Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Writing Reflection

As the year makes its way to the home stretch, I took some time to reflect on my writing habit. Or maybe I should say my lack of a writing habit.

I am almost to the end of a notebook, which has taken me much too long to fill. Running my fingers over the slight indentation of the ink on the pages, I reread some entries tonight. The poems, reflections, and memories came flooding back, and I realized how much I miss regular writing in my notebook. I have written a lot this year, but it has been more professional writing. But writing in a notebook is just...well it's just different.

I made a list of what kept me from writing this year. Three things bubbled up:  my phone, not creating a habit, and making excuses. These are three areas I intend to improve on in the coming year, and I know these will be the catalyst for my writing goals for 2024. 

My next decision:  Do I abandon a notebook that has taken too long to fill, or do I plug away and finish it before starting a new one in 2024. This is hard for me, as I am one who likes "fresh beginnings." 

What about you? Do you like new notebooks at the beginning of the year? Or are you a start-to-finish kind of notebooker?

Here's to writing in 2024! May my words return and find a home on the page.

 Thank you Two Writing Teachers for creating a space to share our stories.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Why I Refuse to Wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater


I wasn't always a teacher. In my first career, I was in retail management. I managed two mall stores and eventually became a district manager, overseeing 14 stores in central Illinois and eventually moving back home to the southwestern Indiana area. 

I loved my job, especially at Christmas time. Our "early-bird" hours started at 8:00, and I loved working that Friday after Thanksgiving with the all the hustle and bustle. 

It was during this time, the 1980s, that I fell in love with Christmas sweaters. Beautifully hand-knitted 100% cotton, button-down sweaters and vests with appliqued Santas and snowmen. These sweaters were an endearing symbol of holiday cheer. 

Then the 1990s hit, and these sweaters lost their appeal because only "old people" wore them. They were being tossed out to secondhand stores like sunflower seeds to birds. Somewhere in the 2000s, people began shopping in the secondhand stores, and these Christmas sweaters experienced a rebirth.

Only this time, it wasn't an endearing symbol of holiday cheer. It was a mockery of something I adored. We began seeing these sweaters worn at company Christmas parties and in the workplace. And yes, I still thought they were beautiful.

The appeal of Christmas sweaters has snowballed in recent years and the mockery has hit an all-time high. Now, manufactures are intentionally creating "ugly Christmas sweaters" in 100% itchy acrylic, and people of all ages are holding "Ugly Christmas Sweater" Days. 

Call me old or literally "old-fashioned," but I refused to participate in Ugly Christmas Sweater Days. I think back to those retail days when life and shopping and Christmas sweater designs were beautifully simple, and I just. Can't. Do. It!

 Thank you Two Writing Teachers for creating a space to share our stories.