Below is a series of questions I’ve altered to be answered for this holiday season:
When did you begin thinking about what you’d write for the holiday season?
Actually, I never stop thinking about writing for the holidays. It’s that special time when both gift-giving and gift-receiving take place. Stories that generate warm feelings about both are filed away for then.
Assuming you found a story you wanted to tell, did it jolt or surprise you when it came?
After hearing the story, I thought about using it in this column although I wasn’t sure how I would do that. The story came during a lengthy conversation about my very close encounter with a flying saucer, about the special memory it created.
Did you offer to interview that person for this column?
In a word, yes. But I sensed a disinterest in being featured as a writer for this column. Giving an interview was an unattractive option. Nonetheless, I knew that the story would seem special to almost every author who read it.
What about making it into a short story? Did you suggest that?
I thought about doing that because there were only two main characters, one younger, one older. They were profoundly different in so many ways, yet connected in a way that was absolutely unique.
Did the story remind you of a story a famous writer might have told or may have written?
Indeed, it did! In fact, what struck me about the story was that it seemed to be about an experience that was as unique yet simple as some of the best stories that well-known storytellers may have written.
Had you ever written a story similar to this before?
Some were similar, but none were as memorable as this one. Although characters in my story may have been interesting and believable, the characters weren’t, well, three-dimensional as the ones in this one.
What were some difficulties you had to overcome to even think about writing about this?
Protecting anonymity. I questioned whether I would have been told this story if I didn’t or couldn’t do that. Some people disdain the limelight, want their life stories to remain very private. Although I’m not that way, I respect those who are.
Did this story involve one of your favorite writers?
Yes! In fact, that’s why I think the story is important enough to be considered a gift I want to share. Just to have heard it was a wonderful surprise for me. That’s why I connected it to a column about gift-giving. For me, it was a gift I will never forget.
Has this story been published anywhere else?
I’d bet that it hasn’t been. That’s another reason it’s so golden.
Will this be the first and last time you’ll write about it?
I’ve promised myself that it will be. But I will never forget it.
Finally, do you have any advice for writers who have had a similar encounter?
Just this. Should you receive a story as special as this, treat it with care. Don’t spoil its integrity with embellishment. And, if you share it, be mindful of the parts that must always be only yours to know. Finally, be grateful that you were chosen to receive it.
Being allowed to create and publish the Writers’ Page has been an experience that has delighted me. It’s fitting that this final column will appear during the holiday season. And it’s just as significant that I’ve been able to share my love for writing and for you who take the time to do it with my Writers’ Page.