I hope this finds you well. It’s been quite a while since last I wrote you --- several decades, actually, I guess, if we’re being honest --- helluva lot of water under the dam, as the saying goes. (More decades than I care to admit, frankly.) But I figure there’s no harm in renewing our acquaintance, is there? After all, one of my favourite writers, C.S. Lewis, once said to someone that “some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again,” and I believe this falls under the same general category. Jack was, I think, referring to regaining the sense of childlike wonder so many adults tragically allow to wither and die as they leave their childhood behind, and I’d like to reassure you that, while my sense of childlike wonder has gotten somewhat battered and frayed over the years from, as Will says, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, it’s still there. A little submerged by the cares of adulthood, true, but always ready to spring forth again, carefully nurtured in my heart like a glowing ember prevented from growing cold and extinguishing, ready to burst into flame at the slightest encouragement. Anyway, enough of all that… I know you’re really busy, especially at this time of year, and you don’t need chapter and verse regarding the ups and downs of my life. I merely wanted to reassure you of my bona fides in reaching out to you again.
Speaking of this time of year… I was just hoping it’s not too late to submit a few small requests for Christmas. I realize world peace is a little beyond your purview, and I should make that kind of request to a different and altogether higher Power --- not to denigrate your awesome abilities in the slightest --- so I’ll content myself by notching down the scope of my requests to you accordingly. The things on my list are a little more esoteric/abstract than those you customarily receive, I imagine, but I have every confidence they’re within your skillset.
You may recall I fancy myself something of a writer --- always have, come to that, as I know you’re aware from reading my recent blog posts --- and it’s one of the things close to my heart in terms of defining myself. So my Christmas requests this year relate to that aspect of my life.
Now, to be clear, there’s really not much I need in the way of material objects related to writing: I don’t require more notebooks for ideas, fancy stationery to write on, or pens to record things. Even though I use all those things --- well, maybe not the fancy stationery, but I do write ideas, plot sequences and such down on paper, even though I love that brand-spanking-new laptop you brought last year. It works just fine, thanks very much, once we got that heart-stopping little hiccup with the BIOS update sorted out. (I’m not necessarily in love with all the things Dell and Microsoft try to get me to do with my laptop --- some of what they want is pretty damned intrusive, truth be told, and I’m very sceptical/wary about this thing they call the Cloud --- but that’s beside the point right now. I guess I could ask you for the gift of what they call The Right To Be Forgotten, which I should clarify is actually something relating to the digital world Leaving You The Hell Alone, but I’m guessing that falls into the same category as world peace, so… yeah… never mind.)
That said, then, I have four Writer’s Requests on my Christmas list this year:
First, the gift of Time. Time to write, time to think, time to reflect. Damn, but it’s a busy, frantic world out there these days, Santa, and you know, the odd thing I find about this time of year in particular is that there are so many angry people in a hurry out there. I know, I know: it really goes against the spirit of the season, doesn’t it? So, time to write would be a treasured gift.
Second, the gift of Energy. Man, but it would be nice to have the energy after a long day at work to feel creatively energized. Writing is horrendously difficult when you’re mentally exhausted. And I don’t think it has anything to do with physical age, either --- I have colleagues thirty years younger than me who are every bit as tired. So, a little more creative and physical energy would be most welcome.
Third, the gift of Inspiration. Do you know the Muse? She’s a classically attractive woman dressed in white robes… speaks with a slight but charming Greek accent… often shows up late at night, whispering unobtrusively in writers’ ears. Yeah, that’s her. She doesn’t always arrive when you need her --- to paraphrase Bob Heinlein, it sometimes seems she’s an elderly GS-5 clerk often out on sick leave --- but when she does take the time to drop by, she plants the most amazing ideas in a writer’s head. If you could have her stop by more often when I’m writing, that’d be terrific.
Finally, Santa, the gift of Recognition. Yes, yes, I know, on one level, all writers write for themselves --- although I sometimes wonder if that’s easier for mega-famous/wealthy authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King to say. But I think it’s also fair to say no writer composes stuff and then doesn’t want an audience. (Okay, okay, possibly J.D. Salinger was like that… but there’s always an exception to the rule.) We want people to read and appreciate what we write; writers don’t exist in a vacuum. So, yeah, some recognition would be the (marzipan) icing on the (Christmas) cake. (Love Christmas cake, by the way, but I’ve already made mine for this year, thanks, complete with generous quantities of spirits in it, gurgle, gurgle.)
Thanks, Santa. You’re the best! See ya soon!