Well, it’s that time of year again. I’m not sure why it always seems to sneak up on me. I think this year, after suffering through last year’s horror of the Polar Vortex, I just couldn’t face the fact that winter would return. Again. I know…I know…the alternative isn’t much better. I’m pretty sure, anyway. So, I donned my mask of denial and refused to acknowledge the signs. Temperatures in the teens? Impossible. Snow? Don’t even THINK about it. My Winter-Denial-Mojo was in full swing. Unstoppable. Even the insufferable Christmas commercials on television were easily snuffed out with a click of the remote. Yes, this year would be different. No layering of clothes until I look like a stuffed sausage. No furry boots. No gloves, hats, scarves, long underwear or snow shovels to cramp my delusion. That’s what I thought, anyway…until I met my Waterloo. The ultimate obstacle. That’s right, I’m talking about that evil Elf on a Shelf. There is NO escape from that creepy stalker.
Truth be told, it’s not really the elf so much that I hate. It’s the success of the elf. I am an avid believer in the American Dream. I say follow those dreams. More power to you. Those people who take chances inspire me. Unless they’re writers, that is. As a writer, that’s where I draw the line. If there’s one thing I HATE is the story of a J K Rowling: collecting her last welfare check, her manuscript heartlessly tossed into the trash until a janitor retrieved it and brought it to the attention of higher-ups. And then BOOM – Harry Potter was born. I know that should be an uplifting, inspiring story about never giving up and all that. But after spending months which led into years thoroughly researching the world of publishing and tirelessly writing, what felt like, infinite queries to literary agents, myriad book proposals, synopses, etc, etc, etc and hearing back (if I was lucky enough to hear anything at all) “Thanks but no thanks” I decided to do what a lot of authors do. I self-published. Unless you’re a Jodi Picoult or John Grisham, no one will touch you. And I mean NO ONE. Granted, I’m the first to admit that my novel, NUMB, is not an important piece of literature. I’m sure it will never be on New York Times’ Bestseller List. Or be recommended as one of Oprah’s must-reads. But you know what it is? It’s a pretty easy, fun read about murder with a killer you might find yourself rooting for. It’s what you might call a cozy thriller. And I think it’s pretty good. So do some other people.
So, when I read about the mother-daughter team who decided one day to write a book about their little family tradition of the elf on a shelf and it EXPLODES into an overnight smash success, with books, dolls and a MOVIE!!!!! (please say that last part in a very loud, incredulous voice), naturally, I want that elf to be my character’s next victim…
Wow, that really felt good. Okay, so what I propose is an Anti-Elf Revolution to let the world know that we’re mad as HECK (that’s right) and we’re NOT going to take it anymore. That’s why my shelf this year will look like this:
And MY Bottle on a Shelf rules will be as follows:
1. Absolutely, under NO circumstances must ANYONE touch my Bottle on the Shelf
2. The mysterious bottle may very well appear anywhere in the house – bathroom, laundry room, closet
3. My Bottle on a Shelf will be regularly joined by its siblings and friends (that’s the heartwarming part)
I invite you to join me in this daring revolution. We’ll call it Operation Elf Must Die. I don’t know…too harsh?