Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today's inspiration: ebook reader, coffee cup and friendly reminders

Inspired reflecting on the last few weeks' preparation for the holidays, the celebrations and, of course, the gifts.

Preparing for the holidays are always accompanied by emotions: joy of anticipation, anxiety searching for the gifts, peace when the shopping is over and fun and laughter with family and friends.  I remember when I was a kid and opening gifts was the huge thrill of the season.  When my children were young, my thrill was to share in their excitement.  This year was quite different.  We have reached a point of equilibrium: my two teenagers were just as excited to see me open a couple of my gifts, as I was for them to open theirs.

 We laughed watching a recent episode of the Jimmy Fallon show when his guest, SNL's Seth Meyers, talked about his family stocking tradition - it was just like ours!  We start with the stockings - carefully wrapped tubes of toothpaste, floss, lipbalm and other essentials that will be needed in the coming year ensure that each stocking is full of expected treasures.   The kids wake first, of course, get the stockings from under the tree and bring them to my room so we can open them sitting on my bed.  Then we take turns in the living room opening gifts, reserving the special gifts for last.  They had one for me, that they wanted to leave for the end, I had one for the two of them that WAS going to be last - as the parent I can insist.

Their gift to me was the longed for Kobo ereader that I mentioned in an earlier post.  As it turns out, my kids couldn't wait for me to open it - so they could read from it!  I loaded a book on the Kobo and read it over a couple of days, but not on the Kobo - I used the Kobo computer application to read it on my Mac instead, since my kids took turns reading books on the ereader.  They love it!

Of course the first books I loaded onto it were my own - the four books in the Socialite series.  My son had been too busy with school and music to read the fourth book "Unless Rules" over the fall so he wanted to read it on the Kobo.  My daughter wanted to read "A star is found" by Hollywood casting directors Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins.   Both kids enjoyed the similarity of the reading experience to a real book and the bonus of instantly looking up words on the dictionary.

Unexpectedly, they were both anxious to see me open my gift at the large extended-family gift exchange on boxing day.  Months before boxing day, I email a single name (pseudo randomly chosen) to each person in the family so they only have to buy a gift for one of the forty or so people at the gathering.  This  ensures that everyone has one gift to open.  Usually it is a sweater, or a gift card.  My sister-in-law had my name.  The kids obviously knew what I was getting.  It was a coffee mug, with a logo of the DarkRoast coffee chain from my Socialite story.  The font of the text, and the colours match the cover of my first book, "Bees to Benny."  I was really surprised.  Readers who have read book 4 will understand the importance of DarkRoast to the whole Socialite story.  My sister-in-law read the books when they first came out and has been on my case to get busy writing the next series, Socialite 2.  After a gift like that, what more motivation could I need.

The best part of the holiday season was spending time with lots of people.  The last year spent writing four books and composing the accompanying music has been very isolating.  The holidays were a social time: they did feel like a holiday - even more so than my trip to Mexico in the summer.  That trip was great, but it wasn't very social.  Spending hours laughing and talking with family and friends was just what I needed before embarking on another year of reading (on my Kobo) and writing.

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