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Roll Out The Holly

upmarket suspense novel, upmarket suspense fiction, upmarket southern gothic suspense fiction, upmarket southern gothic suspense novel, christmas ornamentsTo write well, one has to bleed. I bled on Friday. While making my lunch, I cut my finger. And, writing a guest post for Tori Young’s blog, I cried.

Eyeball discharge counts as blood in the writing world.

I haven’t been giving my blog very much of myself lately. Long story, and long stories don’t get readers on blogs. Suffice it to say my best words have been going elsewhere, and I’m still not sure they’re very good.

I spent Friday night reading through my blog comments, and I was worn out by page 648 of 1,647. It was a good tired, though. Some of you have been reading and contributing here almost as long as I have.

You deserve better from me.

So, in the midst of killing some of my darlings in December, I’m going to undertake an ambitious series. Through my tears on Friday, I remembered things have stories, even if I don’t always know the words or comprehend the meaning.

When I first met MTM, he was a brainwashed modernist minimalist, meaning he had exactly three Christmas ornaments. Two of them were pathetic little lights he stuck to a battery and put in his window, and the other was a ceramic Santa figure from the Salvation Army. I still don’t know the story of the lights, but he got the Santa figure because he stood in the cold one holiday season and rang a bell.

Because I’m me, I brought enough ornaments to our marriage to write a blog post a day for the rest of my life. But, I’ll settle for a story a day in the month of December.

Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, things in your life have stories, reminders you kept to recall a fleeting look, a scent or a flame of feeling. May these stories dredge up some of your own. Please share them with me when they call.

Thank you for spending time here.

65 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sounds good, Andra…

    December 1, 2012
  2. I’ve cried more reading the Tiny Spark submissions in my inbox than I did during labor. It’s been a collective doozy, the best kind of crying. I’m really grateful that you’re part of it :)

    December 1, 2012
    • I’m looking forward to reading all of them. Thanks so much for including me.

      December 1, 2012
  3. tarakianwarrior #

    I feel blessed to have found your blog. I know when I come here my emotions are going to be jolted. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry. Memories are coaxed out of me. I can honestly say that every time I’ve come here I’ve been touched. Every time I’ve felt something. You have a gift. You caress and jolt my memories. What a great talent.

    December 1, 2012
    • Lori, it is always great to hear that my writing speaks to readers. These comments made my whole December. Thank you. xo

      December 1, 2012
  4. I loved it when you said “things in your life have stories”. Gosh, what a wonderful idea for some blog posts of my own. Thanks Andra….

    December 1, 2012
  5. I am a complete sucker for Christmas. Cannot wait for the first instalment.

    December 1, 2012
    • My favorite ornaments are the things that have nothing to do with Christmas but somehow ended up on the tree. :)

      December 1, 2012
  6. That sounds like a wonderful idea for a series. I look forward to reading it, Andra. :)

    December 1, 2012
  7. Alice #

    As someone who has always embraced the idea of “charged objects” – that is objects with a story that gives them value and significance I know I’m going to enjoy this series. I love your yearly Xmas explosion, so these will give me a taste of what I’m missing this year.

    December 1, 2012
    • It will still be up when you’re here in January. :) :) :)

      December 1, 2012
  8. I’m looking forward to an exciting month.

    December 1, 2012
  9. Looking forward to partaking of the stories that will come to life – now you’ve got me thinking on the stories from my things!

    December 1, 2012
    • I want to hear these stories as they come, Liz. I hope people will share them. That’s one of the great things about ornaments. They are individual, but the stories they bring are universal.

      December 1, 2012
  10. J #

    I have several special ornaments. One is a beauiful blown-glass ball given to me by my late friend Loraine. It receieves a place of honor near the top of the tree. Also a treasure is the “Our First Christmas” Lenox ornament from my first marriage. It too has a particular spot on the tree, but not one as treasured;. Finally, there is a paper oranment, sent to me by a dear friend who lost her young son the same year my first husband died It is tattered and torn but every year, it is hung on my tree to remind me that life does go on and things will get better. This will be a good series, Andra and I shall look forward to reading.jj

    December 1, 2012
    • It is like greeting old friends when opening these, isn’t it? The paper one is especially poignant, Jill, since you keep hanging it even though it is tattered. I bet it is still lovely.

      December 1, 2012
  11. We will convert him to Victorian over decoration if it kills me!

    I still say he needs a train set. What Christmas tree is complete without a train set?

    December 1, 2012
    • He’s been more excited this year than I have been.

      I’m sure you could loan us one of yours…….

      December 1, 2012
    • Ah, Carnell, what a wonderful idea! Every year my sister and I add another something (or two or three) to our combined Christmas treasures. This year’s acquisitions have been made, but now I’m thinking a train of some sort would be a terrific addition for next year. We reminisce a lot about the one our brothers (really our Dad :)) had circling the tree when we were young. And we’re certainly all about excess in this household!!

      December 1, 2012
      • What did you and Kim get this year, Karen?

        December 1, 2012
      • That would be excellent! And you can always add more cars or other accessories in subsequent years.

        December 3, 2012
  12. The Lovely Miss TK and I have a ton of ornaments that have special meaning to us, ranging from a “1st Christmas” to fun ornaments from places we have lived. We also get a Reed and Barton Silver Bell for every year since we have been together and that is a lot of bells decorating the stairs. We have San Fran Streetcar ornaments, Mickey and Minnie as well as a poor little angel atop the tree that long ago lost her ability to stand upright. Looking forward to the December stories.

    December 1, 2012
  13. Cool idea for December, Andra. Last year, I shared lots of our Christmas ornaments and their stories on SLTW. ‘Tis the season to be nostalgic. :D

    December 1, 2012
  14. No spot for a reply to your reply… :(

    We have a new building: “Harrington’s Clock Shop” (to go with the myriad clocks we collect :)), two new 2-ft. trees, a small sleigh, and another Santa for the collection Kim has had for many years. Decorating not quite complete, but photos will ultimately be shared. :)

    December 1, 2012
    • Looking forward to seeing them, Karen. Clocks are an interesting thing to collect. I’d love to hear them all playing together.

      December 2, 2012
  15. I will definitely enjoy this series, Andra. I love the stories behind all of my ornaments, although I doubt they’d be very interesting. I’m sure yours have more pizazz! I’m reeling at the number of pages you have of comments…how in the world do you ever keep up! You should get a prize!

    December 2, 2012
    • Debra, I would love to hear some of your ornament stories. Little bits of emotional connection are always interesting.

      December 2, 2012
  16. Sigh. We have enough ornaments to fill two trees and still some left over. Every year I say no more, and every year another one seems to come here to live. Tom, I might add, is almost as bad as I am.

    December 2, 2012
  17. I hope the blood and tears have been productive! And the history of ornaments is the best part, I think. I have none myself (don’t usually have a tree), but every one on the tree at home has its own story.

    December 4, 2012
    • The blood and tears were very productive. I get the manuscript back from readers any day now. One big re-write to address their issues with it, and it goes to my editor on Jan 15.

      December 4, 2012
  18. Felix and I were just finishing the trimming of the second tree and I found myself doing this very thing – telling him the storybehind many of the ornaments, or why they were somehow symbolic. I’m sure a lot of it went over his head, but it was a nice moment.

    December 6, 2012

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