Wednesday, December 24, 2014

SM Johnson ~ Happy whatever you celebrate (and an awesome new book)

Oh my darklings, it has been a while since I've shared with you. December always seems like a stressful month, and yet it always flies by so dang fast. So much holiday, and so much coordinating and shopping and baking and tradition.

It's strange around here these days in December, a combination of bowing to and/or living up to old traditions at the same time that we try to create a new kind of holiday celebration for our personal little family.

You see... we are not Christmas people. For quite a few years I suffered from ulcers between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and honestly, once my father passed away in December 2007, I really felt a whole lot more stress than joy  in decorating for the holidays and pretending to be a good little Christian.

Because I'm not a good little Christian. I'm an atheist. Or, probably more correctly, an agnostic atheist. As in... I don't know if gods are real or not, and therefore I am unable to believe in them.

I did my time as a born again Christian, back in high school, when I was involved in a church-run youth group that had great youth leaders, and I enjoyed the sense of camaraderie and fellowship. I liked and respected the PEOPLE, and I adored the praise and status of being "born again" - being invited up to the stage at Christian rock concerts and showered with hugs and presents because I'd accepted Jesus Christ into my heart as my personal savior. It was all such a rush that I'd make sure I sinned plenty before the next  concert so I could do it all over again. I was born again and again and again - serially Saved.

And then one day I was embarrassed to realize I was a hypocrite.  I was up on that stage, accepting a bible from a person so happy for my "saving" that he was GLOWING, and I realized THIS was akin to a drug. I knew I was going to go out to the parking lot in a few minutes and light up a smoke. And I was going to get into my car and blast my secular music, Motley Crue. And I knew I was going to have premarital sex with my boyfriend over the upcoming weekend... but I also knew that it didn't matter - I could be as bad as I wanted to be, and so long as I confessed my badness and made myself feel sorry for oh, a minute and a half or so, I would automatically be forgiven. And when I was forgive, I'd get a brand new new pristine slate.

The realist in me took a step back. I was forgiven if I smoked. I was forgiven if I listened to forbidden music. I was forgiven if I had sex outside of holy matrimony. I would be forgiven if I lied, stole, or murdered someone. Were child rapists forgiven as easily as I was? Well shit. There's something wrong with this belief system... no one actually GETS PUNISHED FOR ANYTHING. No matter how terrible their crime, all they had to do for redemption was ASK and BELIEVE.



And that was when it hit me - I didn't believe. Not only did I not believe RIGHT THEN, but I had never been able to believe. As a four year old forced to attend Catholic mass every week, I did not believe. I have never had one molecule of that thing called FAITH that allows people KNOW in their hearts that there is a GOD or a JESUS or a HEAVEN.

This isn't a rant. And this is definitely not me telling anyone else what to believe - it's just me explaining why I find the holidays stressful. There's just so much GOD everywhere, and so much we're happy because of Jesus, and so much goodwill and charity in the name of the holiday season. And I think people should be kind and filled with goodwill and charity all year long, honestly. I don't think donating to the Salvation Army in December is a get out of hell free card, yanno?

So here's what happened last year: Our fake tree and decorations got snowed into the shed and were not available for annoying me. (Prior years I have managed to put the tree up the weekend before Christmas, and take it down and put it away the day after. No one who lives here ever helps for more than eight minutes). So. I put up a wreath. I said that since we are not religious, and since ten-year-old Sprite no longer believes in Santa, we would celebrate winter solstice. And to make it fun, we would each get to open one present every day between winter solstice and Christmas Day, so long as we could explain what we did that day that was kind or good or helpful to someone else.

This year, I suggested selling the tree, and was met with resistance. Until I said there will be no tree if there is no help putting up and decorating the tree. And then I got, "Wait, can't we do what we did last year?"

So. Yay!

I spent Solstice weekend building the ebook for  Hero's Torch by my good friend and totally kick ass author, 19. I read his stuff before we were friends. And yeah, was all like, omg omg omg, I have to know this person. And these stories must exist. So *happy dance* here's another one.

Fear and faith are indivisible on the Republic of Earth. Privacy is nonexistent, creativity is a crime, and intelligence is a heresy.

Leander Schaiden has spent his young life in a battle against the Church, seeking any freedom he can steal. 

The Septarch is immortal and all-powerful, far beyond the control of the Republic. 

Leander considers him a tale told to frighten children. 

Leander is wrong.

Buy ebook from Smashwords

Buy ebook or paperback from Amazon

I will have news about my next new book the very next time I write. Which, hopefully, will be more like next WEEK rather than next MONTH.

No matter what you celebrate, I hope you're having an enjoyable holiday season. And if you're not, well, it'll all be over soon, and we'll see what sort of wonderfulness comes our way in 2015.

Have a fun and safe weekend, my darklings!

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