Family and/or Autobiography, On Writing

Block Party

Blocks!Always be careful what you wish for. Last year, when I secretly decorated the house for Christmas (as documented in a recent issue of The Boston Globe Magazine) I was filled with a sense of personal triumph.

Ha HA! I thought. The house is decorated exactly the way I like it!

Little did I know that last year’s bit of derring-do would lead to a new family tradition: I am now The Official Holiday Decorator. In other words, my wife no longer cares where the carolers go.

So while Ellen educated young minds and Alex nursed his post nasal Niagara Falls, I set up the village, manger, Santas, sleds, fake packages, and our ever-growing platoon of Lenox snowmen.

I decided that my new decorating responsibility also included throwing out all the holiday doodads that sprinkle glitter over my freshly vacuumed floor. Which reminds me:

Dear Extended Family,

If you send me a card with glitter on it, it’ll go in the trash before it gets out of the envelope. Merry Christmas!

Your pal, Mike

Long story short, decorating is a big job, but I do enjoy it. And, once in a while, a holiday decoration can create some fun, unexpected puzzle time.

BlocksEllen bought these blocks at a post-holiday sale last year. She packed them away before they could properly go on display so I didn’t know what they were supposed to spell.

Blocks 2“NOEL” seemed like a logical place to start.

Blocks 3But the end result left something to be desired.

I could also spell out “SILENT.” But, what was left didn’t make much sense.

Blocks 4It did, however, fill my brain with amusing images of a tow truck driver who moonlights as a mime.

This one captures the spirit of a contemporary Christmas…

Blocks let's own itThis one not so much…

Blocks silt town It does, however, conjure up images of a charming fishing village — like Cabot Cove, but without all of the serial killing.

By this point I had figured out that the blocks were supposed to spell “LET IT SNOW,” but I no longer cared. I was having too much fun.

Blocks o lint stewMmm! Just the way Mom used to make it!

Blocks toilets nowI support this cause.

And then there’s this one:

Blocks stolen witI often feel this way when I need to write an amusing blog post the morning after I spend half the night decorating the house.

I better go sleepy now.

 

Family and/or Autobiography, On Writing

Confessions of a Stealth Holiday Decorator

Illustration by Gracia Lam
Illustration by Gracia Lam. Isn’t it great?

Never in my life have a sold a personal essay so quickly. I sent “Confessions Of A Stealth Holiday Decorator” to The Boston Globe Magazine on a lark, hoping they’d take an interest. Within a week, the magazine bought it. Two weeks later it was in print and online.

The timing could not have been better, either, for I had been in a bit of a dry spell, unable to get nibbles on my creative writing. The submission process always has a lot of ebb and flow, of course, but 2015 had a heckuva lot of ebb.

Long story short, Boston gave me the most wicked awesome Christmas present ever.

Read the story here!

 

 

Book News, On Blogging

Oh, Right! A Holiday!

It’s Thanksgiving time! As most of your know, I have written a book about Thanksgiving. As a result, I’ve been busy doing my Author Visit Dog and Pony Show. This has made me less available on this blog and elsewhere.

Sorry about that. Once I finish sleeping off the effects of the dark meat, I promise my behavior will change.

This guy's goin' down.
This guy’s goin’ down.

Upon my return, I will tell Christmas stories! I will revisit the phenomenon that is H.A.C.K.S! And I will desperately attempt to fulfill my very last New Year’s Resolution!

In the meantime, allow me to get into the spirit of the holiday by telling you all how thankful I am for having so many funny, thoughtful, and supportive blog pals. You make doing this great fun.

Enjoy your holiday!

And nothing makes a holiday more enjoyable than getting an author some residuals!
And nothing makes a holiday more enjoyable than giving a deserving  author some residuals! Just sayin’.