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Audio Christmas indeed…video Christmas to come…

December 8th, 2004 · 2 Comments


I’m typing here again tonight after a few days absence required for Christmas creativity. To give a gift is to give someone else a piece of yourself, something you have purchased with a little of your own life. Working on my holiday contributions has meant the small sacrifice of giving up the piece of myself that loves blogging until time could be found and kitchen floor could be seen again.

There is no finer fiction describing selfless sacrifice than O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi. I remember when I first read it. I was in sixth grade and participating in a great books club with a few other kids. Immediately I was hooked on O. Henry. Somehow I acquired a used volume of his short stories and read it thick-blue-gray-library-binding cover to cover, quoting lines from it to my seventh-grade English teacher. I studied his style and tried to emulate it with my own surprise story endings. I longed to become another O. Henry: it didn’t happen.

But I now have a beautiful copy of The Gift of the Magi illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger and given to me one Christmas by my mother. I am partial to the story due to my passion for the author, for the art of the short story itself, and for that memory of discovery and dreams. I confess that I’ve always liked the tale because I too, like Della, have – and have almost always had – long brown hair, hair that my husband would miss if I sacrificed it to scissors….;-)

And so when on Sunday I saw Dave Winer’s mp3 reading of The Gift of the Magi, I found my copy of the book and asked six year old Abigail if she would like to listen to Dave tell her a story. She remembered Dave and was eager to sit on the stool in front of my computer while the story played. She read and looked at the illustrations accompanied by the mp3. It was fun to hear how he chose to read it. At one point, I think I remember it almost sounded as if Dave were laughing or at least smiling. The vocabulary was a bit beyond my daughter, I imagine, but I think she understood the central theme. Thanks to Dave for the gift he made back when his voice was better

Dave wrote This being the audio Christmas…. Audio Christmas indeed. On Sunday my three daughters and I did our own audio Christmas post. We made the mp3 while warming up before recording our contribution to the Seattle Times Creative Carol Contest. I’d been having fun playing with the lyrics for a while and getting the girls’ input. However, I suspect that we tried to practice too much and the recording that appears on the girls blog is much better than the one sent to the Times. Oh well. The song we sang for the contest had Northwest lyrics but the same tune. The song recorded on the girls blog explains why those of us who love and live with Ted Leung will never own a Nurse.

If this Christmas is the audio Christmas, then the video Christmas can’t be too far away….eh Jay?! (Jay Dedman, whom I met in the emotional life session at BloggerCon and who appeared in WiredNews piece Video Feeds Follow Podcasting [via Eric Rice])

Tags: books · family · journal

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Susan Kitchens // Dec 8, 2004 at 2:46 am

    Lizeth Zwerger ROCKS! That book is published by, oh, I don’t know, Picture Books press, (BilderBooks press?) or maybe there’s a three asterisk mark on the spine. It was published originally in German at Neugebauer Press in Austria. I studied lettering with Friedrich Neugebauer, who founded that publishing house (since taken over by his son, Michael). Notice, among other things, how exquisite the typography is in that tome. Yep 😉

    I bought one or two of the zwerger-illustrated books, with the text in German. Can’t remember what I did with them–prolly found an appropriate friend to give ’em to.

  • 2 jay dedman // Dec 9, 2004 at 7:14 pm

    yeah, julie…we got video going good.
    check it out.
    Its an RSS reader for video!!!
    see our group all in one place.
    its 3 days old…so ignore the bugs.

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