I used to love to sing. That sounds funny. "Used to..." I still enjoy it, but not to the extent to which I once did. It started back in 6th grade. I started getting wrapped up in theatre, and as much as I wanted to be on the stage, I knew I wasn't wired for it. So I took to the backstage side of things, and loved it!
But there was still this little part of me that wanted to stand out.
I auditioned for choir in high school, and I'm glad I did! I learned so much in those four years. Breathing techniques, sight reading, music theory, harmonization... All wonderful lessons I would apply to my later years of performance.
My career--at least what I thought was going to be my career--kept me backstage. I majored in stage management, although I did sing and act a little in college to help friends with various projects. I even became a professional singer at one point. Professional in the sense that I was paid for showing up every night to lead a sing-along during the intermission of a melodrama.
I knew I wasn't American Idol quality. I would never light up the stage on America's Got Talent and bring the nation to tears with an amazing vocal performance. But I had the guts to stand up on a stage and open my mouth. And when we moved to a little community on the eastern plains of Colorado, I did just that. I shared my talent with as many people as I could. I loved it!
But when the time there came to an end, I kind of felt like my singing "career" had come to an end. My creative path was now focused on writing. And I felt good about it. The little scared high school freshman who wanted so badly to sing had done it! I had conquered that part of my life, and I could let it go.
It's been seven months or so since I last sang in public. I don't really miss it. Until I hear O Holy Night on the radio. I have a killer version that I loved to belt out! But when I do sing, I can tell my pipes are out of shape. I've realized that those five years I spent concentrating on singing helped me to get my throat and vocal chords where they needed to be in order to function properly and produce a clean sound.
And as I got to thinking about this, I realized that it's much the same with writing. This is why writers are encouraged to write every day! It's not just to get words down on the page. It's to exercise that muscle and keep sharp. If you let it go, you have to take that extra time to build back up all that you had accomplished. I noticed this in myself during NaNoWriMo. I have to keep my writing muscle in shape!
So perhaps success in writing comes down to discipline. Perhaps it's just dumb luck. But a little exercise never hurt anyone. Right?
You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Today, we were going to take the kids to our downtown museum for a holiday celebration. They've been out of school for two snow days, and with the weekend, they've got a touch of cabin fever. But as we got out, the roads were in poor condition, so we decided to do our grocery shopping at Walmart instead.
Walmart. 18 days before Christmas. On a Saturday. Not smart.
Yes, it was crowded. People were constantly in the way. I felt in the way. We navigated packed aisles and crowded pathways. And you know what I noticed? NO ONE was enjoying themselves. No one was filled with holiday cheer. No one greeted each other or smiled or even acknowledged each other.
What's happened to us?
We listen to all those happy Christmas songs and reminisce about Christmases past. In the bustle and the shopping and the craziness, we've lost the heart of Christmas. We've forgotten the magic.
How do we get it back?
I challenge you to make eye contact with people while you're out. Smile. Say, "Merry Christmas." Embrace the joy and spread it. Reach out, even if people don't respond. And don't lose sight of what Christmas is truly about. If you don't know, hearken back to a true classic.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3