably better. I'm not talking Olympics better where a guy running the 100 meters eclipses the world record by .02 seconds. I'm sure that's impressive . . . to somebody, but if you need a computer to tell you that something you see or feel is better than something else you see or feel, that doesn't cut it for me.
So here I am this year, about three-quarters of the way through the latest Christmas story and I have the sneaking suspicion that it sucks. Which really, you know . . . sucks. I have been working on it for a month, which is a ridiculous amount of time to produce the first draft of a short story, but I am not going to give up. I've established an expectation among a whole host of people. Easily more than a dozen. And I think that baker's dozen of expectant readers might be disappointed this year.
The other thing I hate about this is that I am very much a one-project-at-a-time writer, so I can't start the next novel until I finish this short story. And I hate not being in the middle of a book. It's depressing.
Which gets me to what I really wanted to say in today's entry - Happy Holidays!