Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Dec 20 2004

One Dead Tree: $200

Remember the shipment of Christmas trees that went from Oregon to Hawaii, along with a mainland snake? That, or maybe something else, has escalated the going rate for a holiday tree in Hawaii.

posted at: 14:01 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Illegal Alien Means Illegal Driver

I don't quite understand the concept of Dark Mondays. Why should legal residents and citizens of the state inconvenience themselves further because a group of illegal aliens want to break the law and still receive rewards and privileges for it? I wish someone could explain it to me in a way that makes sense. So far, no one has.

posted at: 13:36 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Christmas Is For Everyone

As we head into the home stretch toward December 25, it's interesting to watch people and see what their priorities are this week. Yesterday we headed out to buy some baking supplies, and a few bulk items from Costco, and we decided, on the spur of the moment, to stop in at Circuit City and see what electronics were on sale. We encountered the most eclectic mix of people I've ever seen in that store. There was a couple, both dark-haired, who had gone to extreme lengths to match. She had dyed her long hair purple and he had dyed his goatee the same shade. One tall man who wandered the computer section wore a black leather jacket, long hair in dreadlock-style braids, sunglasses and a blue bandanna wrapped around his forehead. There were Caucasian grandmas in casual fleece suits and Asian college students in Gap tops and jeans. I heard Australian accents mingling with Southern California drawl.

Actually, the Costco too, had quite a mix of shoppers. One older man had come in and chosen more goodies than he could comfortably carry without a shopping cart. He was struggling to balance one more thing in his grip as he smiled at me and shook his head. The football game on the big screens drew a crowd of both shoppers and folks who only wanted to see the game. I passed two college-age guys several times. They were filling their cart with food and paperware. The second time we were in an aisle at the same time I heard one of them laugh and say to the other, "Yeah, I feel like getting drunk today." It was spoken a little loudly and came off like an attempt to get a look from those of us shopping nearby. I was nearly trampled a couple of times when shoppers spotted the stations at the ends of aisles where free samples of smoked links, muffins and party spreads were being passed out in little paper cups. You could have made a meal off the sum of the tastes, and I suspect that's exactly what some of the more aggressive shoppers were doing.

The shoppers I saw yesterday ranged from list-checking over-achievers to those just out to mingle and see what was out there this last Sunday before Christmas. The U.S. economy has been hard-hit the last couple of years, and many are missing a loved one this holiday season because of the troops who are still stationed in Iraq and other places. The news is full of explosions, mergers, prescription drug warnings and murders. Somehow, we manage to suspend belief for a little while when we go into the stores and we become part of a kind of impromptu circus where we mingle with strangers and touch one another's lives in ways we sometimes can't even touch with our own family and co-workers sometimes. It's bizarre, and yet we're drawn into it year after year.

I got up this morning and saw a piece from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the contrasts between Christmas now and Christmas in 1904. Now we have more traffic, more sales, more stores, more media, and maybe more money exchanging hands. But I noticed the similarity of the wish for happy endings. As a writer, I know a lot about endings, and I know that they can't always be perfectly happy. But it seems as though any time people absorb a story, we go into it with the subconscious wish that something, no matter how small, will turn out right in the end. Even writers in the horror genre will tell you that some hope must remain in order for the story to do its job of scaring the socks off readers. If the characters have no hope and no sense of the possibility of deliverance from the evil, there's no true conflict, and so there's no real story there.

Even people who don't believe that the birth of Jesus was the extraordinary birth of a divine being want this same sense of a happy ending. And whatever we all manage to make the Christmas season mean for us, we know that underneath the wrappings and the lights and the music there is still a universal need for relief and deliverance, and a need for celebration. If we believe that Jesus saves us, we gain a great gift. But even those who choose not to believe receive a great gift of a season that includes a hope for happy endings and a purpose to all the conflict in life. So when you get out there and have to deal with the traffic and the crowds this week, take heart. It might look like one big mess, but it's actually a lot of people who realize that Christmas really does have something for everyone and that we're all in this together.

posted at: 09:11 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!