Calendars

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All month long I’m going to be hosting the posts of other people as part of my 2015 Giftmas Blog Tour. All the guest bloggers are welcome to write about anything they’d like so long as their post touched on a December holiday in some way, no matter how tangentially. The blog tour extends beyond my blog as well, and I will do my best to link to each external post from the here and share them on social media using the hashtag #GiftmasTour.

But wait! There’s more!

We’re also giving away a whole whack of prizes (check out the list here) which you can enter to win using the Rafflecoper code below. Whatever December holiday you celebrate (or don’t) winning a stack of books will make it better!

Calendars
by M Pepper Langlinais

I love calendars. I don’t know why, exactly, except that they bring an element of art into a room while at the same time are not stagnant. When you hang a calendar, you get a picture for a month, and then it changes. For someone like me who is easily bored (I change my hair color frequently), calendars are like a changing art installation. I’m sure a therapist would say something about “lack of commitment” but whatever.

The down side of calendars is you seldom need more than one or two. So each year I must pick from all the wonderful options. The one we keep in the kitchen has certain requirements—it must have enough space for me to write all the family appointments on. The one I hang in my office, however, need only look nice since it hangs right in my line of sight. Because my office is called Little London and is London themed, I usually pick a London or UK calendar of some kind. But remember how I said I get bored easily? While I really liked one of the London calendars I found, I instead felt drawn to the Kinuko Craft Women of Myth & Magic calendar this year.

On top of the two wall calendars, I keep one on my desk as well. It’s more of a date book, and I do get the same one each year: Llewellyn’s Daily Planetary Guide. In it, I write down any significant events that occur. Each year my date book becomes a record of all the good and bad news I’ve received. I’m not sure why I feel compelled to do this, except my logical brain wants to be able to tally whether there was more good than bad in any given year. Was it a “good” year or a “bad” one?

But the truth is I’m very aware that calendars are arbitrary ways of tracking time. Here we are, all looking forward to a new year. We talk about fresh starts, and we enjoy the feeling of freedom a supposed clean slate brings us. But it is incredibly arbitrary. One could wake up on any given day and decide to start over. A person could be sitting at his desk, or on her couch, and think, “I’m done with this. I’m changing things. Right. Now.” And then two minutes later, after eating all the ice cream in the house, they could do it again. (I’m not speaking from experience, I swear.)

And so there’s something about the mass mentality of New Year’s that bothers me. As if people think they only have one shot at turning their lives around. As if, should the year begin badly, they will be stuck in an annus horribilus with no way to change or fix it until another new year.

I’ll admit, though, I do all the superstitious stuff. We open all the doors at midnight. I eat black-eyed peas and greens. I don’t do laundry or take out the trash. I don’t eat chicken, either. And I try to wear new(ish) clothes. Of course I know it’s all silly. Part of it is just plain fun, but part of it is that I grew up steeped in Southern lore, and I can’t quite shake it.

That said, I don’t make resolutions. I set goals. And then work toward achieving them.

And if a goal hasn’t been met by the end of the year? Is it all over but the crying? No. As I hang my new calendars, I roll my goals over and/or adjust as needed. The end of a year isn’t the end of everything that came before. It’s a continuation. Our choices are to continue the way we’ve been going or to change direction. And we don’t need calendars or new years for that. We just need to make up our minds.

Maybe that’s what I love about calendars. They show movement, progress. They promise change if we want it and stability if that is what we seek. Mostly, they remind us we are not stuck.

About the Author:

Best known for her Sherlock Holmes stories, M Pepper Langlinais is also a produced playwright and screenwriter. She holds a degree in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, where she interned on film sets and participated in the Shakespeare at Winedale program. She also earned a Master of Arts in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College. M now lives in Livermore, California. Learn more about her and her work at http://pepperwords.com. Find her books at http://www.amazon.com/M-Pepper-Langlinais/e/B008FBOSPE/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1. And join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mpepperlanglinais.

You can also enter to win a couple of M’s books (among others) below!

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4 thoughts on “Calendars

  1. I have a love-hate relationship with calendars with regard to using them for writing progress, specifically. I love when I see steady writing progress toward whatever writing goal I’ve set for myself (e.g., write something every day). But unfortunately, while I thrive off the emotional boost I get when I see that progress, I’ve been unable to properly prepare myself (to date) with the opposite effect: the massive disheartening feeling I get when life gets in the way and I see consecutive days of not meeting my goal, just staring me in the face. And God forbid I see weeks accumulate! Ugh. I’m still trying to learn to balance my expectations and set reasonable goals so that I can effectively use a writing calendar as a useful tool rather than just tick-marks on a prison wall.

    • I totally get this. Totally. It feels like once I lose that ‘streak’ it really sucks away all my momentum which may be why I’m good at using calendars for short term things (like writing every day for a month) but not so much for longer stuff (writing every day for a year).

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