My latest book, CHRISTMAS IN ICICLE FALLS, is about people looking for the best in each other. The story kicks off with Muriel Sterling the town's resident wise woman, ordering a tree on line that turns out to be anything but pretty. Muriel decides to give Ugly Tree a chance and try and turn it into a thing of beauty. Of course, having the Martha Steward gene, she succeeds. And soon the story of the transformed tree inspires Muriel and her friends to try and see the best in the people in their lives, those "ugly trees" who irritate them or whose potential they've overlooked. It's a scary and sometimes humorous (at least I hope it is!) journey through the town's forest of ugly trees, and I hope readers are going to enjoy the tale. I certainly enjoyed writing it.
I learned a thing or two, also. As I wrote this book I realized that, like Muriel and her friends, I could take a lesson from the transformed ugly tree as well. At times there have been people in my life who have angered or hurt me, people who irritated me... ugly trees I've wished someone would just haul away. But those trees don't always get hauled away. So, what to do? With the ones in my life, I've decided to try and see their potential, to look for the good in them. This is much easier to do when I remember that I, myself, am not so perfect. I've had my share of ugly tree moments. What if people held those against me? Yikes!
It's the season of peace on earth, goodwill toward men... and women... and ugly trees of all shapes and kinds. I'm hoping that this holiday season, I can see the beauty in others. I'm also hoping I can work on getting more beautiful, myself. On the inside, where it really counts.
My wish for all of you is that you'll be able to enjoy the season, even if you have to walk through an entire forest of ugly trees. Merry Christmas!
My latest Christmas book, CHRISTMAS IN ICICLE FALLS, begins with Muriel Sterling seeing a lovely Christmas tree on line and buying it. But lo and behold, once it arrives she sees she's been had. The thing is downright mangy. What to do? Take it to the dump where it deserves to go or try to make it into something pretty? Muriel ops for turning the tree into a thing of beauty. Of course, if that was all there was to the story it would be half a page long. So Muriel and her friends decide to apply the ugly tree principle to the people in their lives, seeing the best in others. Isn't that sweet? Isn't that charming?
Isn't that almost impossible sometimes?
We all have "ugly trees" in our lives, people who irritate us, people we wish would leave, go live in the forest with the other ugly trees and leave us alone. Sometimes it can be hard to find the good in people.
But for me, that's not always the biggest challenge. For me the challenge can be in not letting myself turn into an ugly tree. We all have those moments when we say and do things we regret. At least I do. And my big mouth is what gets me into trouble most of the time. Maybe that's why I like being a writer - my characters can say and do all kinds of crazy things and get away with it. Oh, to live in a book. Alas, I live in the real world, and I can only be thankful that so far, nobody's hauled me off to the dump.
Maybe this Christmas though I can keep in mind the story of that ugly little tree that someone saw potential in. Maybe I can work on fixing myself up with a little more patience and a little more kindness. Maybe I can try and think before I speak. And if my brain switches off and I don't think before I speak, then I'm determined to speak right away and apologize. (I just practiced that this afternoon so I know it can be done.) Ugly trees are great in books. Not so much so in real life.