Things I've been doing today include buying a Christmas tree, learning some old music, and playing around with bits for a novel I'm working on.
The Christmas tree came when it became clear that our usual artificial one wasn't going to stand up any longer (or indeed at all) without help, so it brought a trip to the local supermarket for what has to be the shortest tree we've had at 3'. Also one of the few real ones. I'm used to trees being this looming presence at the back of the room, not a small one off to the side. Getting it was surprisingly easy, given how close we are to the big day. Actually being able to park somewhere on the 22nd? There's something wrong with that. Although it did take me half an hour to push my way around the supermarket and locate some cheese. What is it about little old ladies that they think I'm not going to elbow them out of the way?
The old music came in the form of O'Carolan's music for harp, which works very well on acoustic guitar. Or any guitar, because I'm increasingly finding that the electric/acoustic division is an artifical one. If you haven't heard any of O'Carolan's pieces and don't know about him, he was a blind harpist from the 17th/18th centuries, who composed many of the most beautiful folk melodies of the time. I can take or leave classical music, but older folk songs often have a simple purity to them. So does a lot of pre-classical early music.
The writing is on yet another piece I've had two or three goes at. The tone I'm aiming for with this one is kind of that of a mad fairytale, just writing any old thing and seeing how it comes out. It's chaotic, but in some ways that's perfect. I remember watching the penultimate episode of Merlin earlier, and I found myself seeing just how easily the standard structures can overwhelm imagination in the writing of these things. If you're writing fantasy, but you're doing the same thing as everyone else in the same ways, in what sense is it truly fantastical?