You can pick one of these

My husband loves The Office. I’m lukewarm on it, to be honest. It’s good, but it’s not my favorite. Even so, there are some scenes that just strike me. They’re hilarious, or meaningful, or just really, absolutely true.

One such scene takes place in an episode where two characters, Phyllis and Angela, are planning an office party to celebrate the launch of the new Dunder Mifflin website. Angela is going through sort of a thing, which isn’t uncommon. And she’s taking it out on Phyllis, also not uncommon. She’s being stupidly unreasonable with her. Now, I despise Phyllis and I think she deserves terrible things. But not from Angela.

At one point, Angela has given her a list of difficult, time-consuming, nearly impossible things to accomplish in roughly half an hour. Phyllis, who’s been researching conflict resolution online, shows up with the different tasks written on sticky notes, one on each finger.

You can pick one of these,” she says. “It’s unreasonable to ask me to do all of it.”

I don’t actually remember Angela’s response, but I know what it drove Phyllis to do. She balled up all the stickie notes and threw them in Angela’s face.

And I immediately reacted to that, because that’s me. Both sides of it, that’s me. I’m Angela, setting unrealistic expectations for myself. And, more and more, I’m Phyllis, coming back and saying, “You can pick one of these.”

This is part of my struggling against my too much gene. I feel constantly that I need to do all of the things at once. Even though I know that’s dumb. Even though I know it’s damaging to my physical well-being. Even though I know it’s damaging to my emotional wellbeing, and it makes me ignore my husband and pets.

I do this, even though I know it means I end up putting out less than great stories when I should be putting out better and better material.

It’s really hard not to because there are so many things I want to do. This is what led me to writing two novels in a row. This is what makes me think it’s a good idea to write a novel in November, during Thanksgiving, when I’ve already scheduled a three-day vacation. This is why I’ve got five novels currently going in a circle of drafts around my desk. (2019 goals, finish all five.) This is why I’ve already got a list of short stories waiting to be written as soon as I’m done with this novel. I do too much, I do way too much because I want all the shiny things. I want all the books, all the short stories. I want a novella with Tor, and to be featured in three magazines a month in addition to putting out my own novels. I want it all, and to have a spotless house. And to have a beautiful crocheted afghan, and read two novels a month, and start running. And get involved in charity work, and start putting videos on Youtube.

But, fortunately, I’m not doing this as much anymore. I’m finding that inner Phyllis to combat my inner Angela. And I’m saying to myself, “You can pick one of these.” At least, just one at a time.

What better time of the year could there be for a Christmas story? Enjoy twelve little Blue WoodChristmas tales, ranging from heart felt to horrifying. Meet a young man who recieves a surprise Christmas gift, a little boy who gets an unexpected visit from Santa, and a young woman spending Christmas Eve in a new coat.

Pre-order Twelve Little Christmas Stories today.


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