21 December 2011
by Robert Lopresti
That title is not yet another blow in the war against Christmas (which seems, oddly enough, to be doing just fine in spite of all the worriers). Instead I want to think about tying books or stories to specific holidays. I believe I tried it exactly once, with a story tied to the British custom of telling ghost stories around Christmas Eve. Alas, that story remains in my ever-increasing pile of stories waiting for a good home.
Is a holiday story more or less marketable than any other kind? Beats me. On the one hand, you may be reducing your odds to, say, one issue out of twelve for the year. On the other hand, the editor might really want something thematic for that issue. Certainly Christmas is the obvious one, since we as a nation seem to obsess about Noel for a longer period every year. (In a short story called "The Black Whatever" James Powell suggested this was part of a conspiracy by Santa Claus... that was yet another Christmas story, of course.)
I suppose the person who should be writing about this subject is our own R.T. Lawton, since he write a series of stories about a couple of very dumb criminals who specialize in holiday burglaries (the latest was titled "Labor Day.")
Maybe my problem with all this is that the holidays that mean the most to me tend to fail to show up on the pre-printed calendars. For example, I always enthusiastically celebrate Bike To Work And School Day, which you may not have heard of, but it's a big deal among my friends, and my wife .helped start it.
Which brings me to the actual subject of this piece (and about time). You see, we are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this week. You won't find that on anyone's calendar but ours, and I am pleased to report there are no crime stories associated with it.
So that's what I will be celebrating. Oh, and Chanukah, too; we're multi-tasking. As for the rest of you, I hope your days are merry, happy, bright, and joyful.