Auntie Scrooge’s Unsolicited Advice for the Holidays

Now that the competitive shopping marathon has begun and social events designed to crush the soul are in full swing, I’ve grumbled my way through a mall, a holiday party or three, and the receipt of numerous greeting cards with pets and coordinated outfits, and sometimes pets in coordinated outfits. I’m in the mood for unsolicited advice-giving. You’re welcome – in advance of the overwhelming gratitude you will surely feel. Let’s get the respective holiday greetings out of the way. Merry Happy Holiday Christmas, Hanukkah,  Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Ōmisoka (大晦日), Three Kings… Read More

An Introvert Walks into a Conference…

I’m in a hotel room in downtown Minneapolis, wrung out and exhausted from smiling and talking about my novel with other writers. My hobnobbing and pitching at a writer’s conference garnered two requests for pages from lit agents. I’ve already called and texted friends and family to squee about it. But as usual, the exhilaration has melted away into the realization that I will have to work harder than I ever have at digging in and writing. I do not spend a long time in joyland. The water’s too warm. The woman… Read More

Premature Glee at the Holidays Almost Being Over

This morning I was wrapping the last few Christmas gifts and humming carols. It’s the happiest I’ve felt in about three weeks. Last night was my in-law Christmas event. Tonight we have a small eve dinner with my mother-in-law and then, on Christmas day, my husband, daughter and I spend the whole day padding about in our jammies. And then, the day after, everything gets cleaned up and put away. Holiday boxes get lugged up to the garage rafters. Nobody will attempt to foist their tarted-up joy on me. I don’t have… Read More

Surviving the Holidays: An Introvert’s Guide

It happened in rapid succession. The emails landed with a resounding thud on my psyche today. “Hello Everyone, We’re thinking that for Thanksgiving…” and “I know it’s early, but we’d like to coordinate the family Christmas…” I am an introvert. I find human contact only manageable in small doses, before I need to run away to a dark hidey-hole to process the interaction. Extended family celebrations, with the enforced captivity, doubly so. If you’ve been reading this blog over the last few weeks, you know I’ve been finding my middle-aged spine. It’s… Read More

Radio Silence

A fog enveloped me in the last week and like most dense, inexplicable fogs, I find my way out of it by writing. Of late, there has been much lauding of the introvert. I have read Susan Cain’s Quiet and while the studies she cited were interesting, the clear agenda was to battle the predominate value of extroversion in our society. I am an introvert who can function as an extrovert when needed. But there is a dark side. In the last week, I’ve been at events, on phone calls, in meetings… Read More

The Perfect Choice

I can hear the cracks in the wall before the tidal wave lays me low. They sneak up on me – the whispers of shoulda, woulda, coulda. I am paralyzed by my imperfect perfectionism. Before I can rally, I need a breather. I watch a movie, flip through a magazine or read a book – media filled with perfect people, perfect writing, perfect pictures of a well-adjusted life. I’d love to say I feel so self-confident that these images and words don’t push me farther under the bus of self-loathing. But it’s… Read More

Ordinary, Extraordinary People

She was optimistic, energetic, earnest and animated. Decision time. Do I say something funny, but sarcastic and possibly mean? Later, as I listened to her art presentation to a class of engaged elementary kids, something in me shifted slightly. My envy and inferiority and smugness dissipated and in its place, distilled and unfamiliar, was admiration. She was extraordinary and I had something to learn. It is a hard won battle with myself, to see outwardly optimistic people without the lens of cynicism. Something sadistic in me wants to cut them down to… Read More