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A word on the December Blues

Updated on December 16, 2014

This joyful month is filled with the holidays spirit, caroling, the buying and giving of presents, the excitement of reunion with family and friends, and those dreaded extra pounds that come from all the holiday goodies and egg eggnog. But this month also brings the "December Blues" known by many artists. December is the last month of the year. There is not enough time to finish all the unfinished projects that we promised ourselves or others to finish. As a result, everything that we didn't accomplish this year comes as a reminder to many of us of wasted time and opportunities. This is why December makes artists (and perhaps even people) come down with a serious case of the blues. For some, December is a bitter-sweet season. If you feel identified with any of this, you might ask yourself, how do we fight against this holiday depression? Well, I suggest the following:

How about the witting of a very short story? How about the publication of one very short story? Writing while having a case of December Blues is hard, and putting your work out there is even harder. So there is no better way to fight this than accomplishing something challenging and treating yourself to a holiday treat afterwards. If you are willing to take the challenge with me and are out of ideas, I offer the following prompt:

For this particular exercise, you are to write nonstop for 30 minutes, or until you have written 500 words. In this time, write a story about a world where your favorite holiday doesn't exist. It can be possible that this holiday has been erased from history and your characters are rediscovering it. How do they find about this missing holiday? What happened in your story that made this holiday disappear? How do your character's feel about this forgotten celebration? When you are done, edit your story and publish it somewhere. Feel accomplished and treat yourself!

I'll follow my own advice and publish this very, very short story that I wrote in the spirit of the season. I hope you enjoy the text as much as I enjoyed writing it. Let's not be too afraid of publishing our work out there, and remember that it is never too late to finish a project. You can submit your work at pages like Scribophile (http://www.scribophile.com/), Scholastic (http://teacher.scholastic.com/writeit/fiction/revise/), and if you are feeling more adventurous, try for magazines like 1000Wrods Magazine.

Happy writing!

By Manuel Martinez
By Manuel Martinez
By Manuel Martinez
By Manuel Martinez

Troopers

It all started last year, when I met with an old friend in a cafeteria near my home. I saw her waiting for a coffee and I wonder if she'd recognized me, after ten years.

We sat down and as if no time had passed, we clicked right away. We started to catch up and we found out that neither of us had stayed on the old job that we shared ten years ago. We met while working on the same battalion. Our unit started doing a bit of everything, but in the end, we stayed as pilots. We crossed the heavens together and gain our medals for courage and skill.

That time catching up, we talked about the good times we had in the force. Sure it had its downsides like every branch of the military, but when two old friends stop to chat, everything seems brighter. We spent hours talking about those good times, and eventually we remembered the bad ones as well. That time when things went south I saw her leave the force, and after twenty eight years as a pilot, I left too. I had the intention of never flying again, but when we plan something, it never happens as we set our minds to it.

By Manuel Martinez
By Manuel Martinez

Some months passed and once more I rode the heavens above, not as a pilot, but as an investigator in a search party headed to some godforsaken place. I felt it again. The excitement and jitters, the smell of fuel in the air, the sensation of leaving ground, the adrenaline rushing in as the motors awoken with a strong roar, the heat on your forehead and my heart pounding as the ship floats with the powers of science and engineering as they pump life into this marvel of the mind.

As I make way back home, I have something with me as a gift: a curiosity that I found while investigating the long lost and distant land. As I wait, I take a closer look at it, just as I did when I stumbled upon it. It is an odd piece of plastic. It has the size of an adult's shoe and seems triangular in form, full of colors and shapes that I've never imagined, it's screwed to a tiny circular red base. It's arms start large from the bottom and get gradually smaller as ones gaze escalates to the top, where an exquisite golden star rests on. If you look closely at the end of the arms, you might notice that they have attached the tiniest colored crystals that you have ever seen. Then, if you continue to analyze this odd artifact, you would find a button under the base. If you are curious enough, you will press it and with a small tremble the piece will come to life. The arms will twirl and the crystal will light up as a sweet melody plays.

I walk back now to the same spot I was a year ago, before I left on expedition. I wait to see her again, but this time, I have something with me. I picture we will stare at it for hours, smiling at its lights and music while we, the two lonely troopers wonder in silence the meaning of it all.

By Manuel Martinez
By Manuel Martinez

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