I ended my year with a big realization. I seriously need to switch gears. And it started with this...
We had a lovely Christmas Eve day, with perfect weather, strolling Old Town Albuquerque. It's been many years--probably more than a decade--since we took the time to visit the plaza during the holidays, and the last time was in sub-freezing temperatures, so we especially appreciated the warmth and sunshine this year. We didn't even need the light jackets we wore!
We had a delicious New Mexican meal and relished the ambiance at High Noon--a local landmark restaurant where the building dates to 1785 and is uniquely Spanish colonial--strolled the quaint streets of Old Town and enjoyed perusing the rich offerings of jewelry, pottery and art.
The atmosphere was bright and festive. Luminarias lined the streets, the stucco shops were adorned with evergreen wreaths, garlands and chile ristras, the aroma of burning juniper was in the air, and the huge Old Town Christmas Tree towered over the square. We were fortune to miss the big crowds, because we left just as it was turning twilight--when the largest number of visitors start to arrive for luminaria tours, the procession or posadas, and other events.
Let me share a few photos.
The plaza has an interesting way of dressing up their pots and planters
for the winter. I think the color is provided by pansies, cold-loving ivy,
and various types of kale. Whatever the botanical components,
they were gorgeous.
Our late lunch at a landmark--the High Noon Restaurant
--and delicious plates of blue corn chicken enchiladas. Yum!
There was even a crackling fire in the kiva fireplace.
Some of the pottery offerings. The large elk pot was done by
Acoma Pueblo artists. The brown egg-shaped pot with the
sun symbol is Navajo and was fired with pine resin.
Blue is the traditional color for doors here, and that dates back
centuries. Some believe the unique color keeps out evil spirits.
Others claimthe blue doors had Middle Eastern influence
or that they symbolize the Pueblos sacred color for the
Southwest. This blog provides many insights into "Taos Doors"
along with some beautiful photographs, many from Taos, NM.
The gazebo on the plaza where mariachi bands,
dance troupes or singers will sometimes perform.
A giant prickly pear cactus in front of one of the shops.
The famous San Felipe de Neri Church (above) on the plaza
and our new ornament to commemorate Christmas Eve 2017.
Luminarias lining the streets and walks. These were a bright shade
of blue that added color even before they were all lit for the evening.
(Also known as farolitos in some areas where luminaria = bonfire.)
...and back home to the ranch.
After our wonderful day, I started to ponder why we'd waited so many years to enjoy the very things that drew us to New Mexico in the first place. Are we so preoccupied with our "busy-ness" that we no longer remember how rich and lush and colorful life can be?
And that got me thinking about my writing.
Truth is, the last two years have been a whirlwind of deadlines, timelines, marketing plans and promotional pushes, and while it was great experience and the end result was truly worth achieving--a USA TODAY bestsellers title--it also resulted in my only producing two novelettes and had an overall detrimental effect on my enjoyment of writing as a whole.
Like our revisit of Old Town, it seemed I'd been so preoccupied with the "busy-ness" of selling that I no longer enjoyed how rich and lush and colorful the act of writing itself can be. Had I lost the passion to write? I feared my honest answer to that question might be "yes." At least it would be if I continued down the same joy-killing path.
So I've decided to dedicate 2018 to getting back in touch with the reasons why I love writing to begin with. I'd already made a goal to kick out more titles for 2018, but now I've adjusted that goal. Now I want to completely enjoy crafting new titles, no matter the number or how many I sell.
And I realized to do that, I need to curtail all the promotion and marketing and truly focus on what I love best--the enjoyable art of writing stories.
In other words, I need to downshift out of this high gear where it's starting to feel like all I'm doing is spinning my wheels...and let those creative tires find some traction again.
Because I never want writing to evolve into a joyless, tedious job; I want it always to be a marvelous adventure.
Hope you had a great start to your New Year. Have a great week.