Tuesday, December 22, 2015
The Sun. My grandmother read it to me many years ago. I've always remembered it. If you don't already know this piece, I hope you'll enjoy it. I also hope you'll have a Merry Christmas if that's what you're celebrating. And I hope you'll have a wonderful New Year. Thank you for being a Blogalicious reader.
Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's The Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial on September 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
Here's Virginia's letter:
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."
Here's the reply:
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
I have officially begun a new small press for poetry books—Terrapin Books. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. But I was put off by the various reasons for not doing it. Then I took myself by the neck and said, Just do it. This is your dream and only you can make it happen.
So I asked some questions of other small press publishers and happily received excellent guidance. The first task was to form an LLC. In years past, this would have required an attorney. Today it can be done online, quickly and easily. One job down. The next task was to get an FEIN (Federal Employer’s Identification Number) so I could open a bank account. I’ll also need that if I ever have paid staff. The next task was do obtain a state ID number. Done.
Then I opened a small business account at my bank. Terrapin Books now has official checks and a credit card.
Then came the creation of a website. Check it out. And then a Facebook page. Please give a Like.
I decided that my first book would be an anthology of doll poems. I created a Call for Submissions page at the website and posted notices here and there. Once the submission date arrived, the poems started rolling in. I was thrilled by their number and quality. The window closes on December 15, so if you are thinking of submitting, it’s now or never.
Some of the poets included so far: Jeffrey Harrison, Cecilia Woloch, Michael Waters, Nicole Cooley, and Patricia Fargnoli. (I can’t reveal more names as I haven’t yet sent out acceptances and rejections.) Nicole Cooley has agreed to write the Introduction and I could not be more thrilled with that. Nicole has written a number of stunning poems about dolls and is currently writing a non-fiction book about dolls. How perfect is that!
The next project will be some full-length poetry collections. Look for the Call for Submissions early in the new year. By that time I also plan to be using Submittable to make tracking easier for me and the poets submitting.
My intention is to publish fabulous poems by fabulous poets in beautiful books. Working collaboratively with the poets, I hope to get those books into the hands of many readers. How’s that for a lovely dream?
And oh yes, I also now have a rubber stamp with Terrapin Books and the mailing address. That really makes it official.