The holidays, for the average person, are a time for celebration and family, a time of good cheer, good will, good… karma? Writers, of course, are not average persons by any system of measurement, so what does the holiday season mean to us?
Garrison Keillor says, “A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”
I suppose that’s true, especially when you think about how commercialized the holidays have become. For many writers, commercialism is hardly something to celebrate, and yet the holiday season still manages to bring forth from them stories about the underlying good in many people. It just depends on your point of view, kind of like the difference between “damn, I got wet in that thunderstorm,” versus “I got drenched and I loved it.”
In that spirit, I had an idea for next holiday season that Dona and I will try to implement among the relatives. No more gifts for the adults, and in their place, each person (kids too) will be tasked to tell a holiday story. They’ll have the option of reading their own work, or a published piece. I hope it works out.
So far, it’s been a good holiday. Among my Christmas gifts was a book I’ve been wanting for more than a year, which was out of circulation but has just been brought back by New York Review of Books—In the Heart of the Heart of the Country by William H. Gass, one of America’s finest writers of fiction and essay, although he’s rarely mentioned in that company these days.
Gass is still alive, as is his wife. He should be about 90 by now. It’s great to see his book brought back in time for him to appreciate it.
The downside of the holidays is mainly the loss of writing time to gift buying, tree trimming, visiting and being visited. You writers know how that works. Not that I mind so much, but it seems the best ideas and writing opportunities come along when one has the least amount of time to devote to them.
Upside: Our annual holiday party made a successful transition from Michigan to Washington. Although we scheduled it a bit late and many invitees already had other plans, we (co-Pub Kelly of TLR and I) still hosted a good crowd.
Downside: Enduring Dona’s annual viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” perhaps the sappiest film ever made. (Why couldn’t the North Koreans have hacked that one?) Did you know the movie flopped at the box office when it was released in 1946? What does that say about our society now?
So I guess I’m back to blogging. It’s been a few months. This time around I’m not going to succumb to the pressure of blogging every week. From now on I will write as the mood strikes. No more Saturday Morning Post, which is fine, as I was pretty tired of the name. It won’t always be about the writing biz either, although usually. I may come up with a new name, and maybe a new look as well, sometime after the New Year.
’Til then, I hope you’re all having a fine holiday.