This post, by Jeff Bennington, originally appeared on The Writing Bomb on 12/11/11.
Back in the day, before the Internet, global warming and eReaders, an old friend of mine who goes by the name of St. Nicholas, aka Santa Claus, wanted to write a book. He enjoyed reading the old classics such as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Frosty the Snowman and the ever popular, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He wasn’t trained in the craft of literature by any means, but he certainly had an appreciation for the literary arts.
As you can imagine, the Christmas season would take its toll on the old-butter ball. So after the packages were delivered, the cookies eaten and the payroll met (damn elves had formed a union and nearly brought the north pole into bankruptcy court), my holly-jolly friend would find himself kicked back in his leather BarcaLounger with a stiff drink and a good book. While reading, and slowly getting buzzed, he’d dream up his own novels. His love for the story, or perhaps his bout with ADHD, would send him into a dream state where his mind did a dance, forming new characters and worlds and plots that only he could imagine.
You see, Santa had lived quite a life. He had many stories to tell, you know, the usual world-traveler fare: fine dining, the occasional holiday mascot kidnapping/ransom thingy and Colombian cigs. Finally, his vast experiences and love of the arts had come to a head. He took one more drunken sip of his Jack-n-Coke and rang his little jingle bell that he kept near his side at all times.
The bell rang and a sexy little elf strutted into his private quarters and humbly bowed before the saint. He asked her to get him his old typewriter. She suggested he use the new MAC laptop that had recently come in from R & D. He smiled, parting his beard with his happy lips and his eyes beamed. Minutes later, after a brief tutorial, old Santa was off and running, well, typing actually.
His life-long dream of writing a hard-boiled crime fiction series had begun. Words came to him fast and furious, whipping through his thoughts and into the computer like Balzac on his sixth cup of coffee (look him up). Day after day he crafted his series, finally giving him the sense of fulfillment he had always longed for.
He once told me that bringing presents to those snot-nose brats year after year had lost its glam decades ago. But writing had ignited a spark in him. He had discovered that he wasn’t a saint after all, but rather, a novelist, a gosh-darn-can-you-believe-it novelist.