• Bryan Alaspa

A Writer's Life: When You Ain't Feelin' the Holidays


There was a time when the holidays were one of my favorite times of the year. As I got older, the brightness of the holidays dimmed. The anticipation about Christmas faded when the allure of Santa vanished. The fun came back for a while when my niece and nephew were born because it was fun to see it through their eyes. Now, even that's gone.


Last year, I lost my mom to dementia. My dad died from heart disease in 2018. My mom and dad were the ones who kept the holidays alive. Before that, the first real nail in the coffin of the holidays came when my grandmother died. Christmas was the holiday when we all got together with her, and things never quite materialized to fill the void when she passed.


As aunts and uncles watched their kids grow up and move out of state, suddenly the holidays did not happen right here. They would head out of town. My brother moved from state to state and lives on the other side of the country. Various circumstances have conspired so that seeing my brother, niece and nephew are less likely. With mom passing, well, the holidays are just sort of - meh.


I remember feeling this back when I tried NaNoWriMo. The result of that was the novel After the Snowfall, but the hard work during that month to get to 55,000 words in 22 days left me drained. I was unable to get engaged with Thanksgiving or Christmas. There is a similar feeling happening this year.


Being a writer who has to hold down a full time job while also trying to write my fiction makes for a tiring experience the older I get. What was once easy is now exhausting. The hour to hour-and-a-half drive into the office and back home every day is wearing me out this year. The fact it turned very cold around here much earlier than ever has made the whole Seasonal Affective Disorder thing a little more real earlier.


My wife and I are doing what we can to make the holidays our own, but it feels isolated. Halloween was fun, and the focus on that holiday I think is slowly becoming the major holiday I want to focus on once the end of the year arrives. I am sure once the lights are up, and the Thanksgiving dinner has digested some of the holiday spirit will arrive. It just doesn't feel the same and that makes me a little sad.


As for you, my dear listeners and readers, I hope the holidays are filling your hearts with happiness. I hope family and friends are coming together to celebrate with you and that you have the warmth and happiness that is supposed to come with the celebration. I wish you all the best, and thank you, from the very bottom of my heart for visiting my site, and for reading my books or listening to my podcasts.

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