A Merry-ish Christmas for 2013

Yep, that's my ugly mug on the job.
     Once again we've arrived at Christmas Day 2013.  Another decent year despite numerous life setbacks.  It's a time I like to equate with visiting family at gatherings I haven't been able to attend for years due to working in the medical field.  A time of reflection on the wonderful things we have, and that's not including material gifts.  It's about goodwill and common decency.
     And maybe watching movies like Scrooged, Gremlins, and A Christmas Story.  It's about enjoying the old Rankin-Bass claymation specials- Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  It's about being good for goodness' sake.  It's to be a child in heart, and an adult in deed.

     This year however, something was off.  No loss of family or anything  Nothing I could place a finger on.  Just an aura of stress.  Recently I've been having a ton of anxiety over the return to school- I finished a degree earlier this year and will be returning to further my education, but because of my specific circumstances, I'm needing appealing a bunch of things to make the transfer to another school feasible.  Unfortunately, it's a bad time for that, as everyone was preparing for the holidays.  Such being the case, all the classes I wanted to sign up for a month ago are now full, and the remaining class choices are slim indeed.
     All the stories I wanted to write, I never finished.  The comics and art I wished to make, also never completed.  There was always "work" to do, and excuses to be made.  This year I think I'm going to say screw it and follow my dreams of actually finishing my projects regardless of the endless obstacles.  Hell, I might even begin a Kickstarter Project so I can finish a book I started to write in high school about Mars.  At least it's a way to foster the creative drive I want to fulfill in a tough economic time.

     Then to add just a bit more to my plate, every year I try to make Christmas/Holiday cards entirely by hand.  (Here's a link to a some)  I personally prefer receiving things people make, don't get me wrong here, I'm highly appreciative of ANY gifts I receive, it's just that in these days I fully understand many others struggle to provide even small presents.  Even if it's a childish crayon picture I still enjoy them.

     This year however, I was way off my game, and despite having 50+ ideas, I just couldn't seem to get any of them to look right.  None of the watercolors looked OK.  None of the drawings or sketches worked how I wanted them to.  I even had a problem with a tube of oil paint somehow mixed in with all my gouaches- so when I went to use it, I ruined the picture.  Man, this year I feel like an absolute failure in the creativity area.  It's like all the talent and ability I had abandoned me for the holidays.  (The pic to the right is one of my work spaces and a load of supplies.)

     The only card I "finished" was a joke card.  I colored Gustave Dore's Nativity scene and made a joke comment about Jesus being clearly not Joseph's.

     So all I have thus far is a sketchbook of a hundred ideas, and a folder on my computer with 30 partially finished cards.  Last year I had a slew of Scratch-&-Sniff cards worked out with candy cane, gingerbread, and Christmas Tree scents, but the print shop screwed me on cost- so that was set aside, and this year I couldn't find a new printer.  This year I also had a couple lenticular cards based on ideas from 2007, but only recently found a print shop I can afford, so these will have to wait until next year as well.  Same goes with my "Elegant Snowflake" card, which is a watermarked snowflake design on a small card with only (Hold up to light.) showing in black ink, so when you hold it up, the card appears.

     Anyway, sorry to be a downer, I just wanted to share the fact I burned myself up completely this year- both artistically, and at the job, until I was dead tired.  I feel like I haven't done well enough for family and friends.  Today in particular I helped a lonely person feel welcome, made a patient with a nasty hip fracture laugh, promised another I wouldn't send them to nursing home for their present, and helped some visitors smuggle in a bunch of Christmas contraband.  Not much mind you, but it's the least I could do to spread at least a little bit of Christmas joy.  What I'm trying to get across here is that it just doesn't feel like I've done anything, like I haven't contributed properly, and want people to know I tried.

     Merry Christmas good readers.

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