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Grinch
Grinch (Mouse Over)

(Kim: Yes. It is a more a Grinch to Christmas than to the idea of giving.)

Hi back,

I love the specificity of your comments. That you will start on your sketch after you take out the garbage.

I hardly think someone who collects money to make sure the office workers at a community college received useful holiday recognition is a grinch.

It is important to give to the people who need it. Which could include a bank president. It is not important to give to people who don't, just to follow form.

But I honestly don't know anyone who doesn't like getting a present, even if it is a jar of honey or a box of tea.

Me, I like to open things. I get very excited unwrapping paper. It almost doesn't matter what is under the wrapping.

Sunday night, I gave P a chef's apron which had all sorts of pastas imprinted on it and an orange. The orange was wrapped in the apron, the apron was wrapped in paper.

She was most excited about the apron. I was most excited about the orange. And about giving her something and about how excited she was to get it.

So there you go.

joan


Kim: Just in time. Were you watching me on my Web cam? I am ready to start my next drawing...as soon as I take out the garbage. I did just now a sketch of the sketch.

The sketches I'm doing lately I erase and then draw on top of them...but
first I do a high resolution scan of them, so I could print them out.
I have a new philosophy, though not original. It is called one day at a
time. I decided that tomorrow would be my last day as dean. Then tomorrow night I'll decide about the next day, etc. It is very liberating.

I don't give many presents. My family never got into it, and I'm kind of a the Christmas grinch. In fact, I have a sweatshirt that Linda sewed "Grinch" on it for me. (Okay, I'll add the grinch to the drawing.)
I'm glad there are people like you who like to give presents. You must make a lot of people happy.

I did take our three secretaries to lunch today. They enjoyed that. And I collected money from the entire dept. for all the office workers... I guess I"m not a total grinch, just a mostly grinch. My mom always said that every day was Christmas, and that we get what we need.


Dear Kim:

I hope you are faring well with all of the end of the school year usual
madness and then the impending holidays on top of that.

I am not a thing person. I dont want a lot of things. At least relatively
speaking, compared to many people of my age and background and
circumstance.

But I love to give things to other people.

As I imagine you are, I am pretty turned off by the commercialism of the holidays and the relentless marketing.

Taking this occasion to say thank you or express appreciation because it is a time of the year that much of the world ritualizes, is another matter.

I tend to get things for people all year long, as I see something and feel like it would speak to a particular someone. Then, I either give it to
them on a special occasion, or on no occasion.

So I started last week, going over my list, wrapping things. I've been
playing Santa all week. And the more people I give to, the more people I think of that I want to give to. It is fun and makes me feel almost giddy. I want to give things to everyone. People that I know and people that I don't.

Today, I wrapped and mailed a book to a bank president who has been
helpful to us in the past. He was not helpful to us this year. But no
matter, I saw this book and thought it might speak to him and into the
mail it went.

I don't know what I find more meaningful, passing on something that I
really like, like when I gave Laurie in my office a beautiful red sweater
of mine because i knew she liked red. Or buying something fresh and new.

It's all good.

And then there is the fact that people are nice to each other and wish
each other a "Merry Christmas" at this time of the year. I like that,
too.

Some of my non Christian friends are offended or perhaps frustrated by the relentless Christian assumptions.

Me, I don't care. I used to. I used to be very aware of my outsider
status and get tired of the dominant culture.

I don't know if you are aware of this but I wrote a short story called,
"Silent Night" about this very subject. It was published in a book
called, "Nice Jewish Girls: Growing Up in America" and was later turned into a short film. (Kim: I didn't know you had done this.)

It is about a young Jewish girl who gets so tired of being shut out of the prevailing culture that she tries to pass at her Irish Catholic
boyfriend's family Christmas party.

Like much of my work, it doesn't matter if the circumstances are literal, the emotional core is true. And so it is based on real life.

I am no less aware of my outsider status as a Jew but these days, my thoughts go more towards how nice it is that people are saying hello to others they don't know. That they are wishing them some version of well.

And then I wish we could live in Christmas all the time. Or at least until
February.

Later,

Joan

Wed, DEC 21, 2005

9:12 PM

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