Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Monday, December 15, 2014

To Believe or Not to Believe in Santa

When I was a child Santa Claus was a big deal. I was a true believer. It was important to be especially good at Christmas time or Santa might just fly over and not stop. Come Christmas Eve, I was amazed at how presents somehow mysteriously appeared under the tree after returning home from a drive in the country. The treats left for Santa were half eaten. The huge footsteps in the snow were Santa's.

I remember being eight years old when my mother sat me down for the Santa Claus lecture. Apparently, I had committed the sin of being a too ardent believer in ol' Kris Kringle long past the age of innocence. My mother tried to explain that Christmas was about the spirit of giving and that Santa Claus wasn't actually a real person just a symbol of that spirit. I remember being very angry with my mother. "What? You couldn't wait until AFTER Christmas to tell me about all this spirit stuff? You had to ruin Christmas?" The truth is I'm still mad about that after all these years. I forgave her for a lot of things, but I never forgave that.

When I had my own children, I certainly encouraged the Santa myth. When my oldest daughter was four, we celebrated Christmas at my parents. Looking out the window, my daughter started to jump up and down and squeal. She had spotted Santa running through the snow in his bright red suit. She was beside herself with joy. Her cousins laughed. "That's not Santa. That's Uncle Bob." Their cynicism could not spoil the moment for her. She was a true believer. I let her sort out the truth on her own when she was ready for it.

Fast forward and I now have grandchildren, six-year old Jake and four-year old Kylie. My grandson is a true believer; my granddaughter is somewhat cynical. Jake has an "elf on the shelf" named Bennie, a sort of scout elf who checks things out for Santa to make sure who is naughty or nice. Bennie mysteriously changes his location in the house every day. You're not supposed to touch him, according to Jake, or he might lose his power. Kylie doesn't think much of Bennie and asks her mother to touch Bennie so he loses his power and his status is reduced to that of an ordinary toy.

To believe or not believe. I think it's a wonderful thing to encourage fanciful dreaming in a child--that little touch of magic that will serve him or her well in adulthood. It's like lighting a candle in the window of your soul and being transfixed by the flame as it dances and flickers in the dark.

1 comment:

  1. We're enjoying reading your post on a rainy day here in Indonesia. There's a ratty little Christmas Tree in the hotel dining room and the ceiling is strung with flashing blue and white lights. Hard to imagine Santa in his fur trimmed suit visiting this little island but he does get all around the world doesn't he? We'll be watching for him. Ho. Ho. Ho.