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COLUMNS: Coffee on the Deck: The Editor's Ramblings on the Writing Life | Crafting Fabulous Fiction, by Victoria Grossack

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Coffee on the Deck
by Moira Allen

December 6, 2012:

Every November, various members of my family start asking me what I want for Christmas. I'm considered a bit "hard to buy for." I don't need knick-knacks -- my shelves are already crammed full of china cats and various odds and ends I've picked up either (a) around the world or (b) at Goodwill. I don't want anyone else picking out clothes for me. The idea of a blender in the latest designer colors does not excite me. My husband usually finds an interesting bit of jewelry for me, but reserves that privilege for himself. So I am forced to make a list of other "wants."

Travel, for instance. There are many places in the world that I have yet to visit, so it would be nice to receive tickets to those destinations. A touch of time-travel would be especially welcome; much as I'd like to visit Venice, for instance, I'd be even more delighted to visit it in, say, the 14th century. I'd love to make a visit to Victorian Britain as well, though I certainly wouldn't want to live there...

Knowledge would be another fine gift. There are loads of things I'd like to learn more about. Right now, I'm exploring the Silk Road, thanks to a recent visit to the Smithsonian. Perhaps after that I could be gifted with a trip to London, or Paris, or Rome. I'm not picky.

Inspiration is always welcome. I should not say no to the opportunity of being uplifted, encouraged, or, perhaps, challenged. Provided, of course, it is done well and in the right spirit!

I certainly would enjoy being amused and entertained. Bring it on! Make me laugh. Make me cry. In this, I am surely as demanding as Scheherazade's husband -- I expect to be entertained lavishly and unfailingly, night after night. 1001 nights won't even begin to cut it! Keep it coming, I say!

I would not mind participating in the solution of a heinous crime or two, provided that the process can be accompanied by a cup of tea and a biscuit (though I frown upon the unnecessary addition of sixteen biscuit recipes to the process).

I would greatly enjoy having an intelligent conversation with a cat. As it stands, I have many conversations with my cat, and each of us, I am certain, regards our own portion of the conversation as "intelligent," but has grave doubts about the contribution of the other.

A lively craft class would not be amiss, or perhaps some instruction in cookery.

And the list goes on and on. World travel, world-class entertainment, gourmet feasts, in a never-ending atmosphere of learning and inspiration... well, who wouldn't put such things on their Christmas wish-list?

Of course, I also realize that if I were to actually present this list to my relatives, they might start to imagine that I am even stranger than... well, than they already imagine. (And I suspect some of them imagine that I'm pretty strange. Possibly, some of you imagine this as well!)

So, instead, I smile and hand my relatives a book-list. And with that, they are happy, for they realize that they can fulfill my "Christmas wishes" with nothing more than a short visit to Amazon -- and, if they buy used, with very little actual financial outlay.

And I am happy, because I know that I'm going to get everything I wanted. And then some.

So with that, I will add one more item to my wish list: That all your holiday dreams come true, and that this season be one of infinite blessings.

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Copyright © 2012 Moira Allen

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Moira Allen is the editor of Writing-World.com, and has written nearly 400 articles, serving as a columnist and regular contributor for such publications as The Writer, Entrepreneur, Writer's Digest, and Byline. An award-winning writer, Allen is the author of eight books, including Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Writer's Guide to Queries, Pitches and Proposals, and Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. In addition to Writing-World.com, Allen hosts Mostly-Victorian.com, a growing archive of articles from Victorian periodicals, and The Pet Loss Support Page, a resource for grieving pet owners. She lives in Maryland with her husband and the obligatory writer's cat. She can be contacted at editors "at" writing-world.com.

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