How stressed am I?

WE COMPLETELY MISSED A CHRISTMAS PARTY because I had the wrong day firmly set in my head AND had even written it on the wrong date on my calendar. Unbelievable. I never miss anything fun. I was sure the party was Saturday night. But when I pulled out the invitation to check the time, I saw it had been Friday night. I'm so thankful I didn't know the time. Imagine showing up at Neighbor-You-Don't-Know-Too-Well-On-The-Next-Street's house the night after.

I just mailed off a We're-Sorry-We-Missed-It Christmas card. And I still feel pretty stupid.

This kind of stress is something we can apply to our characters. Something happens, and the character is pulled in all directions, stressed to the max. Maybe there's lots of things going on in her life. She stumbles over a body on her front sidewalk at night coming home from the hospital where her mother is on death's door. She opens her door, and her little Maltipoo runs out into the street, barely escaping the wheels of a passing car, and into park on the other side. Pile it all on and then have her do something totally out of the ordinary.

I hope your day is less stress-filled than the past month or so of mine have been.


Oh dear. Guilt abounds. Then, when you think it's over, more guilt shows up in its place. However, what's done is done. I think you're handing it very well. Moving isn't an option, is it?

arlee bird said…
Well, I'm anticipating some stress for the holidays with a wedding, lots of travel, and visiting with everyone. But hopefully it will be like riding a roller coaster-- waiting in line, the wild ride, and then it's over and I'm ready to go back again.

By the way----
check out the VBT Writers on the Move blog today. I won an opportunity to be profiled on their site and it appears today:

Yep! It's end of the year stress and I'm in the middle of it. Sorry to hear about your party.
Carol Kilgore said…
Elspeth - Moving isn't an option because we just moved here in February.

Arlee - You're right - this time of year is like a rollercoaster. Thanks for including the link to your VBT post. You've led an interesting life.

Book Dilettante - It's nice to know I'm not alone.
Mason Canyon said…
I think stress is like the blob. It just grows and grows and won't go away. I can understand missing a party by having the wrong date. This time of year, I'm still thinking November even though it's less than two weeks until Christmas.
Helen Ginger said…
Why is it that things get more stressful during the holidays, even beyond the usual holiday stress? It sure seems like I get pulled in fifteen directions.

Straight From Hel
I hate it when I go to all the trouble to write something on my calendar and I write it on the wrong day. Makes me feel better to know someone else does the same thing, except I don't have to be stressed to do it! I liked how you related it to writing.
Carol Kilgore said…
Mason - The Blob! Perfect.

Helen - At least fifteen. You'd think at least one of them would involve a bar.

Jane - I'm glad to know someone else does it, too!
This reminds me of something I read suggesting you chase your protagonist up a tree--then, throw rocks at him. Makes for good tension and...stress.

Best Regards, Galen.

Imagineering Fiction Blog
Laura Eno said…
Remember to breathe, put your feet up, let it go. I sure wish I could take my own advice. :)
Oh, so true--under stress we do odd, odd things (I once put my keys in the freezer...) and that can add layers to your character. Good post!
Angela said…
Chuckle. I actually LOVE those stories and can always relate! Aren`t we all just human? I am only fear-ridden that I might appear a day (or an hour) EARLY with my flowers in hand and see the lady in curlers and a bathrobe!
A friend of mine once went into the opera in her fine dress and jewelry and then looked down at her feet. She still had her slippers on, the ones with the bunny ears!
Carol Kilgore said…
Galen - Right. Keep that stress high.

Laura - I'm trying that advice today. Tomorrow I have to zoom into high gear again.

Conda - Thanks. You can laugh about your keys now, right? I'm sure I'll get mileage out of the party story later.

Angela - Funny about your friend's bunny slippers. But I can now fully appreciate how she felt. I think early would be as bad as late.
Anonymous said…
I like the idea of applying this to our characters. We often try to go out of our way to make major things happen to our characters to stress them out, but sometimes it is a culmination of little events just pulling at them the wrong way.
Thanks for sharing this and I'm sorry you missed the gathering.
Carol Kilgore said…
You're welcome. I think our neighbor will receive the card tomorrow, so I hope all will be forgiven.