The Time of Year – by Karen Fainges

It’s the time of year when thoughts tend to turn to the important things of life. For some its family, for others faith, some the chance to relax and do something for themselves for a while. For most of us, it is some mixture of the three. For some of us though, the holiday season is not so happy. Too many people place unrealistic expectations on themselves and the goodwill and cheer is lost in self-recrimination and loneliness.


If there is one lesson my faith has taught me, it is that everyone has some reason for being on this planet. Some to care for others, some to be cared for, some to blaze trails and others to tidy up after. Everyone is important to the process of living and if we are not like the happy images of family on the TV, so what? All we need to do is find the reason we are here and go for it.


As writers, we often look at characters and go, do they really do anything for the story? Some bit parts wander in and say three word and wander off, leave us wondering if we shouldn’t give those words to someone else. Cut that character out and add a bit more to one of the others. Here’s a thought though, would we really be as affected by our hubbie saying we look good as by a complete stranger walking up and saying, “It is so nice to see someone look so happy, your smile is quite beautiful”? Probably not. Sometimes it needs to be said by someone else. This is true in life and writing.


Give yourself a Christmas present this year and find something real and nice to say to someone you barely know. I’m not saying stalk a stranger, just compliment the checkout girl or take the time to tell the doorman they are appreciated. It takes moments. You are never more than a bit part for them, but you might turn their whole day around. A little bit of happiness goes a long way. It sounds a bit Pollyanna but it really does work.


Smile, it makes them wonder what you’ve been up to.


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