top of page

Up late or early

Saturday 12/17/22

Coming up on three in the AM and I'm still working. I should get a few hours sleep before I run the stairs.

I'm working on "Best Present Ever," among other things. I could go through the screen itself to embrace this story. It's perfect. It's the perfect idea so beautifully rendered. It surprises me over and over again and I wrote it. There are parts of it and lines that I want to hold and pull to my chest. There isn't anyone who can read this with dry eyes. It's not maudlin. Not at all. That's not why.

Someone called me tonight and they said they were going to read it with their family on Christmas Eve. I haven't shown this to anyone yet. I haven't put a word of the story up on here. I said that they should read it first on their own so that they're prepared. If you tried to read this to someone the first time you yourself were seeing it, I don't think you could get through it. It'd be too much. I told him I don't want to spoil the story--not that one could--but I'd just say that it sort of gets everyone involved.

What an idea this story has for a story, though. Then I did my thing. I went into all of it at every level of it. I can make anything a story because I can do my thing with anything. But the idea of this one. And my goodness the people in this story. A lot of people, and one special main character, an eight-year-old girl named Amara.

There are things that people would just never, ever, ever, see coming. I am quivering with excitement as I think about those things now. The story is as much of a gift as it is a story. It's more than fiction, more than literature.

I don't mean this literally because of course I can believe this exists because it's me, but I think about this story and I think, "I can't believe this story exists."

I had whatever I had back in November, and it was however long it was--1500 words maybe. That was really good. Anyone else would have stopped there, if they were fortunate enough to have that.

I kept working on it, though, because I knew I was only at a point in that journey. I make it sound like it was hundreds of hours. Realistically, it's probably been less than ten all together. But Colin time isn't regular time. Then I let it sit for close to two weeks. I knew what I had. As I wrote in these pages, I was walking around with the knowledge of what this was. I'm still not done.

It's also has me up tonight that the world won't get to see this right now. Certainly not this Christmas. If you didn't have bigots like David Remnick and Deborah Treisman and David Wallace at The New Yorker, and you put this story in there, it would be the most popular piece of any kind that magazine has ever run.

You know how people say, "Such and such broke the internet"? This story would do that.

So one can imagine how it feels having made this story, knowing that about it, and knowing that right now maybe a dozen people will see this story for Christmas this year and that's it. That makes it very hard to sleep, because I lay there and think about that, the injustice, and what is not being allowed to happen.

When Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, he was on a very tight deadline. He started writing in October for December publication. He was good and he worked and he didn't suck like all of these frauds with their MFAs from Iowa who take twenty-seven months to "birth" one of their moronic short-shorts that their writer clique fake-friends insincerely coo over.

He was self-publishing the book. His publisher had stopped believing in him. Think of how much easier it was at that time. You could write something good, and because it was good--for that reason--people would want it, and because it was good, it'd also get picked up happily in the first place by a publishing firm. Books were one of the main forms of entertainment. Probably the biggest. There was the theater and the dance hall, but they weren't as open to everyone of all ages.

But that was Dickens' situation. He came up with the idea for A Christmas Carol, and just like my idea has consumed all of me and lit me up, his idea did a version of that with him. It was a perfect idea. People don't have ideas like that.

Each night, at an hour like this one, Dickens would walk the streets of London, right through December, thinking about his creation. At first he'd smile and laugh and mutter to himself about it as he walked. Because he was in on something big with himself. And he knew it. Dickens knew what he had. Like I know what I have.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page