I have written novels, but please don’t expect a Christmas card from me. They’re just too hard. I would rather stare at an empty screen awaiting a first page of a novel than look at a blank Christmas card.
“The message inside this card is blank.” Sod that. If I see that on the reverse of a card, it’s going back on the shelf. In the wrong section. What? You want me to do all the lying this festive season? I can’t rely on some nameless, faceless message-writer to fib a little on my behalf?
Christmas cards are the greatest works of fiction. First off, we lie just by purchasing them for some people, because we really don’t want to. Then we compound the lie by picking some pre-inscribed message we only vaguely agree with, or scrawling something of our own that’s rather less than heartfelt.
It’s a time of glad cheer,
Please ply me with beer,
Because you really get on my tits when I’m sober.
That’s the type of card I’d like to send. Okay, so it doesn’t scan too well at line 3, but it says what I want.
In Bethlehem long ago,
Jesus was born in a stable,
Actually, that’s a fable,
And anyway he wasn’t born in December the Christians hijacked the pagan winter solstice festival so they could impose their beliefs on people who just wanted to get pissed and overeat because Spring was coming.
Again, needs a bit of work, but it’s accurate.
At Christmas we should celebrate,
As the turkey you incinerate,
We’ve been together years,
And despite all my fears,
I haven’t yet been compelled to smother you with a pillow as you sleep though Lord knows I’ve come close.
I’m still falling down at the last line.
It may be that I just have trouble with short messages. As an erstwhile novelist, I struggle to keep things brief. I want to write. I want to say everything. Whenever I’ve had a complaint against a shop or a company, I’ve always won. My first letter defeats them and I get my money back. They just can’t bear the thought of receiving another War and Peace-length whinge from me so they cave in and send me a cheque. I think they sense I haven’t even started to express the depth of my feelings.
When they start making A4-size Christmas cards with multiple lined pages in them, I might enjoy writing them far more, although I’m pretty certain the recipients will enjoy receiving them far less.
As for signing my novels for the odd (strange-odd as well as occasional) person who asked for one, I developed a stock inscription to make things simpler: “Here. Here’s a book. Look, I signed it. Now please stop stalking me or I’m going to the police.”
Let’s see them try and sell those on eBay when I’m dead.