Oh, Come Ye Holidays of Wintertide

From fifty-thousand words, to holiday cheer, there's a lot to catch up on here!

Oh, Come Ye Holidays of Wintertide


My first big news of the week is… I finished NaNoWriMo! I hit 50,064 words in 30 days, which is not a shabby amount, considering that the work on my novel was only part of the writing I did in November. I estimate my total word count for November to be closer to 100k if I were to add everything up.

Did you read my post about the process of writing? Basically, I’m a discovery writer, in part because I started out as a writer by joining the NaNoWriMo challenge.

But that means I’m great at slamming out an interesting premise. The beginning of a story is not hard for me at all. It’s turning that beginning into a middle and an end that are difficult.

So, while 50k seems neat (and is an accomplishment I’m proud of), the real work ahead of me is sitting back and plotting. I need to go into my novel and organize the sucker.

I came up with some good ideas this month, fleshed out some characters more, and I can sort of glimpse the path forward. But, it’s a path that needs to be cleared before I can walk it.

I’ve taken a few days to focus on other projects, as well as to try to “relax”, but I intend to spend part of next week doing the plotting work. That will entail index cards (probably virtual ones) and a lot of time spent staring at my computer screen.

Publishing news

Two of my microfiction pieces were picked up by BirdHouse, a new magazine specializing in offbeat work. I am so excited to see my work live in this wonderful non-profit magazine. Enjoy the full magazine in online format here.

If you want a copy in print, you can buy those for $11 here!


I’ve been having a great time writing short microfiction pieces. For those just joining me, I’ve been using them as both a form of daily practice, and as "prompts” for other writers.

I decided this week to lend myself a slightly wider margin for these pieces. Keeping them to 125 words means they’re still solidly micro, but allows me to tell some more complex stories. Since these are all largely unedited and off-the-cuff, the extra room to play is something I’m also looking forward to. Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually up the count again!

  • Forests and Fields Robin Redbreast dove at Grausaw, the great general of the cat colonials.
  • The Ghost Kill Neither man sees the bullets that take their lives
  • Runner, Where Will You Go? “But how will you know when you’re safe?” (This little gem was solicited for inclusion in a Medium publication! I’m pleased to see my work getting sent out to thousands of new readers).
  • Take With You What You Will “Are you being paid to attend, too?” she said with a little laugh.

I only got to four of these pieces this week! Whoops!


I’ve been breaking into writing political copy, which is a very different format than I’m used to, but also a lot of fun to take on. I could absolutely see this becoming part of my career. I keep joking that one of these days I’ll find myself running for office… (do I like being stressed out?). These two articles are political pieces I wrote for the 501c(4) organization EveryLibrary, and I’m hopeful that I’ll be sending out more in the future!

This what book banners don't want us to know

You have the power to stop book-ban campaigns of hate and division in their tracks.

They Defunded ANOTHER Library Thanks to "Conservative Values"

Library Executive Director Penny Talbert says cutting funding would end 30 years of support from the community of about 4,200 people. Last year, Akron provided $20,000 to the library, about $5 per resident.

What’s been happening in life?

I’ve begun studying for my MLIS. I like to have a handle on things early, so I’ve purchased or borrowed the books I need to get started. The first semester (by the school’s design) is ten units of introductory work in the field. I expect to be very busy, but not exactly blown over by excitement at the material.

There’s also a lot of other nonsense to clear out of the way, such as getting grants set up. I’ll likely have to scale back my other writing this month to get that stuff in order. Moreover, despite this being an entirely online program, I’m going to need to fulfill several health tests? Which seems weird, but whatever.

I am excited about the program, and very much looking forward to the possibility of actually having some sort of job before long.

Otherwise, I continue to work on some good habits. Daily practices in mindfulness, daily walking, and a small daily exercise challenge. It’s not much, but I have lost a few pounds in the last month, so that’s nice.

My advice? Aim to accomplish a bit of work every day. If you challenge yourself to tackle your goal a little each day, and respect the year or two it will take to achieve everything you want, anything is possible.

I feel like the way out is through. It’s all about taking life one day at a time.

The World Wide Web

The Enterprise is in orbit. Captain Jellico addresses Riker "Will, I was thinking about issuing an order to have Christmas trees set up all over the ship. It might spruce the place up a bit. A Santa hat appears out of nowhere on Jellico's head and he happily jaunts away

First off, something from one of my favorite meme-comics, Star Trek: Jellico. After all, the holiday season is here!

The rest of the Internet trundles along as usual.

Twitter continues to falter, while the Mastodon network has surged to more than 8 million users in the last month. This is a delightful blow to capitalism, but, more important, it’s a chance to see if we can’t create an Internet that really works for everyone.

I did an email interview with Noam Chomsky during my undergrad, and one of the questions I asked him was if he thought that the Internet could still be subversive. He didn’t. Too much corporate power, and too much prying from government agencies. I understand that sentiment, but I’ve got to believe in some sort of hope for the future. I’d like to think that a free and federated Internet could be part of a really cool social change. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

One neat example of this (that also connects to my interest in library studies), is how Ukrainian librarians have fought to keep their libraries open, and their cultural heritage intact, despite concentrated acts of destruction by Putin’s military. The spirit of Ukraine is inspiring, to say the least.

May be a cartoon of text that says "THE GOOD FILMS Of 'ou. course I'll hurt Of Û Il hurt course you' Of course we will hurt each other But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk ofabsence."
I love the Little Prince. Source

I wrote an article, years ago, about The Little Prince. It’s one of my favorite classic tales. I haven’t actually watched this animated version of it, but I love the artwork style.

Following in the themes of the profound, I encountered this amazing animated video created around one of Francis Ford Coppola’s interviews.

And, finally, if you want something extremely fun… here’s a literature clock. Every minute of the day, there’s a different quote from a different literary work referencing that specific hour and minute. It’s really quite brilliant.

More from my life!

This really was a great week. Katie and I had a wonderful time making our home bright and cheerful for the holidays. This year, we’re not planning on buying many gifts, since we’re trying to save money and because there’s something delightful in making gifts for one another.

We did, however, purchase two new board games: the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, and the Civilization board game.

I am very excited to play those, and can’t wait to peer-pressure our friends into playing them as well. To that end, we’re hoping to set up a board-game and Yule cookie exchange day sometime this month!

On Saturday, we had a wonderful day exploring a local town on foot. Walking through the rain-drizzled streets allowed us to experience the world in a way I feel is impossible if you live your life driving around in a car. We happened upon a special event on film history at a tiny museum and (being an ardent film-lover) I had to pull us in. The people running it were so sweet, and there was free popcorn. It’s so important to take time to really experience the world around you. You never know what magic moments you might find.

An old-school film projector!

We’ve also been talking about which holidays we want to celebrate throughout the year. As non-religious people, we also both believe in the intrinsic importance of ritual to mark the turning of the year, and we aim to bring more celebrations into our lives. We even intend to do a video about this at some point.

Oh, and by the way: Katie is creating some fun short videos that you should check out, especially if you love humor and sandwiches.

Otherwise, there’s a busy week ahead, but I’m dearly hoping to make some time each day to just relax and let my inner kid have fun. Particularly with this replay of Mass Effect that I’ve started.

My latest take on Commander Shepherd. <3

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition came out last year and I never got to play it, and it’s been such a treat to reenter what is easily one of my top-ten science fiction universes.

Wrapping up this newsletter… here are some pictures from my week! First, these pinecones I collected and attached to pine-tree twigs were a special gift for Katie.

This time of year, buying flowers for the home is very expensive, but these flowers were free, and create a special type of seasonal delight. Watch them open in the warm home air!

These pinecone flowers look incredible in the red vase my uncle Erik Halvorson created.

I love sunsets this time of year…

I hope that everyone has had a good weekend, and that your week ahead is filled with gentle and pleasant surprises, joy, and good food. Remember to go easy, and if you can’t go easy, then go as easy as you can.

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