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Editorial
Writing You a Very Merry

 
Merry, uh, festival. No, uhm, Merry Delights, ah no. Uhm, Merry Holidays....
I don't scare very easily anymore. But last week, at dinner with "the girls," Maxine -- perhaps the best behaved of all of us -- managed just fine.

"I want to start my own business," she said.

Oh, gibber, gibber. What do I say? Fledgling entrepreneurs, do not model yourselves on me. Several very kind people once taught me everything you're supposed to know about business plans, traffic to sales ratios, marketing and all that good stuff. But I never put their sage advice into operation. I can't handle another day job! Nooooooo, Nooooooo…

"That's great," I said. "What kind of business did you have in mind?"

"I like to write. Not the kind of writing you do, but actual handwriting. I find writing by hand relaxing. So I thought there might be a market for someone who could write Christmas cards for people. Invitations and notes, too. I could do it while I was watching TV."

Maxine barely finished speaking before Nancy raised her hand. "Me!" Nancy said. "I can be your first customer. Where do I sign up?"

As the word of what Maxine's plans spread, she soon received more promises of business than she could possibly handle. If even half of them pan out, she may never need my questionable expertise. Which works for me. I could really use someone to take care of my holiday card list, too.

But I couldn't help thinking about the irony of the situation. In historic times, clerks and secretaries made a good living doing what most people could not: reading and writing.

Today, most people take reading and writing for granted. Maxine's would-be customers, in particular, don't lack for "book learning." Most of these folks can claim authorship of several books and book-length government reports, even if their names don't appear on the title pages. Many of them can read and write in several human languages. On a daily basis, they interface with computers so advanced they practically qualify as artificial intelligences. Speaking of Basis, a lot of them can write that, too.

But they all lack time. Big time. So cycle of luxury turns back to where it started and writing -- the simple act of scribing letters on a page -- becomes the ultimate mark of privilege and a gift to be treasured.

However you choose to send your holiday greetings -- inscribed on glittering card stock or through the North Pole's email server -- the staff and writers of Crescent Blues wish you and yours the very best of the season and a happy, healthy 2004!

Jean Marie Ward

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