Friday, December 14, 2012


Writing at Christmas.

Although my new book, Read and Buried, takes place at Christmas, there's another type of Christmas writing that's on my mind this morning. That's the annual ritual known as the Christmas letter.

I'm not an email greeting type of person. I love sending and receiving cards by old-fashioned snail mail. That goes for any occasion (and as my son will attest, I send cards for every possible event), but especially now as Christmas approaches. Since childhood, I've looked forward to the mail in anticipation of cards each day. I was indulged by my parents who allowed me to open anything that looked like a card and I guess that fueled the obsession.

These days, I rush to check the mail as soon as I hear the noisy closing of the mailbox lid. Every evening, I take a few minutes to look through the accummulated cards. And, I spend a long time reading and re-reading the annual Christmas letters that come from afar. What better way to stay in touch with family and friends, even though it is the Reader's Digest version of life.

I want to know what has happened during the year, what joys and sorrows have touched their lives, what matters enough for them to share it with me. I don't mind a form fact, that's what I send these days, although I do personalize each with specific questions and replies. I'm hoping those on my Christmas list also enjoy the annual 'catch up' letter. And, since I haven't heard otherwise, I'll continue writing them.

This year I'm down to the wire. My week's time-out in Victoria has pushed everything back by a week. I loved having an early Christmas out there, and although letter writing was on my list of things to do, there was never the opportunity. So, it's now or never.

Fiction writer turns to non-fiction. That's this morning's task. But it's more a pleasure because to me, a letter written on paper that arrives in the mail means so much more.

Call me old-fashioned. But send me that letter, please!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
A KILLER READ, also available at your favourite bookstores and online.

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