Thursday, 11 December 2014

My Xmas Letter

It is traditional for many families these days to send out a letter with their Christmas cards to update everyone on their year just gone, the highs and lows, etc, a sort of review.

I don't send these out for several reasons.

1. I don't send Christmas cards. It doesn't matter why, I just don't.
2. Almost everyone I would otherwise do this for is on Facebook, and sees the minutiae of my year, as it happens.
3. I can't write them.

When I was a child, after Christmas, my mother made me sit down and write thank you notes to everyone who sent me a gift, and in that I was supposed to review my year. I loved all the people I wrote to. I was very grateful that they thought of me. I could sit and write pages and pages of other stuff, but these? After the thank you part I'd dry up, and it was like pulling teeth getting me to do more than a paragraph, of an entire year - often full of exciting stuff, because I had a great childhood.

Now I'm old and wise and all that, I write and I write and I write. Customer service emails. Complex responses on forums. Blogs. Novels even. But one little review? I can't do that.

Of course I can write. I can form sentences, I can express ideas, I can remember events. But I just can't DO IT.

For a start if I am too positive I feel guilty, knowing other people's lives are full of suffering and need. It even feels like boasting.

If I'm too negative...well, that's not going to happen. No effing way I'm going to even waste energy on that.

If I try to get the balance right it just ends up waffly.

But just the same I was told to do this, challenged, in fact. Furthermore I was challenged to do it in my own style.

At first I thought I'd just tell it funny, because my life is funny. My life is the sitcom nobody would ever believe. I'll give you an example. I was sent a take down notice by a dead artist. That is to say his estate sent it. Believe this or don't, but it's true. The estate of Salvador Dali forced me to stop selling melting clock earrings. They didn't look like his melting clocks, as a matter of fact, nor did his name appear anywhere on the page, but because one of my tags was "surrealism" apparently that's HIS intellectual property. And it doesn't matter that he's been dead 30 effing years, I can't do that.

Well, it wasn't worth a fight. I took it down and sold the remaining stock off to a lady in England who is selling them in a bricks and mortar shop, and I hope it has DALI DALI DALI plastered all over it. Ner ner ner ner ner.

So you know, I could fill a book with "funny things that happened in 2014". But I don't have time. (My memoirs will be in 24 volumes).

But what I feel is lucky. No, no, not counting what I told you yesterday. I feel lucky for the health and prosperity of my family.

Everyone in the family is sound in mind and body, pretty much. James nearly wasn't this morning, so I also feel lucky that the tosspot who drove into him only damaged his bumper. These sort of things are most definitely luck.

Everyone in the family who is supposed to be employed, is employed, and some even got new/better jobs this year. Those of us who work for ourselves are doing OK, and those who aren't working yet are studying hard.

We all love each other, and that's more important than anything.

The rest is just details.

In fact, simply that I am able to sit on a comfy chair, in a warm, pleasant room full of music and animals, and write this at a nice desk on a working computer, tells you that my life is absolutely amazing and fantastic, and better than 99% of human beings. Most of whom have some sort of misery, big or small, temporary or permanent, due to bad luck or self-inflicted choices. So I am grateful.

I'll tell you something else. 2014 is not what I thought it would be if I thought about it at all, say 20 or 30 years ago. In some ways we are FAR ahead of what I expected, and in others it's laughably still the same. Our phones are better than Captain Kirk's but I still don't have a bidet.

Anyway, I'm fit and happy and can pay the bills, and what more do you want?

And now for some absolutely bloody awful music. Your Christmas card is below.



  1. How interesting that even someone as prolific as you cannot crank it out on demand. As soon as deadlines or money is involved I freeze. With you on the gratitude.

  2. I can't do topic to order either, even if I'm in full flow. I need my muse.