Well, it’s Christmas. Well, not really. Actually, as I write this, it is the twentieth. But since Christmas can be prevented only by the end of the world, the odds favor it coming round with this little missive floating down like a snowflake (or a grain of volcanic ash, depending on how you look at things).
I hope you gave people the things you wanted to give them. That of course is a terribly open wide, bend over kind of statement, but how others stuff stockings is none of my business.
Lots of people self medicate their way through the season. If alcohol was invented on a specific day, then I see none more appropriate than 25 December 0000. I imagine that back when the Lord walked, a constant intake of mead made living in an era where forty was extremely old, the Romans and their three-hundred gods were bossy thugs, and sanitary facilities were likely stone and thatch rat sanctuaries (which no doubt gave a different meaning to “Jingle Hop” and “Jingle Rock”) tolerable. I do not necessarily advocate drinking as the sole means of surviving the company of noismome persons you’d not seek to be around on any other winter day, for there are other drugs which can put a smile on your face and dull the edge of your tongue for as long as such abilities need to be available.
Anyway, whether you celebrate all twelve days or only go as far as watching the first ten minutes of Scrooged, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you.
This is the site’s last week of free range publishing in 2021. Until we resume regular posting the first week of 2022, the reader will be treated to a landslide of dubious material created by this dubious person as well as a classy western themed day by our own Tom Sheehan. Sanity will be restored on Monday, 3 January 2022. That happens to be my birthday. It is one of the worst locations possible for a child’s birthday because nine times in ten it is the dark and gloomy morning that students go back to school after Christmas break. Even children are weary of “special” events by 3 January. One kid tried to trump my 3 January with his 5 July. I pointed out that his birthday didn’t mean squat anywhere else in the world and that it was held in July, during summer vacation. I believe that darker observations on matters of character were also shared, but I really don’t remember.
But five things I will happily remember are the stories featured during this last normal week of 2021. We have one debut author plus four masters who have over 250 appearances between them–one has set a stunning year record that will be difficult to top.
Marco Etheridge opened Monday with Quiet Longed For, and You. This is Marco’s fifteenth and there are more to come. This piece is one where the title says what it is about, but with every unfolding emotion and displaced thought, it grows into another example of the personal style that Marco excels at.
We ran out of year before Yashar Seyedbagheri ran out of quality stories. On Tuesday Yash clocked in with Step. That made 41 this year. Although there have been some big numbers in the past, none rate higher than the one Yash put up. He writes with great economic flow and I doubt that there are many more than fifty combined words in his list of titles. It’s difficult to imagine Yash getting by people who visit the site, but if that is the case with you, please check him out.
Another inescapable LS writer is Tom Sheehan. On Wednesday his latest, Too Lonely For Dying showed that after all his successes he still has something new to show the reader. Tom’s 150th will open next year, and I can think of no finer birthday present to open.
James Hanna’s Biff Malibu strutted onsite, Thursday. It contains the wry humor so often displayed by James in his eighteen site stories. And it is also a fine tribute to a marriage in which there is still humor and playfulness after so many years.
Lone newcomer Mark Scofield closed the week and year with Horseshoes and Hand Grenades on Friday, Christmas Eve. It is fitting that his entertaining tale of “closeness” should mark the end of one year and open a link to the next. We are all about our old friends, but we also head into the future looking forward to meeting new ones, such as Mark.
Although some of what I’ve just written will appear again in one form or another below, I sincerely wish Diane, Hugh, Nik, Mike, James, Tom, Yash, Marco and all our authors, submitters, readers and Imaginary Friends who live in bottle a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
We are thrilled and excited to bring the news that our long term friend and now editor Leila Allison has reached the dizzying record of 100 stories on the site.
This is incredible and in honour of this amazing feat we are giving Leila a week of her own to publish whatever she chooses with no need to have the works pass through the acceptance stage. They have been automatically accepted and we are absolutely convinced that whatever we have to read in the next week will be the same amazing, thought provoking, amusing, touching stuff as she has presented us with over the last 100 submissions.
When we first began to receive submissions from Leila we knew there was something special there. Her imaginations, skill in world building and memory alone has me in awe. Her ability to write an amusing piece about talking goats (who can’t type) and gruesome(ish) turkeys and then to present us with something equally as wonderful but now moving and heartfelt about dementia, drug addition and loss is a wonderful gift. We are so lucky to have her as a contributor, an editor and a friend. Leila thank you for all that you have done and are doing for the site. x
I can only echo what Diane has said about our lovely enigmatic Leila!! I don’t know if I could cope with living in her imagination, I reckon I would be so overwhelmed and confused that I would just sit down in a corner and drink copious amounts of alcohol. (So no change there then!)
I would like to be clever and say that I can spot a common theme through Leila’s work. What is brilliant is there is but there isn’t. Her exploration of consciousness is a joy to read. Leila takes all her commentary and wraps it up in the most unique and inventive way. This makes every one of her stories fresh and a joy to read.
Leila explores all aspects of life, from the tragic, to maybe the only thing we sometimes have, acceptance. Again she does this beautifully. Any writer could learn off of her about having a voice but letting the reader consider whatever multitude of topics she takes on. Leila makes complexity fun and interesting, it is never tedious or confusing.
This lady is an astounding writer. To have a hundred stories accepted on our site is phenomenal but she has went even better than that – One hundred consecutive acceptances! -Well, I don’t think there are any words. No-one will ever do that again!!
Leila the writer is the same as Leila the lady – She is a brilliant, amazing one-off!
Many many congratulations!
My life is so much more interesting for knowing you!
Just to let you know folks.
Leila’s stories will take centre stage from tomorrow and run through to the 2nd January.
We will be back as normal from Monday 3rd.
Have a wonderful time through the holidays and be sure to read Leila’s stories!!!
p.s. We might be taking a very short break from publishing daily but we’ll still be checking our emails so keep the submissions coming.
Ah Christmas. I do not know it if is the most wonderful day of the year but it is certainly the most contradictory. We observe the birth of Jesus Christ, who was likely to have been born in the spring; we temporarily behave as we should all the time until the alcohol or until the relatives we normally avoid piss us off; we tell the kids a lie that only a three-year-old would swallow because they are too young to understand the beauty of the True Spirit of Christmas.
Never too early to teach the kids how to lie about the beauty and True Spirit of Living.
Then you have persons who spit on Christmas yet still use it to fatten up their bottom lines. Still, with all those little shadows hanging to the thing I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year anyway. Not because I feel that doing so will move me an inch closer to Heaven, but because I honestly do not like to see pain and sadness. Most people want the best for others. Perhaps our species will evolve to the point where most people will act to fix pain and sadness in others, even that of their enemies.
Some kind things have been said about me in this post. I’m one of those who blushes and hides whenever people say good things about me. I’m fairly used to the opposite and better equipped when it comes to topping scorn. Still, what Hugh and Diane wrote moves me, and it is greatly appreciated though I can only say thank you in a seemingly cheap fashion. I will state that if people were more like Hugh, Diane and Nik the world would be a far less shitty place.
This coming week I am lucky enough to have a run of stories which will bring me to a hundred. When I first started to write I saw myself becoming if not a wealthy novelist, at least a working writer who could support herself without taking on a soulless job. I wasn’t aware that one person in three on a planet of billions had the same objective; I wasn’t aware that for every Stephen King there are twenty O. Henry’s dying young and alone in a hotel room, with nine empty rye bottles under the bed. Success is difficult to come by; and when you get a small taste of it you sniff it with great suspicion.
Regardless, each story this week has some sort of introduction glued to its head like a paper mache horn fixed to the head of a Pygmy Goat who wants to be a Unicorn. They exist because, well, just because. Which puts them one up on Santa Claus.
It’s now time to hang the Christmas “Lites”: Marlboro and Coors.