Monday, December 12, 2011
Writers Christmas Party 2011
On Saturday the 10th of December, 2011, our little family opened our home to writers from two weekly writing groups and beloved friends alike, some of the later dating back decades. We chose the date for its practicality -- as the holiday draws near, life for most goes from hectic to frenetic, so we figured an earlier time would work best. We decorated our home with great joy, like a couple of kids -- our Christmas tree is covered in vintage hand-blown glass bulbs from Germany, tied to the boughs with silk ribbon. The puzzle table with antique nativity and other decorations would serve to hold presents for our big Yankee Swap.
The kitchen table - Before. The paper I purchased to wrap my Yankee Swap gift was so beautiful, at the 11th Hour I decided it would also make a great tablecloth. My two new Oleg Cassini crystal candlesticks, an early Christmas present, made the perfect centerpiece. When the light hits them...wow!
Another look -- Before.
The living room - Before.
A different view. To the right of our flat screen are the gorgeous purple and gold Christmas boxes that our gourmet candy delivery came in, a gift from our lovely friends from England, Craig and Sim Saunders. Craig Saunders is a brilliant fellow author and has numerous novels out and due, including Rain and the fantastic Scarecrow and the Madness.
Our antique tiger maple server -- the marble top is about to be transformed into a 'candy bar.'
Guests began to arrive, and food came out of the oven, cherry-seltzer punch with lemon slices was made, and voila -- a Christmas buffet unlike any other!
Among the spread were: slow-cooked ham (a giant...that got devoured down to the bone), twice-baked potatoes, jumbo shrimp and cocktail sauce, three types of pasta (including a vegetarian-friendly version with capers that was out of this world!), veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, salads, baby rolls and butter, a wonderful sweet cardamom bread, apple and butternut soup, chips, sides, and desserts that stretched from one end of the counter to the next!
The candy bar idea came to me with the theme. Holidays, Willie Wonka, candy canes -- and it turned out being lovely.
Our wonderful guests arrived, some 17 in all. We dined, drank punch, sodas, and fresh coffee, ate some more, and then opened presents during our Yankee Swap.
Nom-nom-nom say Rebecca Pope (r), Anthony Catino (r), Abe Drayton (l), and Lorrie Lee O'Neill (l), award-winning and uber-published modern phenom.
Writers attacking the spread like zombies on Sunday nights on the AMC network.
Douglas Poirier, whose fantastic short story "Peng" is set to appear in Wicked East Press's homage to all-things-dragon, Here There Be Dragons, wrangles with choosing one of the more femininely-designed gift wrappings.
Scribe Delia Moran decides she'd rather swipe the Sol Stein writing book I snagged than get Gone With the Wind and do calligraphy. I wound up with a most-excellent copy of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (ironic, as I'm always telling new writers to commit that book to memory!). And then thirteen of us read our stories and novel chapters on the theme of 'Candy' -- a great and varied entertainment portion of the party, as always.
The party went well into the evening, becoming a soiree. And when our last guest left and I cleaned up, put away food, and returned the house to its usual sparkly nature, I had a bit of help -- from our oldest helper, Ms. Chicken.
As things wrapped, I sneaked into my Writing Room to check emails and saw that my story "Foodie" -- written last Christmas -- had been accepted into M. Christian's anthology, A Lover's Feast: Sensual Food Tales. The perfect end to a wonderful Christmas party, perhaps one of the best group gatherings ever!