Will Travel for Words: Staycation by Karen A. Chase
For the holidays this year I am like a dog; I’m being made to sit and stay. A combination of things including blowing the travel budget on a trip to Europe, being in between writing projects, and now an injured foot means I must stay home. No travel during this holiday season. No family. No new adventures. No new foods, experiences or sights. Bah humbug. Or is it?
Just because it appears to be sad, doesn’t mean I have to see it that way. After all, shifting perspective is what author’s do. In order to help readers feel compassion, I have to put my characters into situations they have not expected, and most likely will not enjoy. If I write their transitions well, readers will delight in watching the human spirit rise up out of those ash-filled circumstances to thrive.
Okay, that may be overstating what’s happening in my particular situation an itty-bitty bit, but if I have to stay put during the holidays, then my options are to wallow in the ashes, or relish in the warmth of staying near home. I will be doing the latter.
So my near-home adventure list leading up to 2014 includes attending the Richmond Symphony, partaking in my community’s holiday house tour so I can legally peer inside ten of my neighbor’s homes. With friends I’ll be listening to an old-fashioned big brass band at Colonial Williamsburg nearby, and there will undoubtedly be time to hunker down inside of books that I’ve had on my list for some time, like The Book Thief, which jumped to the top when the movie came out.
While my year-end plans may not be the big adventures my characters take, some stories are still tied up beautifully in last scenes or epilogues. You know those scenes… It’s when everyone has miraculously survived the holiday food fights, the gift-giving gone wrong, and family craziness, and at last they are gathered around the table allowing themselves to accept, happily, that this is life.
This is the epilogue to my year, too. I’ll be quietly reflecting on what I’ve learned about the publishing industry this year:
- Research includes traveling out into the world.
- Research must begin while writing.
- Editing is harder than writing.
- Patience is harder than editing.
- Self-publishing can also mean award-winning.
- Inspiring comments from readers mean more than awards.
- Readers are the reason for the writing.
So, with that in mind I bid fond farewell to 2013, and will see you here in January, dear readers… Travel safely. No… travel with adventure. And even if your vacation is a staycation like mine, find a great book. Climb inside. Within the pages, I promise, you shall travel for words.
A few of my favorite books I read this year for either my writing or for pleasure–new, old, fiction and non-fiction:
The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution by John A. Nagy
The Chef’s Apprentice by Elle Newmark
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised our Nation by Cokie Roberts
The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (her first)
Meditations of John Muir (Quotes from the man who helped save Yosemite) by Chris Highland
I hope you’ll also join me in a free six-part holiday story appearing on my blog right now through December 20th. It began with this post: WINTER’S EVE: THE FIRST GIFT
Karen A. Chase is a regular contributor to Shelf Pleasure, sharing journeys near and far in the pursuit of stories and novels in her monthly feature, Will Travel for Words. She is the author of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log, winner of seven Independent Book Publishing Awards for travel and design. She is currently working on an historical novel set during the American Revolution. Find Karen on Facebook, or on Twitter.
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