- We mend fences with offended family members, if for no other reason than to try to keep the peace at holiday gatherings.
- We writers try to write that closing scene to the novel that has been percolating on the back burner all year long... or maybe in worse cases, the opening scene.
- We try to make last-ditch efforts to fulfill those promises we made that ended with, "...before the end of the year, I promise!"
- The very young often frantically try to make up for all the naughtiness of the year in order to escape a gift of coal in the stocking.
- We look into the closet to see what we can re-gift this year, thereby de-cluttering.
For me, it's often a time to stop and look back at the past year and sigh. "Regrets, I've had a few... but then again, too few to mention." Frank, thanks for that line. Regrets are not necessarily the nasty thing that many people seem to think. A powerful regret can give the impetus to do things differently next time, to turn things around, or simply to change an attitude.
Here are some regrets I have, that I'm using as fuel to power up some changes:
- I regret waiting so long to put my publishing company's books into ebook format. Ebook sales have been too good to have let it go that long! (The Gift of Murder in Kindle format moved to Amazon sales ranking of 648 this week!)
- Along with that, I regret not having a part of my publishing company devoted strictly to ebooks, so that is changing as of the first of the year.
- I regret putting everything else in the world in front of my own writing. My early resolution is to devote time every week to my own creative efforts, not just publishing and promoting the books of other authors.
- I regret not entering my work into more writing competitions, so today I sent off two pieces to writing contests. We'll see what happens. As the old saw goes, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
- I regret not spending more time with my two granddaughters, so I'm going to work on remedying that.
- I regret that we have not gotten as much done on the building of our new home as we wanted, so I (and my wife) simply need to focus on that a little more.
What regret do you have, if any, and what are you going to do to keep from having the same regret next year? Tell us about it!
Protecting ourselves from ourselves: This past week I saw a cartoon where a guy had just finished typing up an email to the editor of a newspaper, but his computer wouldn't let him send it. Reason? It had Spiel Check. I laughed my butt off at that, but then thought about it seriously. I wonder how many times I... you... other folks, too, have written an email in haste and anger and sent it off without taking time for a cooldown period. Man, I know I did when email was a fairly new thing for me. Maybe we all need a Spiel Check on our computer, similar to Gmail's feature called Mail Goggles, introduced in late 2008. Spiel Check could detect words like "idiot," "jerk," "slimeball," and various other words that are spicier and even more insulting, initiating a ten-minute delay before the program would send the email. Programmers, take note!
Homebuilding: As stated before, Dear Wife and I are building a home on property across the road from where we now live. We are literally building it ourselves, putting up walls, pouring concrete, etc. We stopped buying premixed concrete in sacks (too expensive) and mix our concrete from the bulk ingredients. The other day Lara, aka Dear Wife, was mixing a batch of concrete while I did plumbing work, and she screamed. There was something wiggling around in the concrete. It seems that a hapless toad had taken up residence in the sand pile, and was inadvertently shoveled into the mixer. He took a few turns around the motorized cement mixer before she saw him and we mercifully rescued the toad. He seemed a bit dizzy but none the worse for wear. Two days later another toad did not fare as well. Now, she sifts the sand into the mixer instead of dumping it haphazardly. (All you crime authors out there, here's an idea for you: find a body in the sand pile or gravel pit of a construction company. Or better yet, find it after the concrete has set up, because of a body part visible from the edge of the poured concrete.)