All I want for Christmas

santa

It’s simple: All I really want for Christmas this year is the total eradication of racism and xenophobia in the United States. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, but it’s not looking too good this Christmas…I belong to a huge, vibrant, extended family comprised of many colors, races, religions, beliefs, gender identification and differing countries (and continents) of origin, and I do not want to see a single one of my relatives (or friends) mocked, shamed, slighted, harassed or physically attacked just because of what they look like. Enough already! We’re all human beings, can’t we all just try to get along?

And as for Santa… Bet you didn’t know he was married to a beautiful woman of color, but he is. At least according to my own personal Christmas myth…

I also want to devote this holiday post to readers, who are the best gifts a writer can hope for. No whining or prognosticating about the publishing industry today (that’s next week). And not just my readers, but readers in general: Serious readers, people who live to read; people who savor intelligent and illuminating prose; people who do not think twice about spending $29.95 on a work of fiction, people who read through dinner, who read on trains and buses and subways (but please not while driving); people who invest in bookplates, and respect their books. People who read and appreciate poetry: Now there’s a special breed! This group does not include those who will download a book, whip through it then return it for a refund; or win a book in a giveaway only to immediately resell it on eBay: No, you serious readers—and I’m going to assume everyone reading this is, because you probably are—are the salt of the earth. You are more precious than diamonds, and seemingly as scarce. We cannot go on without you.

I am myself a serious reader; every writer has an obligation to be one. And I admit, being a hardcore reader is hard sometimes, with the distractions posed by media, movies, TV, Internet, not to mention actual life, which gets pretty messy sometimes. But serious readers know the hidden benefits of their passion: Satisfaction, escapism, enlightenment, calmness, and emotional fulfilment. But we need more readers. Parents need to not only  read to their children every night, but also to read in front of them, showing by example. Your children will take notice, and hopefully will follow your lead.

And it will make Santa—and Mrs. Santa—very happy.

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