23 December, 2020

A Moment of Life

Brett walks into the living room, beyond where I sit at my desk.

He raises the Firestick remote and says, "Alexa, who was the shortest American President?"

I shout from my desk, "William Harding!"

Alexa tells us it was James Madison, at 5'4".

Brett asks, "Alexa, how tall was William Harding?"

I shout from my desk, "Six foot ten!"

Alexa tells us William Harding was 6'10". I am exuberant! "Wow! I guessed it!"

Brett is laughing. "Yeah, first you think he's the shortest, then he's 6'10"." I had randomly thrown out the name William Harding, then randomly threw out the height 6'10. "Ask her who was the tallest."

Brett protests, "It was Abraham Lincoln." 

"He was no 6'10". He just looked extra tall 'cause of the top hat."

Brett gives in and asks, "Alexa, who was the tallest President?"

Alexa confirms what Brett knew: Abraham Lincoln. At Six foot four. What?

"Aw, crap. WARREN Harding, not William." I suddenly remembered the name. I'm devastated. Brett carries on and we learn that Warren G. Harding was 6'0", the 14th tallest president. Now not only was I wrong in my initial guess, but wrong about the tallest. 

"You might not have had the right name, but at least you guessed 6'10" correctly!"

... But for whom?

(We did ask, but it's already out of my head. Some businessman or other.)

06 December, 2020

Nanowrimo and Christmas

Whew! Hi there, if I'm still on anyone's radar.

Nanowrimo is over (see my new badge over there on the left?) and now I'm thinking about writing a Christmas letter.

Truthfully NaNoWriMo was a struggle this year. The goal, to be counted a "winner" is 50,000 words. I did 50,277. It's not a real story, although I managed to find the roots of a possible story within my dark subject matter. Mostly I was just writing to get out of my own head.

It was a unique process for me: ramble, ramble, stream-of-consciousness, then suddenly come upon a character, then rework the character with a different personality, then find that the secondary character is where the real story is, then find that I'm on a totally different tack than I'd started!

I deleted nothing, for the sake of the word count, so a lot of it is garbage, and this is not a story that will ever see the light of day. But I did it!

And now I want to write a Christmas letter. When I lived in the US, I did cards every year, with a letter inside. I no longer send them, but I would like to compose an appropriate Christmas letter to share. I'm just stumped for what to write.

"Nothing new. Traveled nowhere. Did nothing." Boom. 

I don't do newsy letters. In the past, I tried to focus on some element of the original Christmas story and compare it to the modern world. But what? This year, my friends and family are divided between political beliefs and Covid perspectives, and I can't think of a single, universal message that won't piss off one side or the other. Or myself, as I write it.

Actually, I started this blog post hoping that an idea would come to me as I write about wanting to write. No dice.

Are you writing a holiday letter this year? Do you have a theme? Or do you have any ideas for me?