Find Your Joy

I wake to a knock at my door.

“Hello? Who is it?” I ask, donning my slippers.

“It’s December.”

Shocked, I stop my hand just before reaching the door handle. “No. That’s not possible. You’re much too early.”

“I’m sorry, sir. It’s right here in black and white,” December says. “Well, mostly white.”

— — —

That’s pretty much how the last few weeks has gone for me. Between starting a new job, finishing my latest book, and my youngest daughter going through her senior year of high school, I haven’t had time to turn around, much less pay much attention to the calendar. Where did the year go?

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A sampling from last year’s Festival of Trees. Photo courtesy of the Festival and KCTR radio.

I am excited, however, for the beginning of December, because that means the annual Writers’ Roundup is here! It’s a book fair held every year in conjunction with an event called the Festival of Trees here in my home town. Different groups get together and decorate Christmas trees, which are then admired and voted on by the public. The trees are then auctioned off for charity. Children’s groups come in to sing and dance on a stage while their proud parents and relatives watch and a wealth of vendors offer craft items and food of all sorts. In the middle of all that chaos, a bunch of introverted local authors gather to show off their creations, old and new.

I love it!

This will be my fourth year and I look forward to the event more each time. Yes, I’ll probably sell a handful of books, which is always a bonus, but the real reason I anticipate it so much is the opportunity to interact with both readers and other authors — some of whom I only see this one time a year. It’s always interesting to hear what projects everyone is working on and where life has taken them since we last spoke.

The absolute best part though, is seeing the eyes of a young reader light up when they see my books there on the table. Stories of dragons and magic and time travel and space await them inside — things I craved myself as a youngster — and to see that thirst for adventure reflected in the faces of others brings joy to my heart.

Writing is a solitary, sometimes thankless, exercise, in and of itself. I do enjoy the craft of it and have a tremendous sense of accomplishment when I finish a story, but the real joy comes in knowing my efforts will allow someone else to escape their troubles, even for a short time, and revel in a bit of fun and adventure.

This time of year, with Thanksgiving just past and Christmas upcoming, lends itself to reflection and reassessment. Take a moment to ask yourself, “What brings me joy?” Maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s working with others, maybe it’s something else entirely — whatever it is, find it. Embrace it. Make time to include it in your life. Because no one should ever live a life without a little joy.

Now, I need to go bundle up and deal with more of December’s white on my driveway.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

13 thoughts on “Find Your Joy

  1. I love this! It’s where adults lose the magic sometimes, hurrying along. If we’re going to write for tweens, we need to experience the “now” and the magic of such times. We think a lot. We need to *feel*.

  2. Yo, Alan, we’ve already got the cool, white stuff on our driveways and trees. We’re buckling up for a long, cold winter seeing as the lake is frozen already. Yikes and brrr! What a lovely tradition you’ve started with other author peeps. Hope you have fun and enjoy your family and friends over the holidays! Stay safe and hope you score lots of writerly gifts! Hugs!

  3. I do enjoy the solitary aspect of writing, but getting together with other like brains is so much fun, too. Working to establish a writers’ group at our library as we speak. Have a wonderful Roundup, Alan!

  4. Thanks so much for the welcome reminder to find joy in life, Alan. It can so easily get buried under the long ‘to do’ list at this time of year.

  5. This year was a challenging year for me in many ways. Welcome, December! Roll on, 2014! What brings me joy? Interacting with other MG writers and reading their blogs. *grin*

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