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Sunday, December 08, 2019

What writers do and do not want for Christmas etc.

Aiieee! Cowflop! This is 100-proof bogus nonsense. What writers want for Christmas or the holiday of their preference is for you to read one (or more!) of their books (preferably after buying, as numbers help them sell the next book to a publisher) and then to ramble around in their created worlds. Also, they want dratted Amazon etc. reviews because those things are helpful to the book, and writers are all about serving the book. What they do not want are things like mugs, literary insult charts, literary temporary tattoos, and storytelling card games. Well, maybe they want a nice fountain pen...

See some proper additions from other writers (some poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction) in the comments below.

Also, from novelist Midori Snyder (via twitter), this: "Time left alone, to lie on the couch and imagine plots." Dawdley, day-dreamy time, yes.

And writer Laura Argiri brings up one of my weaknesses on facebook: "They seem unaware that they can so easily score with the writer in question's favorite form of caffeine or chocolate. No need to order all this silly stuff that will go straight to the recipient's neighborhood thrift...." Chocolate!


  1. Ah, yes! What they want is new readers, and reviews - so so true! Also maybe world peace, but everyone wants that. Remember, the books of any writers in your care also make great gifts for other people, as well! :)

  2. World peace... Reminded me of "Groundhog Day." Drink to world peace... Not likely to arrive right away, alas.

    The other stuff: possible, possible...

  3. I love that "a subscription to Writer's Digest" is on their list. I remember getting my hands on some issues of the magazine in the late 1980s or early 1990s and finding it scattered with basic information that one can now find easily online. Honest question: Does anyone but very new aspiring writers actually read it?

    1. I know! Thought that was amusing...

      Maybe that's who it's for?

  4. Never a fountain pen. Never...

    You write a brilliant sentence - in ink - and its brilliance fades when exposed to the light. You crush the paper and throw the ball on the floor. By mid-morning when you break for coffee, cocaine or whatever (Writing is a stressful business: discuss.) the floor is littered with reminders of your indecisiveness. Who wants that?

    What you need is a device whose worth is beyond rubies - the keyboard's delete key. It could well postpone madness. Only the author of:

    I met Murder on the way,
    He had a mask like Castlereagh

    made madness pay off.

  5. Yesterday I was thinking about Shelley's loves and Byron and his (especially Lady Caroline Lamb), and pondering what a hash of things Romanticism made...and how it still taints minds. And was feeling so glad for Keats!

    Yeats said we have to pick between perfection (right, we're just so bound to get there, W. B.) of the life or work, but Shelley.... Wow. He makes me feel less error-ridden in youth. I mean, youth is error-ridden anyway. Shelley, so flagrant!

    Some people never register their writing flaws and bloops. But time just ignores and forgets what is weak. And lots of pretty good stuff, too.

    I do have a nice fountain pen, but I'm always afraid of ruining someone's book. So now I usually use Microns or some such--something that is archival ink.

  6. I write everything longhand, so Mighty Reader gets me pens for Christmas. A couple of years ago, she gave me a beautiful fountain pen that I use at my desk at home.

    But yes, if you know a writer, buy and read one of her/his books! Or buy one of her/his books and give it to another of your friends. Or better yet, buy two copies, keep one and give the other away. And be part of the word-of-mouth life of the book. I can buy my own temporary tattoos.

    1. Oh, yes, the word-of-mouth gift! Should've put that in...

      I have a Levenger fountain pen that I sometimes use. I have a (probably bad) tendency to write very quickly, so I tend to write on the computer a lot.

      Hah. Your own temporary tattoos--I'll believe it when I see it!

    2. I have three permanent tattoos already!

      I will admit to a Moby-Dick t-shirt collection that somehow keeps growing. Otherwise, I'm all set for writerly chachkies.

    3. Yes, but do you do stick-on temporaries? Not surprised you have some but would have been surprised by the sight of you rubbing on fakes, hahaha!

      I can get on board with a Pequod mania...

    4. I see what you mean, and no, definitely no to the temporary tattoos!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.