Wednesday, December 24, 2008

florence à la king

On Saturday, there was a notice in my post office box that I had a package. For the rest of you, that would probably not be a big deal -- after all, Christmas and Chanukah gifts are currently clogging the postal arteries as effectively as a ball park hot dog.

But, not for me. I do not give gifts. As a result, I do not receive gifts.

The only exception is my friend Howard, who lives in Hawaii. He occassionaly sends me a box of macadamia candy. But I had just received one of those. What could it be?

To cut through the suspense, I turned in the slip and received, in return, (as is the custom in the post office) what felt like a book. My first conclusion was one of my recent order of Harry Turtledove books had gone astray.

Harry Turtledove it wasn't. Instead, inside the envelope I found a collection of Florence King's reviews: Deja Reviews. I was thrilled. Florence King is one of my favorite writers.

But where did it come from? My first thought was that my colleague Jennifer Rose, author of How to Capture and Keep Clients (a great Christmas gift for the lawyer in your life), had surprised me. She is the only other Florence King fan I know.

That notion had not had time to fully alight when I realized the provenance of the "gift." I recently renewed my subscription to National Review; the book was one of those renewal enticements. Apparently, we NR readers are sent into a frenzy by 72-year old spinsters -- a word she adores.

Of course, Miss King (another title she loves; no Ms. for her) can be infuriatingly contrary. Any woman who can call herself a misanthrope (and live up to the term) is the very essence of liberated woman -- a woman who can despise Sean Hannity while praising Jon Stewart. Or who dislikes Al Gore because he reminds her of an undergraduate suitor who threw up on her on the Ferris wheel.

Jennifer may not have sent me the book, but I can imagine that it was served to me from the very hand of La King.

I suspect you will all receive a goodly serving before too long.


American Mommy in Mexico said...

"But, not for me. I do not give gifts. As a result, I do not receive gifts."

I find this interesting. Tell us more sometime. I have a bit of the "give no gifts" in me but not because I am not giving.

We have always done the "Birthday Mitzvah" with the boys - their guests bring gifts for a cause we help the boys choose that is meaningful to the boys (their school library, pet shelter, school garden).

Steve Cotton said...

AMM - My declaration is a bit of an overstatement. I do give spontaneous gifts: whenever I see something that I think someone needs and could actually use. Mandatory gift-giving inevitably results in violating both criteria. And I think that is why most people have trouble buying gifts. It is the difference between wanting to write and being forced to write -- something every blogger instintively understands. There is also the issue of reducing our affections to material goods, but now I am starting to slip into the gnostic heresy that our faiths abhor. Now, there is a post just waiting to be written: "The Threat of Gnosticism in Celebratory Gift-giving."

jennifer rose said...

Steve, you most certainly do give gifts, and you receive them. Those gifts may not be wrapped up in Hallmark paper, but they're there. Don't expect any of us to buy that line, no matter how fashionable it may be. The plug for my book was a gift.

Last night's UPS man (UPS and Fedex deliver at the strangest hours in Mexico, even at 9:30 p.m. and not anywhere near the holidays) brought me Bryan Garner's Garner on Language and Writing. And since it came with a handwritten note instead of one of those "Let us know what you think of this book" notes, it came as a gift and not as a review copy. And I love, worship and adore Bryan Garner!

Keep serving Florence King up to us. The world needs to know more about her -- and more like her.

Laurie said...

Florence King? My spinsterly heart thumps with empathy.

Steve Cotton said...

Jennifer -- You are too kind. I simply share what falls into my quivering palm.

As for Florence, as soon as I get some juicy bons mots, I will serve them up on a tray for all of us to enjoy.

Laurie -- Another King fan? We should start a Latin American club of Florencites.

LadyBlue said...

Count me in the "no gifts" bunch. I'm not even up for doing cookies yet. I dread the moment some friend hands me a gift, don't know what I'll say. Maybe something like, "it's against my religion"

Steve Cotton said...

I find that "thank you" works well. "Yoink" is a god backup. Or there is the Florence King standby: "I would to; I just don't want to."

g said...

I'm very interested in your blog. You and I both posted on Deb's Zocalo blog about the pictures of Earth from space. I'm enjoying exploring your blog.

How wonderful you are embarking on an adventure of retiring to Mexico!! Should be good reading!

Steve Cotton said...

g -- Welcome aboard. It is always nice to have another reader -- especially, one who sounds as of she is in line to be James Bond's boss.