Monday, December 10, 2018

Yes, Virginia

Each Christmas I like to revisit the following essay from the 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 or whatever you're celebrating this year. 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?


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.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Keeping Up the Pace at Terrapin Books

I’ve been staying busy and out of trouble at Terrapin Books. Three new books are in various stages of progress. Gary J. Whitehead’s Strange What Rises is scheduled to appear January 15 and is currently available for Pre-Order. It’s fabulous!

Ann Fisher-Wirth’s The Bones of Winter Birds should appear mid-February. It’s also fabulous! Then I’m about to begin editing Sarah Wetzel’s manuscript, currently titled All My Davids, and hope to have that book out March/April. Need I say that it, too, will be fabulous?

Any among you who are interested in having a poetry book published by Terrapin Books should mark your calendar for our next open reading period: January 24, 2019 - February 28, 2019. Check out the Guidelines and get your manuscript ready for submission. There is a minimal $12 submission fee to defray some of our expenses. This fee has remained at $12 since I began the press.

Terrapin will also be offering another publishing opportunity: an anthology of poems about kissing. This collection will be edited by me, Diane Lockward. The submission period will be February 13, 2019 - March 20, 2019. Check out the Guidelines. There is no submission fee for the anthology. Now pucker up, pick up your pen, and write some wonderful poems. We will accept both new and previously published poems for the anthology.

A number of people have asked me about an ebook for The Practicing Poet. I’m happy to tell you that the ebook is now also available at Amazon. It includes everything that’s in the print book except the Index which is replaced by links in the Table of Contents.

The print edition of The Practicing Poet, of course, also remains available. Keep it in mind as a holiday gift for the poets in your life.

The Practicing Poet has received a wonderful Review by Barbara Ellen Sorensen at Mom Egg Review. This review is beautifully comprehensive and positive.

Of the book as a whole, Sorensen says, "Lockward expertly organizes knowledge, ideas, and experiences of 113 disparate poets, and tightly melds together their work and advice. Sharing is the key word here and the generosity of the contributing poets is nothing short of breathtaking. Indeed, magnanimity is the cornerstone of this book."

Sorensen describes the prompts as "so lively and enjoyable, the reader will find herself stopping incessantly to work on them. The Practicing Poet imbues poetry with mysterious yet attainable virtues. The reader will want to carry around this book and reference it, often."

Of the craft tips she says they "indeed epitomize the fact that everyone’s writing style is vastly different and utterly dependent upon what is going on in their lives. Lockward is inclusive of poets who dare to assert the notion that even a great poet can “accept a line as a productive day.”

Needless to say, that review made me very happy. I’m sending the reviewer a bunch of kisses.

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