Hair Combs & Watch Fobs

"The Gift of the Magi" is one of my favorite stories, short or otherwise. You know that book or TV show you hand-flail over and think about often? "Magi" is my personal hand-flailer/thought-crowder.

I'm entranced by the selfless love of O. Henry's tale. Beguiled. Enthralled, even. And what happens to the James Dillingham Youngs over the course of a few pages resonates greatly with me.

If you want to see how entranced, here's a gif of me, when I'm reading it, greedily devouring its merry and hard and humorous and loving messages.

Is that you standing at my side, sweet reader? 



A visiting author spoke in one of my college writing courses, and an anecdote he shared stuck with me. He'd gotten an idea for a huge sci-fi book series from a line he'd read on the back of an aerosol can.

This filled me with wonder. What? How? A single line on a label was his necessary jumpstart?

So I vowed I'd build this muscle within myself: Finding the big in the little. Ferreting out larger ideas in passing passages or moments.

And it is true: Big stories aren't waiting out there, like billboards or skyscrapers. They're hidden, mere seedlings, ideas found in a few words in a favorite song or the way sunlight hits a bus window or a callous on a friend's hand or the smell of turpentine where you didn't expect to smell turpentine.

This is all to say that I have found, on a personal level, l'espirit de Wilfair in a single sentence of O. Henry's short story. It's the part where Jim tumbles on the couch, easily, not concerned at all by the semi-upsetting events that have just gone down, and his action telegraphs that love, not stuff or anything else, is the answer.

Oof. When I even think of that sentence, and the intimate moment it represents, it is like my go pedal has been pushed. My heart buzzes with vroom vroom and joy floods my typing fingers like gasoline. And I long to drive write.

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