Category Archives: Christmas
Every November for the past ten years I’ve sat down with typewriter and written 50,000 words (at least) about something. First there were novels, and eventually there was a memoir, then an account of my hike around Mont Blanc. Two trilogies later (one with a 4th book), a humorous philosophical tale, and a variety of things have come from my mind onto paper. I spent a year of spare time editing only one of these, and many hundreds of hours editing every last thing I have written to date. Since writing two books last year, one in November and another that followed right on the heels of that, I have had in the back of my mind that this November I would just sit down and do it again. Then it hit me that I really didn’t have to do it again. I decided to allow myself to fail. What a relief! The fact remains that at this moment I don’t have much to say. Part of the problem is that after you have written a lot of books, there comes a realization that you can do it if you want to, but there’s nothing to prove anymore. It would have been great if my books had shot to the top of the best seller list, but that only happens with the rarity of lottery winning, and from what I observe a lot of best sellers are pure crap. I don’t want the life of a professional author anyhow, running all over the place promoting their work and listening to people who don’t have a clue discussing the meaning of it.
What I am missing is the pleasure of having my Olympia Traveller on my lap and hammering out 1700 words a day, then reading what I wrote to my wife every night. One day I might write another fictional book, but my next writing project will be to finish up the book I started long ago about how to build a guitar. Now that might sell, as the world seems to be filled with aspiring guitar builders these days. Where do they all come from? Why are there so many more guitars than guitar players? Do pianists all own a dozen pianos?
So, to keep up my typing dexterity and to taste the pleasure of putting words to paper I’ve been writing poems every Friday night after the pizza. My wife writes one too, on her sole typewriter – a 1953 Oliver #4 – one of the cutest and best typewriters ever conceived (and I’ve owned 200 of them). Unlike me, she’s perfectly content with one good typewriter. I still have to restrain myself from adding to the collection however, which stands at 97 today. I have one up for sale however, which is proof that I’m not hoarding them, right? Every year we design our own Christmas card and write a poem for the inside. I’m working on that now, but the poem takes the most work. To get into practice I wrote a couple of poems off the top of my head, which will very likely not be suitable for the Christmas card, but might be good enough for this blog. Well, maybe not but I wrote them so I’m going to put them up.
Only 3 sleeps till Christmas. I have done my Christmas shopping, mostly, and the presents are wrapped and sitting on a table under the not yet erected tree. I have to make my special coleslaw for the great family feast that will be happening on Christmas Eve at my sister’s place. This year we will be about 20, and have one more little boy than last year. One is on the way too, and might even be here for Christmas, although he’s not due until Boxing Day, and he’s in Germany. But he will be with us in spirit, nevertheless. I hope that one day he will send handwritten or typed correspondence to friends and family. Just to remind him, and all of you what that looked like, I present for your Christmas pleasure two very old postcards that I culled from a collection of thousands at a second hand book shop this very afternoon. They cost me a pretty penny, which was the price of stamps in 1911 when one of them was posted from Gloucester Mass, to Mrs. Alexandra Wharton in Nova Scotia, from her friends Pearl and Charlie. Both these cards were printed in Germany.
This one had no stamp but it must have been sent. The ink is permanent, which I know because I used a wet Qtip to clean up some black paper that was stuck to the back and obscuring part of the writing. Thank goodness for India ink!
A message from Nellie Wanamaker to her Aunt Fannie in Prince Edward Island. Maybe Fannie knew Anne, the kid who lived over at Green Gables?
Merry Christmas everyone!