Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions and how my family traditions have changed over the years. Similarly the pathway to publication has evolved.
As a child, the holiday season was filled with traditions surrounding food and family gatherings. My mother is a baker and a chef beyond compare. Every holiday season, the women in the family – Aunts and cousins – would gather and bake. My Great Grandmother’s Italian Cookie Recipes all started with 5 lbs. of flour. That is a LOT of cookies! My contribution to these cookie baking nights was the famous and often shared story of the time I knocked over the 5 lb. bag of flour when I was five. A true indication of my love for all things domestic to come!
My favorite family memories as a child were that of my family – My mom, dad and brother. We were together always, and there was a lot of laughter in our home. Christmas Eve, we would make the rounds, first on my father’s side of the family for dinner – family and food, then to my Great Grandmother’s house for more family and food. We were LARGE in numbers back then. I only remember that it was fun…and at times we drove through snowstorms to get there. Have I mentioned I grew up in Buffalo where A White Christmas was a given? The snow did not stop us from seeing family, nor from missing Midnight Mass. Christmas Day was filled with more family and food. Mainly I remember a long day filled of playing with my cousins. Those were beautiful Camelot-like days.
As I got older, into my teens, the traditions began to shift. My Great Grandmother had passed away, and that last stop which included big bowls of Tripe in her sauce and extended family came to an end. Some of my Aunts and Uncle’s moved out of town. We still baked, but that 5 lb. recipe had been drastically reduced. We still gathered, yet our numbers grew smaller. And still, the magic and love of the holiday did not dim.
When I entered into my adulthood and became a mother, I initially grew distressed during the holidays. How could I possibly re-create the magic of my childhood traditions for my children? I had moved far away from my family and everything was different. While I put my best effort into baking cookies, that little girl who knocked over the 5 lb. bag of flower whispered words of doubt into my ears. We had lovely gatherings with our NJ family, but there were no big bowls of tripe following a snowstorm at the end of the night to share with my husband and children.
Finally, I realized it was IMPOSSIBLE to recreate the magic of Christmas from my childhood. Instead I had to create NEW traditions for my family. This realization came to me the same night my beautiful baby girl came into the world. We drove to the hospital on Christmas Day in the middle of a snowstorm! Yay! I got my snowstorm on Christmas AND a little bundle of joy – to this day, the best Christmas present of my life! She arrived nearly three weeks early in a sense to tell me it was time to embrace a new pathway of traditions.
For anyone who has read any of my Hero’s Journey blog posts, you know I like to equate my personal journey to my writing journey. For years, I held on to the belief of the traditional Authors path. Write the book, enter contests, get an agent, a get a print deal with a big NY house. I refused to step outside of that path, until I looked around and realized other Authors had done just that with great success. In this day and age the number of “Hybrid Authors” is on the rise. These are Authors published in any combination of small presses (like my own, The Wild Rose Press), self-published, and published in the traditional NY houses. For years I held on to the safe, tried and true traditional path, but authors like Laura Kaye, who started with my same small press publisher and is now a NYT and USA Today Best Selling Author, opened my eyes to other possibilities. Instead of continuing to wait for NY to get around to reading my manuscripts (sometimes they don’t, you know!), I choose this new path. Just like I now embrace new family traditions, I’m embracing what I now view as this Author’s NEW traditional path.
How have your traditions changed over the years? Do you have a hard time embracing the new?