Hogmanay, They Said

We’re almost halfway through the month, which means Camp NaNo is only a smidge over two weeks away, and I need some idea of what ,my project is going to be. Since I’d wanted to write a Christmas story for a while now, that seemed like a good idea (insert N’s comment that it doesn’t have to be Christmas) but then there came two shadowy figures who drifted into my office, drew close, and whispered into my ear.

Them: Hogmanay.

Me: What?

Them: Hogmanay. It has to be.

Me: Oh it does, does it? Let’s see what our old friend, Google, has to say about that. Hm. Scots word, referring to the last day of the year. December thirty-first, then, still close enough to Christmas, caps off Christmas week, part of the whole twelve days thing. Okay, New Year’s Eve, I can do. I was going for more of a Christmas Eve kind of vibe, but endings, beginnings, I can work with that. We have to talk about the Scotland thing, though.

Them: ….

Me: Yeah, see, the last time I tried to write a Scottish story, it did not go well. Book down in flames, me creatively paralyzed, lots of crying. I mean, that was before your time, so you probably couldn’t have known about that, unless you had to go through the backburnered characters waiting room, in which case, who knows what you heard, but the whole Scotland thing…yeah, no.

Them: …

Me: I mean, Scotland is great, and all. Essential part of the British Isles. Great Britain. United Kingdom. Tartan. Bagpipes. Shortbread. Kilts. Neighbors. The closest neighbors when w moved into our first house, were Scots. I don’t remember my first impression of them, because I was nine months old, but, from about age four and onward, I remember them as lovely people. Um. Um. Hannah Howell. Now, there’s your gal for Highland stories. Not that all Scots are Highlanders. Far from it. Lowlands. Borders. The colonies. Pamela Clare sent her Scotsmen to the American colonies. She’s mostly doing contemporaries and romantic suspense these days, but I’m sure she’d–

Them: Hogmanay.

Me: :sigh:  You two aren’t going to budge on this one, are you?

Them: :both shake heads: Hogmanay.

Me: Fine. Have it your way. Hogmanay has to be the least romantic name of a holiday, ever, but sure. Hogmanay it is. Let’s see, what are we working with, here? Hm, first footing.  That sounds — oh, don’t look at me like that. I know what first footing is. Hm. I could work with that. Tall, dark-haired male, that’s pretty standard, so no problems there, but what if it was the wrong tall, dark-haired male? Huh. That could have potential. Gifts are involved. That’s pretty Christmassy. This could happen.

Word of warning, though. I am not creating an entire clan this time. That’s kind of ambitious. Says here, they have Hogmanay in northern England, too. Similar concept on the Isle of Man, even. So, theoretically, I could put this in a remote English village. I can give somebody a Scots parent, if we’re being particular about this whole Hogmanay thing. No chance I can turn this into a New Year’s Story, is there?

Them:  Hogmanay.

Me: Can you two say anything other than “Hogmanay?” If either of you answers that with “Hogmanay,” I am deleting your file. Okay, first, I have to create a file, but then I’m putting this entire conversation in it, and then deleting it. Anything else would be great, though. Names, what year it is where you come from. Name of the village; that would be good, too. How you two know each other, because you definitely know each other.

Them:  ….

Me: Why am I not surprised, here? I’m sitting here, in my office chair, candle burning, cherry seltzer at hand, I have an online workshop that needs my attention, and then you two wander in, and the only thing you have to say to me is the name of a holiday that is different from the holiday I actually intended to write about. Not giving me a lot to go on with an attitude like that. New Year’s Eve, basically, gifts, wrong dude at the door. Do I at least get to see your faces?

Them: Hogmanay.

Me: If you mean I actually have to wait until December thirty-first of this year (2018, by the way, in case we’re exchanging what year it is in our respective realities. Throwing that out there as an icebreaker. Feel free to reciprocate at any time.)  that is not going to work. I’m writing historical romance. Faces are going to come into play at some point.

Them: Hogm–

Me: Don’t say it. I get what you’re after. Your story plays out over Hogmanay. Fine. Here’s how this venture of ours is going to work. I’m going to head on over to Camp NaNo and create the project. I will, by choice or happenstance, be put into a cabin with other writers, hopefully of historical romance. You guys get a notebook, maybe a legal pad, and a pen. When the calendar flips over to April, I start writing. You guys have until then to get chatty, or I’m doing my own thing. Got it?

Them:  :both nod:

Me: Okay, then. Glad we had this conversation. You two do your part, I will do mine, and we’ll see what we have at the end of the month.


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