Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Shopping

First off, thank you to everyone who gave me feedback on the question in my last post about whether or not I am required to give a present to my dad's girlfriend. A special thanks to my good friend Eliza who suggested I get a nice ornament for the tree at their house, that way I'm able to give them a gift without it going specificly to any of them. It will go to my dad & his new family.

And now, on to more about Christmas shopping. So far we have survived Black Friday & we've also survived the biggest internet shopping day of the year (Black Monday?). I mostly survived my staying indoors because my car is in the shop, honestly. But here's the thing: where is all this shopping getting us? Are we better people because we went out and spent hundreds of dollars on things?

I was thinking about this long before Hank Green (of Brotherhood 2.0) brought it up, but he makes a very good point. People don't want our stuff, they want our time. Your family does not love you for your income & the things you might buy for them with it. Neither do your friends. And if they do, well, I'm sorry, they're not really your friends. Call me a cynic if you will, but I don't like the idea of going out and buying gifts for people, I'd rather not give gifts. And here's the truth: most people don't want more stuff. They will have it out for awhile, put it in storage, or maybe they'll throw it away, unless they're nice and give it to Goodwill or Juvenile Diabetes or any other such charity. I'd much rather give my money to a charity instead, to the people who actually need it. Because, let's face it, my family does not need another anything that I would buy them. They would like it, yes, but they don't need it.

When did Christmas become so materialistic anyway? That's not the point of the holiday, no matter if you are Christian or not. I believe that Christmas is to celebrate Christ, but if you do not believe that, well, I'm still willing to bet that you think of Christmas as a holiday to be spent with your loved ones. Why does our environment pressure us so much to give gifts at the holidays? Why do we give into that? What's the point?

The only gift I know I'm giving this year is a CD to my friend Katie of me singing 15 of our favorite Christmas carols. It's something I make for her because I love her and it's something she wants. Plus, it doesn't take up an awful lot of space.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rejection Letters + Question

First off, I got past the query letter and they read over my short story, but in the end I received a rejection letter. I have to say though, I don't mind. I didn't really expect anything big my first try. But I did gain a lot from this. First off, I've already written my first query letter, so the fear factor is gone and I'll have a chance to make that better next time. Secondly, a publisher read my work, which is a lot farther than I'd gotten before. And thirdly, they gave me a lot of great feedback and ways to fix it up, which is what I've been looking for all along. No offense to my creative writing teacher, she helped me out tremendously, but she was always afraid of giving me criticism. She would always talk about what I did really well or the parts she liked, but she never once mentioned something she didn't like or how I could make it better. I actually like getting criticism, it's constructive. Plus, it takes an awful lot to get under my skin, so no one should fear hurting me by saying they didn't like something. I know my work is not perfect, and it's strange but, I like hearing that every now and again because it helps me see what parts need fixing and how I can fix them.

So yes, I was rejected. But I now have a tiny bit of experience, which is good.

Secondly, I need some feedback on something completely unrelated to my writing. Just let me know what you think.
My dad is currently living with his girlfriend & her 3 kids and they've been together a few months now. My question to you is: do my siblings & I have to buy Christmas presents for his girlfriend and/or her kids? I know we're getting presents that are from my dad and his girlfriend together, so does that obligate us to give them presents too?


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