Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

To: You
From: Charles

Today is Boxing Day, a public holiday for many of the Commonwealth Nations during which people with give something to those without. In the US, we have a slight variation on the holiday and instead of giving, we spend the day returning things that were given to us.

One way or the other, I’m sure that for most people Boxing Day calls to mind gifts (given, received, returned), happy family gatherings and stuff like that. And it’s all true for me, too, although I also like to keep in mind that Boxing Day was the day in 2004 when the Asian Tsunami devastated the lives of millions throughout the islands and atolls of Southeast Asia. It’s all been rebuilt now—the buildings, the roads, yes, the families and the lives of the survivors, who knows—and given all the things that happen in the world on a weekly basis, it’s understandable if it slipped your mind entirely.

Is it weird to say that that disaster gave me the idea that eventually became Noble Lies?

Typing that line, it sure felt weird. It’s not like I watch the headlines looking for ideas to incorporate into my books, but the truth is that as I watched those first news reports, part of me did say something like that. Now, does the book stand up as an honest tribute to those who lost their lives or is it simply a crass rip-off that drove my plot? I have my views but if you’ve read it, I’d like to hear what you think.

For me, Boxing Day has come to represent something kind of personal. It doesn’t have anything to do with tangible gifts, it has to do with the gift of forgiveness, a gift I have no problem giving others but one I seem incapable of wrapping up for myself. Boxing Day is my symbolic day to think about forgiveness, and today I recommit myself to forgiving the forces of nature, the flaws in others’ character and the failures in my own.

But the first makes no sense, the second makes no difference and the third cannot make up for anything, anyway.

Some holiday, huh?

Ah well, this year will be different!

Here’s to a wonderful 2009.