|As noted here, I’m commenting daily on the WMG Holiday Spectacular—which is a great project that releases a story every day. These might be reviews. Or not. They might be interesting. Or … um … not. They will be fun, though. For me, at least.
Here’s the next story.
This is what the Big Chill might have been if it crashed into The Holiday. I’m not sure that mash-up really works, but they were the first films to come to mind. I don’t know. Throw in a dash of a modern-day reboot of The Breakfast Club, and maybe the recipe works better. Go read it, and you can tell me.
Anyway. One of the things I’m growing to like about receiving a story a day is the way the controlled pace of the releases affects my sense of the broad array of tones and genres and messages that come around, even in a project as potentially homogeneous as a holiday theme. I’ve read for editorial purposes before, so the idea of such diversity of approach isn’t a shock at all. But in that vein—or when simply sitting down and reading an anthology—that approach has a velocity to it. Begin story, finish story, begin next story.
This Spectacular, however, enforces the taking only one chocolate from the basket each day. Or in the case of “Beast Feast,” one slice of bread from the loaf. That means that if you put your mind to it, you can spend a little time getting into the nooks and crannies of a piece.
In the case of “Beast Feast,” I think that ability to stop and think helped me a lot. It a story about chosen families. Full stop, do not pass go, Chosen with a capital C. The need to wait until tomorrow for the next story helped because this one isn’t one of those high-energy, in your face kind of pieces. Instead it’s kind of a slow simmer. And I have a small family that, on the whole gets along just fine. So, the feel of chosen family isn’t so easy for me to drop into on a dime. It takes me a while.
This is me saying that if I’d read this piece in a standard-issue book, I may well have read over it. Just kind of shrugged and moved on. But, as I took a walk, I thought about this story, and as I let the ideas inherent in it settle, I realized I was wrong. How many things are like that in our lives today? How many things do we miss out on because we’re just skimming along through the day and not taking time to fully absorb?
I don’t know, of course, and neither do you.
Anyway, as I was walking, I got to thinking about chosen families and what they mean. I got to thinking that chosen families are the people we feel most “ourselves” around, and that’s when I realized that, yes indeed, I do have a chosen family.
I’m talking about the collection of creators that I’ve been able to—at times—immerse myself into. I thought back on the last several years and about certain sets of co-workers who fit the mold, too, but mostly I’m overwhelmed at the vast armada of writers I’ve had the pleasure of being with—sitting around the Anchor dining room, or hotel bars, or workshop rooms, laughing, or collaborating, or just riffing. Feeling like it’s okay to do this weird thing that consists of essentially putting squiggly words on a piece of paper, having other people know how vulnerable that can make you while at the same time being so freeing. Enjoying the struggle, as it were.
My wife fits in this gathering, too, because she’s a top-flight copy editor who gets it. My daughter, too, fits, because she’s become quite the passionate and amazing writer. It’s so, so great to share that piece of our lives together.
But, yeah, I’ve got a chosen family.
And I can tell you this: it is beyond marvelous to get into the kitchen with them and watch them go about creating a feast as great as this little Spectacular.
So, thanks to you all, and in this case, thanks to Meyari McFarland for writing something that made me reconsider who I am and made me feel so good in the process of doing it.