I hope the last week has been peaceful and that you got through New Year’s Eve and Day safely and happily. I have to admit, as much as I love Christmas, I don’t like New Year’s. New Year’s Eve is always heavy with expectation and often fraught with disappointment. Plans don’t work out quite the way we want them to, parties aren’t as much fun as we hope. We don’t have the right date or the right dress or the right plan. And although New Year’s Day is supposed to be a fresh beginning and the start of a whole New Year and clean slate, it’s often also a reminder of what didn’t work out last year. It’s just not a holiday I love!!! Having said that, my New Year’s Eve was surprisingly nice this year. For several years now, I have been alone on New Year’s eve, my kids have left after Christmas by then, so to avoid being sad and missing them too much (after the joys of a full house over Christmas!!), I start a new book every year when they leave, around December 27th—-and by New Year’s eve, I’m deep in the book and forget everything else. This year, one my daughters decided at the last minute to stay until New Year’s Day. She cooked all day on New Year’s Eve, set a beautiful table, with decorations, and provided a really festive happy New Year’s Eve for me, one of my sons and his fiancée, and another friend, and we had a really great time together, unexpectedly, on the spur of the moment. It was the best New Year’s Eve I’ve had in years. None of us had high expectations or elaborate plans, and we had a great time together!!!
I was mulling over what to write about today, in the blog, and read a reader’s comment to the last blog, about a minor family argument that turned into a big fight during holiday cookie baking and spoiled everything. And I thought I’d write about that. I’m an only child, so I’ve never had the problems or the blessings of siblings, and my family was tiny (just my father and I, while I grew up). In contrast, with nine children, I’ve been blessed with a big family and have had a front row seat to the closeness of siblings, what a joy it can be, and what a challenge at times. I do find that in big families, kids seem to get along better than in small ones, because it’s such a big group that there are always other options if they’re not getting along with someone. It’s kind of a moveable feast!!!
Families are a work in progress. They move, they change, they shift, like the sea or the tides, or the shells on the beach. We’re a close knit family, and are all very close, and spend holidays together, and I think we get along surprisingly well, but in any family, storms can come up, and blow over, or hang around for a while. Someone can make a careless comment and upset someone else without even intending to, or people dig their heels in and disagree over something trivial. I think it happens in all families. There are a lot of personalities involved, spouses and in laws, or siblings, and things get bumpy for a while. What I do find though is that as fast as something can come up and turn into a storm, it can calm down just as fast and hours or days later, it just doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. I think ALL families go through it, just like no marriage is without the occasional argument. It’s just the nature of humans, and life. And hopefully, love carries the day in the end, and we all forgive each other. So I hope that the cookie baking argument was or will be short lived, and has been forgotten by now.
Families have a life force of their own. And the things that drive us nuts at one moment, seem silly a short while later. (And too much alcohol sometimes consumed during the holidays can turn small fights into big ones too)
But a little rain falls in the life of every family. And I envy my children the fact that they have siblings. It looks like having a best friend, only better!!!
I hope your new year is starting out peacefully, and that the holidays were happy. But if your holidays were a little stormy, I hope the storms clear up soon, and everything will be happy again!!!
My new book, Moral Compass, is coming out tomorrow, on Tuesday. I’m REALLY excited about it, and I hope you love it!! I worked really hard to get it right. It’s about how an act committed by high school seniors can escalate into a life changing event and touch everyone around them, parents, teachers, students, friends, even police and a judge. I think it deals with an important subject, and I really hope you enjoy it and it’s meaningful to you too!!! And I’m hard at work on new books at the moment. I’m working on a new book, and an outline!! That will keep me out of mischief for a while!!!
Be well and happy, and I hope that everything is smooth around you!!! Have a great week!!
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Hi Danielle. As an aspiring author myself and someone who, in complete honesty, had never heard of you until recently, I just wanted to reach out and tell you… I was searching for new books to read on iBooks last night when I saw the cover for your new novel. As the cover intrigued me, I decided to read the synopsis. And by time I was halfway through, the strangest thing happened… I realized I had the exact same idea as your story, which I’ve been working on for the past year and a half. So much of your novel’s premise was the same as mine — a formerly all-boys elite private school goes co-ed, chaos ensues between the mixed sexes, and a girl ends up dead. I felt shocked and, frankly, angry at this revelation — a story I had poured hours into, characters I had developed so well it felt like they were sitting in the room with me as I typed… all seemed to fall away, as your story became realer than mine. I haven’t read your story, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll be able to bring myself to do so, as it devastates me it was able to be finished and reach publication faster than my own… I don’t know why I am telling you this. I know there is nothing to be done, no real way to prove to you this is true, and no way to make you care… I do not look for or invite pity. I don’t expect much, or anything, from you, not even a response. I’m not writing this in anger… just disappointment. I guess I didn’t know who better to share this with than the woman with whom I shared an entire story concept. While the events, characters, and setting within our stories may be different, I’d like to think this is a small example of the common thread between all writers, the difficult challenge of concocting an entirely original idea. I’ll keep writing my stories, and you’ll keep writing yours, and we will forever have in common both a passion and a concept.
Thank you for this blog’s message of hope! I love it that you can lose yourself in your writing. One of my favorite of your heroines (Deanna Duras in Summer’s End) loses herself in her painting. I’ve never felt that way about anything. I play the piano, but it’s not all-consuming the way your writing and Deanna’s painting are.
I just finished A Moral Compass, and I want to debate it with someone. There are so many points of view: parents, students, victims, administrators, the justice system. It raised so many questions in my mind: how to be a good parent, what is morality, when to be silent and when to speak up….
HCB, you’d never heard of Danielle Steel???? Really? I think you should publish your book also; the theme is broad enough and important enough that several novels could be written on it.
My book club is reading Moral Compass this month. Where can I find discussion questions for this book?