Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What do I really want for Christmas?

Besides world peace and a cancer cure? Besides affordable electric cars and pollution solutions? Besides the government controlling its spending? Besides bookstore gift cards with many, many zeroes? Besides the socks and other garment essentials I bought and wrapped and addressed to myself and placed under the tree just so I’d have something to open on Christmas day? (My husband and I this year are buying a car stereo with a CD player that actually works for our gifts to each other.) Yes, and besides having my first novel in my popsicle-cold fingers, and besides having it be successful beyond my wildest imagination? (I’m not asking too much, am I?)

Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Really. This itty-bitty book about writing and grammar costs less than $10, is sized appropriately to fit in a stocking, and it’s been on my wish list for more than a decade. (Okay, yes, my list of wishes, and those of other family members, is written down and posted where my husband can find it easily.) The book joins other wishes like a glass cutting board and a mess kit for camping, dish towels and matching bedroom furniture and a ping pong table. Yet somehow, the book gets overlooked.

But my husband is not all to blame. When I get a bookstore gift card (usually there’s just the one zero, and I’m plenty grateful), I spend it on other books, fiction books by my favorite authors. And when I’m writing and need ol’ Strunk and White, I visit my local library, where the book is typically waiting for me on the shelf.

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