ROBIN: Hey Santa, it’s Robin Newman. How are you?
SANTA: Robin who?
ROBIN: Robin Newman. Remember me from last year? I’m the author of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep.
SANTA: What time is it?
ROBIN: It’s 5:00 a.m. New York City time. What time is it on the North Pole?
SANTA: Much earlier.
ROBIN: Geez Santa, I’m sorry I woke you. I was just so excited to talk to you. I noticed that Starbucks started its Christmas season early and then every radio station is decking the halls, so I thought I might try to catch you a little earlier this year.
SANTA: Robin, have you been good?
ROBIN: Don’t you think “good” is one of those words that’s subjective and open to interpretation? You know it’s like an editor reading your story and hating it because she has a thing against talking animals. I mean like what kind of person doesn’t like talking animals, right? Or another editor hyperventilating when she sees your word counts are hovering around 160,000 and she’s having a hard time believing this is a picture book.
So, I would like to say that I’ve been sorta good . . . , in the neighborhood of good . . . , and at the very least, extremely well intended.
SANTA: And how’s the writing been going? Are you writing every day like you promised?
ROBIN: It’s funny you should ask. Did I mention you look marvelous? A lot of guys can’t get away with the beard and red suit, but on you they look great.
SANTA: Robin, are you trying to avoid my question? I’ve been dealing with a lot of politicians lately and they ALL keep telling me how great the beard and red suit look before they go into their presidential wish list.
ROBIN: No, worries! I would never run for office, although I wouldn’t mind living in the White House. I’d love to have an indoor swimming pool.
SANTA: So, back to the writing.
ROBIN: Right! I have tried to write something even if it’s the word “something” every day. I have been a very well-intentioned writer.
SANTA: And what do you want for Christmas?
ROBIN: As always, I would like all of my writing and illustrator friends to find agents and get publishing contracts. And if it’s not too much, could I get 10 publishing contracts of my own? Ten is such a nice round number, don’t you think?
SANTA: Ten seems like a lot.
SANTA: Robin, I’m not doing nine for my authors who write every day. A well-intended writer is not getting nine contracts.
ROBIN: Well, what kind of numbers are we talking about? One’s as low as I’m going.
SANTA: Robin, you know this is a busy time of year for me. I get a lot of requests from authors and illustrators, but I’ll see what I can do.
Now, I’m going back to bed. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and a very Happy New Year. Goodbye!
ROBIN: Wait! I’m not done with my list. I’d like world peace, an end to hunger, poverty, disease, and a national holiday celebrating the cheese donut.
By the way, if you’re looking for stocking stuffers, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, is a great gift for kids on both the good and naughty lists. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your favorite neighborhood indie on the North Pole. And I just signed a number of copies at Bank Street Book Store. You can even pre-order Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local indie. If you happen to order it from Bank Street Book Store, I’d be thrilled to stop by and sign a copy when it arrives. :)
Did you get all of that, Santa? Santa? Are you still there? Did you just hang up on me? We must have been disconnected. Let me redial.
RECORDED MESSAGE: You have reached the North Pole. Please leave your name and number and an elf will return your call in the order that it was received. Thank you for calling the North Pole. Happy holidays!