Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

In Praise of Materialism

I keep telling markgritter I'm the easiest person in the world to buy for. I like so many things in so many price ranges! I like books and music and movies and sparklies and SmartWool and clothing and hats and chocolate and fruit and sauces and cheese and other food and stuff for the house and stuff for the yard and and and and and. He knows what kind of stink I like. I've pointed out to him which jeans and cords fit me from which company this year. I have an Amazon list for his convenience, and I like little items that refer to the book(s) I'm working on, and this year that's either moose (for revising TN and Sampo) or anything from the Chinese zodiac (for Zodiac House), which is really quite a lot of range. So he should have an easy time of it and should not complain of his plight.

I started looking at people's lj wish lists, and I thought maybe I should do one of my own. But the non-physical stuff started to get sad in spots and bitter in other spots, and I didn't really want to do that, so I didn't start writing it down. Not a merry Christmas thing, that.

And me, I can't cure all the illnesses and injuries that are touching you or your loved ones. I can't give you a book contract or represent you as an agent (at least not effectively). I can't make your school more edifying or more reasonable or more efficient. I can't give you a government you can believe in or a society where you feel comfortable or useful or however it is you want to feel. I can't get you a good boss who will have you do interesting work for reasonable pay and solid benefits. I can't make your family get along with itself and you and anyone else important in your life. I can't even make the jerk in the next lane from you on 35W use his damn turn signal!

But I can send you a glittery sparkly piece of paper. I can make cookies, or bread, or candy, or dinner. I can fill sachet bags with home-grown lavender (in limited numbers) or jars with home-grown sage. I can buy paperbacks and DVDs and jewelry and LEDs and socks and who knows what else. (Well, I know what else, but I'm not telling you. You have to wait and find out.) It's this kind of thing that starts to make material objects look pretty darn good, if you ask me. I have control over them, at least some of them. The banana bread was in my hands, and now it is in someone else's hands, and that is that. Or I can chip in for part of something. Part of a needed piece of travel equipment for a relative. Part of the heating bill for the local battered spouses' shelter. They say you can't buy happiness, but if you get me a couple of those little dark chocolate Lindt balls, you can buy a good half hour of my happiness for less than a dollar, and when you think about it, that's a pretty decent price.

I'm not saying we shouldn't try to give each other non-material gifts. I will not, for example, be the jerk in the next lane from you on 35W who is not using her damn turn signal, and I'll do what I can think of to edge you closer to a trustworthy government and a reasonable society. But I think that doing nice things for each other materially is also not to be underrated.

Hmm. It may be that I'm categorizing things as material that other people would not, like homemade gifts. That may be part of the disconnect. But it's the fault of the jewelry-makers, I think: if I go to Dayton's and buy a necklace for someone on my list for Christmas, it's clearly A Material Thing. So does it matter if I get porphyrin to make the necklace instead? Yes, of course it does: I get a better necklace. But it doesn't suddenly become non-material, a spiritual ether necklace for heaven's sake.

Aaaaanyway. I woke up at 5:15 this morning, unable to go back to sleep, and I ache all over, and I have plans for this weekend and then some, so it had better be a passing thing related to lack of sleep. A passing thing, I tell you! That ought to be passing! Right now!

It's snowing. This makes me extremely happy. And I'm off to do some more Christmas stuff, and also some non-Christmas stuff.

Oh, hey, one more thing: if I managed to finish a short story that had some Christmassy bits in it, would you want a copy in your inbox for Christmas for your private enjoyment? Just hypothetically speaking, of course. A theory, really.
Tags: holiday cheer and thumping

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