Today, it's all about what was given to me, not taken away (i.e., the Grinch that stole One Life to Live and All My Children). Santa brought me the above T-shirt, dark gray with white writing. It's the most expensive T-shirt I've ever owned, but it sure makes me happy to wear my 'Type Writer' tee. Also given by St. Nick (or his helper) -- fine-point red sharpies for editing, two exquisite Oleg Cassini crystal candlesticks, various designer folders (a dozen in a deep shade of plum with hounds tooth pattern, another dozen in deep primary colors...file folders are my big writerly office supply fetish), and a copy of Sol Stein's fantastic book, Stein on Writing.
The lovely authoress Lee-Ann Vincent gave me a wonderful Christmas Day interview at her blogsite, Writing Commando.
A reviewer at Asylum Windows gave my novella "The Mushrooms" in MalContents by the fine folk at Grand Mal Press a fantastic review. I quote:
Next up is The Mushrooms by Gregory L. Norris. When a crazed woman attacks a celebrity chef over claims of plagiarism, the TV host retreats to an isolated cottage in order to recuperate, only to discover it isn’t the safe haven she thought it was.
This is a very well written story and Norris does a fine job of creating an atmosphere of claustrophobic terror within the cottage. He also displays considerable skill in handling a bizarre concept that could have easily come off as b-grade in lesser hands.
Myself: Last night I gave myself a long-overdue gift. I grew up in a tiny enchanted cottage in Windham, New Hampshire, set before a vast, mysterious wood where, I believe, my imagination was given free reign to explore and grow. In that house on Christmas Eves, my mother routinely set out bowls of mixed nuts (in the shell), grapes and fruit, homemade brownies, and Lebanese meat pies, the triangular kind. With the leftover dough from the meat pies, she made Crispellies -- little fried dough balls with anchovy at the center. The tree would be lit, and our little house would resonate with Christmas music and a sense of wonder. It's been thirty-six years since one of those magical Christmas Eves...last night, I made Lebanese meat pies, Crispellies, homemade brownies, laid out a bowl of mixed nuts and a platter of grapes and fruit and, from the first bite until the last, it was like being a kid again in that house.
From the Muse: For all of 2011, my Muse has been a constant companion -- equal parts taskmaster, lover, brute, and soul mate. In the early part of the year, while battling a bout of creative exhaustion worsened by not one but two visits by a cold-plague that refused to be easily vanquished, the Muse routinely took me to lunch at a local Chinese buffet, where we would sit and write for hours, enjoying a delightful spread with some of the best hot and sour soup on the planet, first-class lo mein and appetizers, and a placid, cozy setting two blocks from my front door. In May, to commemorate my 900th completed work of fiction (short story, novella, novel, screen- or teleplay), the Muse whisked me back through time to my childhood, forward into the future to the wacky world of Lost in Space. My hundred-mark stories have always been fan fiction-based; I put fountain pen to paper and belted out a 12,000-word novella, "Lost and Found," that's been sitting in my card catalog of unwritten ideas since 1982, when a dream about the Robinson clan trapped on an icy, dark planet populated by gargoyle-like creatures found its way onto one of those story note cards. It was my pleasure -- and my audience's, apparently, given their reaction -- to read the effort aloud on Friday nights for the month and a half that followed.
Muse also romanced me (and kicked my butt) during the writing of, appropriately, The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse, my forthcoming monster-sized collection from Evil Jester Press. As of this entry, together we have completed seventy fiction projects, the short and the long. There's a good bet the number will rise somewhat in the next week. And then it's on to the adventures of 2012!
Today, the family is together in our lovely home, the Christmas tree lit, an exquisite feast planned for later this afternoon that includes prime rib, scallops, and mashed potatoes with spinach and garlic. We're also headed to the movies to see The Darkest Hour. Between now and then, Muse and I are having some quiet time with coffee and our annual Christmas Day date, when I pen a full story to completion. We first hung out together and accomplished this in 1980 with "Under the Streetlight," a paranormal tale whose ancient first draft still lurks in the big gray lateral-drawer filing cabinet in my Writing Room.
Happiest of Holidays, all -- and may your presents be as wonderful!