Has there ever been a more perfect fairy tale in the world than Snow White?
I ask this seriously, but also with residual glee from getting to work with it while writing a short story. I love fairy tales in general – I love the power of the symbols they have embedded in them, I love the thousands-year old archetypes that drive the stories, I love the space they have between the words and the characters and their actions that lets the story breathe into a new and different being to each person that gets their hands on it.
I was too young for the original run of The X-Files, but I binge watched it as a teenager with my dad one summer after my mom had gone to bed at night. (Which suited her just fine.) It was a miraculous show that played with the question of truth versus fiction and madness versus reality, and I loved it for that. It made the fantastic plausible by fixing it in the ordinariness of real life – including but certainly not limited to: offices, bureaucracy, difficult family, friendship, and neighborhood associations.
Last year, I was told to look into something called mindfulness.
“Don’t scoff!” said my therapist. It was too late. Mindfulness was some new age mumbo jumbo, right?
I had the good sense not to say this out loud, but she anticipated it even as she gave me my homework to explore the concept on YouTube. “Just move on when you get the videos that are basically just breathing exercises,” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “The point for right now is the idea of it.”
[Spoilers ahead for Doctor Who’s “Twice Upon a Time”]
This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special was always going to be a regeneration episode, which I 100% didn’t mind. They’re inevitably at least a little maudlin, but the regeneration scene itself always such an intense distillation of character that it’s worth it. Here the Doctor is not only forced to confront his own mortality, but also the fact that he is in the middle of the unstoppable process of becoming someone new.
What a great motif to lead us into the stretch between Christmas and New Year’s as we’re all making resolutions to become someone new – and looking back at the newness our selves have gained over the last year.
So Star Wars is great and all, and I’m aware that you might be thinking I’m expecting more of Star Wars than Star Wars is prepared to be, but is anybody else decidedly unthrilled by what they’ve (left un)done with Leia’s character?
Don’t get me wrong. Leia is a gift. But they made a promise about her allll the way back in The Empire Strikes Back that they have yet to fulfill, and time is literally a-wasting.
If you’re not remembering that promise, here it is:
One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2017 was to actually finish the novel that all English majors have in progress somewhere on their computers. Mine has been on my computer in bits and pieces for a little over 5 years. My goal: reach a make-or-break point where I would either a) let it go along with my English major dreams of novelhood, or b) actually commit to making it happen.
And so I decided to actually do NaNoWriMo for real this year, and got my wordcount up to about 30,000 – about 20K short of a “win” – but still significantly more output than I’m used to generating in a month.
Here are the lessons I learned that you didn’t ask me to share with you (but I am anyway, you’re welcome):
If you’re looking at the Church year as a cycle where months correspond to hours, we are literally at the eleventh hour. We’re one day after All Saints Day, commemorating the souls of the dead on a day of Church-wide mourning. We’re two and a half weeks before the last Sunday of the Church year, which celebrates the culmination of everything: the eventual victorious afterlife post-judgment day. And – importantly – we’re still three and a half weeks from resetting the Church year with Advent on December 3, and finally being allowed to turn our minds to babies and gifts and happy things we understand.