Saturday, December 18, 2010

Milestones Holiday and Otherwise

Are you tired of my holiday postings yet? Do you feel snarly, thinking, well how lovely for her that she has time for all this holiday festivity?

Thankfully, I'm having a less hectic December than last year. It's still busy, but I've tried to be very careful with commitments.

Part of my marshalling of time and resources has to do with my December 31 deadline for Finishing Line Press--that's when I have to deliver a whole bundle of items: manuscript, bios long and short, mailing labels, author photos, cover art, blurbs, and electronic copies of everything but the mailing labels. Along the way, I've learned more aspects of Microsoft Office (not as easy to make labels as I anticipated) and how to have my printer make photos (blissfully easy).

And yesterday, I found out when the pre-publication sales begin: March 29! I had been fretful that the 6 week sales period might come at a bad time, but happily, March 29-May 11 will be just fine.

Finishing Line Press bases the press run on the pre-publication sales, which makes sense to me. Why print more books than you're going to sell? But of course, there's the pressure of having to generate sales. I'll strategize more about that as we get closer to the sales time.

But onward to the holiday milestones. Today is the anniversary of the premiere of The Nutcracker. You can read more about this ballet at The Writer's Almanac post for today, or if you'd rather listen, the NPR program On Point has a show that explores The Nutcracker.

I no longer see this ballet often, but as a child, it was an annual holiday tradition at our house. I feel a fondness for all of it. I remember one bleary-eyed December night when nothing much was on television, and I was too tired to do much more than stare blankly at the screen. As I flipped through the channels, I came across a televised version of the ballet, and I lingered, once again sucked into the world of sweets and fancy.

But maybe it's all too sweet for you. Maybe it's too secular. If so, you can celebrate the birthday of Charles Wesley, who wrote many of our best loved hymns (those few of us who still sing hymns), including "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." Again, I'll always love this hymn, but would I love it if I hadn't grown up singing it every year? Would I love The Nutcracker if it wasn't so woven into my childhood memories? Hard to say.

My childhood churches didn't sing "In the Bleak Midwinter" as often, but as a grown up, I almost prefer it. I like Christmas music that has a bit of melancholy, and this one fits that bill. Knowing that Christina Rossetti wrote the words makes it even more wonderful for me. She's one of my favorite 19th century poets. If I had to choose a favorite poem of all time, it might well be Rossetti's "Goblin Market."

So, here we are one week from Christmas, all of us with our crowded to-do lists, our life lived at a hectic pace. Today is a good day to slow down, to listen to our favorite music, to contemplate the end of the year, to think about what we hope for in 2012.


Dave said...

I didn't know that Christina
Rosetti wrote "In the Bleak Midwinter"! That's one of the few Cristmas songs I can still stand to listen to, along with "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (lyrics by Longfellow) and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (Hugh Martin).

Kathleen said...

"In the Bleak Midwinter" is one of my favorites, too.

And last night I was listening to The Lost Christmas Eve by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Now I keep seeing that house light up to one of its songs, that YouTube video going around now....

Best wishes with holidays and with FLP presale period.