All I want for Christmas is a literary cruise?

Remember the lyrics to the song “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas”?

Johnny wants a pair of skates.
Susie wants a sled.
Nellie wants a picturebook—yellow, blue, and red.
Now, I think I’ll leave it to you
What to give the rest
Choose for me, dear Santa Claus
You will know the best.

Well, we hear at Inkspirational Messages want to give Santa a few ideas of things writers or booklovers might love to find under the tree. The booklovers version of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” might go like this:

Johnny wants a WiFi Kindle
Susie wants a Nook
Nellie wants a first edition
Of her favorite book
As for me, dear Santa Claus,
A maid would be tops
Then I could write, write, write,
And wouldn’t have to stop.

While maid would be nice, I doubt if she/he will be under my tree. Here are ten other things that I think would be fun to have as a writer and as a reader. They are in no special order.

 

  1.  Dead Fred Pedead-fred-pen-holdern Holder (link)  This just makes me smile. And when I’m feeling particularly angsty about a story or character, I think it would help to just stab away.

2.  Cutlery Pen Caps (link)  As much as I eat at my desk now days, I think these would be extremely handy.

3.  A Stainless Steel Stirring Mug.  (link)   I love my hot chocolate when I’m writing, but I always end up with a clump of chocolate in the bottom of the cup. I’m sure this would take care of that. (I HIGHLY recommend Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa. My ultimate guilty pleasure.)

4.  Professional writer’s journal/magazine subscription. Whether it’s Writer’s Digest, Writer’s, or Romantic Times Reviews, there are several writers magazines would find a happy home on my coffee table.

5.  Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle. Okay, so I’ve already got this one, but if I got another, I’d give it away to an aspiring writer because it’s filled with beautiful wisdom.

6.  An “I Read Past My Bedtime” t-shirt  (link)  This seems like the story of my life, so it just seems appropriate. Actually, I need one for me and one for each of my daughters. They seem to take after their mother.

7.  A massage session.  Carpal tunnel, stiff necks, and creaky backs are the occupational hazards of a writer’s life. A good massage would be divine!

8.  Gift cards for dining out.  These would help so much on the days I get so involved in writing or editing that I don’t have supper ready. It would be fun to pull out a card and say dinner out is on me.

9.  I think I need about 25 sets of these B.I.C.H.O.K. (But in chair. Hands on keyboard.) magnet sets to pass out to my writer friends.  (link)  They are very pretty, too. If I send you one, just remember to put it on the file cabinet, away from the computer since it’s a magnet.

royal-caribbean-cruise-line10.  This one may be a bit pricey, but what about a literary cruise to Bermuda? In the past, Royal Carribbean has offered a “Book it Bermuda” cruise and an “Authors at Sea” cruise to Mexico. I think I could get into either of those. What about you? And if you long for the other side of the ocean, how about “Writers, Myths, and Legends,” a literary tour offered by Novel Explorations  that takes you to Northern England and Scotland to visit the lives of Beatrix Potter, the Brontes, Robert Burns, Sir Walter School and William Wordsworth?  That sounds like a chapter in my life, I’d never forget!  

 I hope dear Santa Claus knows that I realize the true secret of Christmas is not found in this or any list. It’s fun to take a look at the possibilities out there, but I feel like I’ve been given wonderful gift already –in getting to share my imagination with readers.

I leave you all with this thought,

“Artistic success is not measured by what you get–but what you give:

whispers of truth, captured on paper, dispatched from the heart.”

Happy shopping for the writers and readers in your life!

I WAS RAISED BY BOOKS…

…Really. I was a feral child of the written word. You know, like Romulus and Remus who were raised by wolves? Only instead of a wild animal, I imprinted on the characters from the books I read. I had multiple mothers and fathers, hundreds of brothers and sisters and enough extended family to…well, fill a library.

I read all the time. By the light of a flashlight under the covers at night. In the light of day as I walked to school. (I usually had a bruise in the middle of my forehead from walking into lampposts!) Curled up in the round wicker chair by the window in the last bit of twilight.

Weston Public libraryI read so much that by the time I was eleven I had out-read the children’s section of the public library, much to the consternation of the librarian. She didn’t know what to do with me. (This was in the days before children had access to the entire library collection.) You stayed in Children’s until you were thirteen. Only then could you move up to the Young Adults section. But there I was two years early and out of books.

The Children’s Librarian consulted the YA librarian who sought out the Head Librarian. She called my parents who gave their permission for me to venture into the YA realm a full two years early!

That’s where I met Madeleine L’Engle and my life changed completely. There was a depth to her writing that I hadn’t encountered before. Vicky, Meg, Poly, Camilla, Calvin, Zachary and so many others came to life for me in a way I’d never dreamed possible. I stopped devouring books and began savoring them and the transformation from reader to writer began.wrinkle-in-time

I wrote my first book when I was eleven. It was 78 hand-written pages. I could never write short stories. My imagination was too big to restrict my characters to just a few scenes. I was constantly docked marks for incomplete work in English class but in grade eight Mrs. Whittlesea (isn’t that a glorious name for a junior high English teacher?) told me that I had the heart of a writer! I floated home on clouds of euphoria and began the hunt and peck method of typing out my first official manuscript.

I actually did get an article published in Seventeen magazine just after I graduated high school. And a few years later I had a picture book published by a small Canadian press. I’d followed the old adage “write what you know” and had concocted a story about my little family, starring my daughter. The book ended with the line “…but most of all they were happy.” Sadly my husband wasn’t and I soon found myself a single mother. I lost the ability to dream for a while under the stress of working to put food on the table and a roof over our heads.

And then I went back to school, turning my love for books into a practical library degree. I worked as a school librarian for 14 years and my current position is in the school board resource centre. I not only get paid to read…but someone else pays for the books I read! It’s a dream job – one I buffer with a part-time position at a college library.

No rest for the weary and no time to write…or so I thought until I stumbled onto romancefanfiction.net. The lure was too great and I started writing again. And once I’d begun the old dreams began to surface and I suddenly find myself hurdling forward, barely able to catch my breath!

What am I doing here? Hyperventilating most of the time and holding long discourses with God. If only I could learn to stop talking long enough to listen for an answer! How have the rest of you expressed it? Rollercoaster ride? Nerve-wracking? Tough? Definitely. Humbling? Absolutely. So, taking a deep breath, I close my eyes and press send…