Tuesday, December 20, 2011


On television they’re trotting out Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, seemingly-infinite variations on A Christmas Carol  (none better than the 1951 version starring the incomparable Alastair Sim) and my absolute favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life (yes, I cry every time I see it.  That’s the sign of a great story: you're surprised and moved even when you know every beat).  

Here at Creation Point we have our own Yuletide tradition.  A few years ago—born out of my inordinate love for this heart-filling, soul-transforming, sacred and transcendent season—I wrote a short Christmas tale called The Truth About Santa Claus.  Since then, I’ve been offering it annually as a kind of cyber Christmas present:  my way of wishing all of you who visit this site the happiest of holidays and the most magical of Christmases.  I offer it again this year.  So grab a plate of Christmas cookies, pull a chair up close to the fireplace and enjoy. 

Here's to a new year filled with health, happiness, prosperity, abundance, creativity, magic—and love above all.  See you all in 2012.



He’d been thinking about it for days—ever since he heard Big Mouth Jenny Rizzo announce it on the school bus—and he didn’t believe a word of it, not one word.  (Well, maybe ONE.)  But Cody had to be sure, absolutely, positively sure—

—and that’s why he was hiding behind the couch at midnight on Christmas Eve.

His mother was there, asleep in his dad’s old easy chair, the reds and blues of the Christmas tree lights making her look peaceful and happy and impossibly young.

The tree, by the way, had not ONE SINGLE PRESENT underneath it.

That didn’t make sense.  If there WAS no Santa Claus, if his mother was the one who bought the presents, wrapped the presents, stacked them under the tree, then how come she hadn’t done it?  How come she wasn’t awake RIGHT NOW arranging them all?

He got scared.  Maybe there wasn’t going to BE a Christmas this year.  Maybe Mom had lost her job and they didn’t have any money and so she COULDN’T buy him any presents and—

And then Cody glanced over at the windows and noticed that it was snowing.

Or was it?

If that was snow, it was the WHITEST snow he’d ever seen.  It was snow as bright as moonbeams, as bright as sunlight, as bright as...


Quickly, but quietly (he didn’t want to wake his mother), he scurried to the window and looked out.

It was coming down and coming down and COMING DOWN all across town, whirling and whipping, spinning and gyrating, out of the night sky.  Glowing so brightly that it almost hurt his eyes to look at it.  And Cody saw that it certainly wasn’t snow, and it absolutely wasn’t rain, it wasn’t ANYTHING he’d ever seen before.  But each drop, no...each flake, no... each BALL of glowing WHATEVER IT WAS, seemed to pulse and spin, soar and vibrate, as if it were alive.

And the stuff, the magical WHATEVER IT WAS (and he knew now that it was magic.  He just KNEW), wasn’t collecting on the streets, wasn’t piling up on the rooftops.  It was MELTING INTO (that’s the only way he could put it:  MELTING INTO) every house (no matter how small) and apartment building (no matter how big).

EVERY house and apartment building.


He looked up.

And there it was:  coming RIGHT THROUGH THE CEILING of Apartment 3F, HIS apartment, swirling, like a tornado of light, around the chandelier and then down, down, down—


At first he almost yelled out a warning, “Mom!  Wake up!  MOM!”  But something made him stop.

Instead of yelling he ducked back behind the couch and watched, eyes peering over the top.

Watched as the light-tornado wheeled around his mother, so fast, so bright, that he could hardly even SEE her.  But he COULD see her.  Most of her, anyway.

And what he SAW...

The light poured in through the top of her head, through her eyes, through her chest, through her toes.  It lifted her up—still sleeping!—and carried her out of her chair and across the room.  And as she floated—

—she started to change:

Her hair became white, her nose became red, her belly ballooned like the most pregnant woman in the history of the world.  Her feet grew boots, her head grew a hat, her nightgown grew fur.  An overstuffed sack sprouted, like a lumpy angel’s wing, from her shoulder.  And then—

AndthenandthenandTHEN, it wasn’t his mother there at all, it was him, it was SANTA CLAUS!  STANDING RIGHT THERE IN CODY’S LIVING ROOM!  Santa Claus who, with a laugh (exactly like the laugh Cody always knew he had, only better) and a twinkle in his eyes (exactly like the twinkle he’d always imagined, ONLY BETTER) reached into his sack and pulled out package after package, present after present, and placed them, carefully, like some  Great Artist contemplating his masterpiece, under the tree.

When he was done, Santa Claus stood there, grinning and shaking his head, as if he couldn’t BELIEVE what a beautiful tree this was, how wonderful the presents looked beneath it.  As if this moment was the greatest moment in the history of Christmas, as if this apartment was the only place in all the universes that such a Christmas could ever POSSIBLY happen.

And then the MOST amazing thing happened:

Santa Claus turned.

He turned slowly.  So slowly Cody couldn’t even tell at first that he was moving at all.  And—slowly, SLOWLY—those twinkling eyes, that Smile of smiles, fixed itself on the two boy-eyes peering, in wonder, over the top of the couch.

And what Cody felt then he could never really say:  only that it was better than any present anyone could ever get.  Only that it made his heart so warm it melted like magical WHATEVER IT WAS, trickling down through his whole body.  Only that it made him want to reach out his arms and hug Santa Claus, hug his mother, hug his father (and FORGIVE him too, for running out on them) and his aunts and uncles and cousins (even his Cousin Erskine who was SUCH a pain) and Big Mouth Jenny Rizzo (who really wasn’t so bad most of the time) and all his  friends and teachers and the kid in his karate class who always smelled SO BAD and, embarrassing as it sounds, it made him want to hug everyone and everything in the whole world including rabbits and snakes and trees and lizards and grass and lions and mountains and, yes, the EARTH HERSELF.

Cody wanted to hold that gaze, to keep his eyes locked on Santa’s, forever. (Or longer, if he could.)  Wanted to swim in that incredible feeling, drown in it, till GOD HIMSELF came down to say:  “Enough!” 

Except that he blinked.  Just once.  But in that wink of an eye, Santa was gone.  Cody’s mother was asleep in the chair again and, for one terrible moment, the boy thought that the whole thing must have been a dream.

Except, under the tree:  THERE WERE THE PRESENTS.

Except, out the window:  THERE WAS THE SNOW, the rain, the magical WHATEVER IT WAS, shooting up, like a blizzard in reverse, from every house, every apartment building.  Shooting up into the heavens, gathering together like a fireball, like a white-hot comet—

—and fading away into the night:  going, going...   


Without so much as a tinkling sleigh-bell or a “Ho-ho-ho.”

Not that it mattered.

Cody looked at his mom.

Cody kissed her.

“I love you,” he said.  And he was crying.  Happy tears.  Christmas tears.  Like moonbeams, like sunlight.  Like stardust.

Mom stirred in the chair, smiled the softest sweetest smile Cody had ever seen. “I love you, too,” she said. 

And then she drifted back to sleep.

Cody sat at her feet, warming himself, warming his SOUL, by the lights of the tree. 

And soon, he, too, was drifting off to sleep.  And as he drifted, a wonderful thought rose up, like a balloon, inside him.  Rose, then POPPED—spreading the thought to every corner of his mind.  Giving him great comfort.  Great delight:

“One day,” the thought whispered, “when you’re all grown-up, when you have children of your own.  ONE DAY,” the thought went on...

“It will be YOUR TURN.”

Merry Christmas.

© copyright 2011 J.M. DeMatteis

Friday, December 16, 2011


Thanks to the kind folks at IDW Publishing, I just received an advance copy of the new hardcover edition of Brooklyn Dreams.  I'm happy to report that Chris Ryall, Justin Eisenger and their entire team have done a fantastic job.  Something about a hardcover adds a feeling of permanence to the book and the larger size—significantly bigger than the previous collection—really lets Glenn Barr's extraordinary art shine.

There are few projects of mine that mean as much to me as BD and none that mean more.  The IDW edition releases on January 11th:  a great start to the new year.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Frank Sinatra's always been there in my life.  My mother—who, as a teenager, would cut high school to go swoon over Sinatra at New York's Paramount theater—made sure his songs were playing constantly in our house.  (For the record:  My father loved Frankie just as much.  If you were Italian, you had to.  It was a genetic imperative.)  I may have been a child of the rock and roll generation, but I was always under Sinatra's spell; and the older I got, the more I came to love—make that revere—his mix of swagger and vulnerability, bravado and tenderness.  Most of all I came to appreciate the aching humanity in Frank Sinatra's music.  For all his Vegas, Rat Pack glamor, he was, beneath it all, a skinny kid from Hoboken who knew the same loneliness and despair, hope and joy, that we all do.  And he was blessed with an extraordinary voice that could express it in the most natural, and yet magical, of ways.

In honor of what would have been Frank Sinatra's 96th birthday, here are some classic moments—starting with a very young Sinatra singing what was then his signature song:

And now here's Frankie at the height of his powers, with the amazing Count Basie and his orchestra storming away behind him:

And, finally, Sinatra in the autumn of his years, voice waning (and all the more poignant for it), facing down the darkness with eloquence and heart.

Happy Birthday, Frank.  The song is you, indeed.

©copyright 2011 J.M. DeMatteis

Friday, December 9, 2011


I was ready to create a new Christmas post—something I try to do every year—when I came across a binder that contained the following piece that I wrote, four years ago, for my extinct—and utterly obliterated—Amazon blog.  Reading it, I realized that it said everything I want to say to you about this most magical of seasons.  (Thanks to my 2007 self for doing all the work!)  So here it is (with some minor editing):  a cyber-angel to top the Creation Point tree. 


How exactly does it happen?  One minute it’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving gallops past, Madison Avenue starts shoving Christmas commercials down our throats—and I find myself feeling impossibly older, wondering how another year could have gone by so blindingly fast.  I’m not remotely in the mood to deck any halls, let alone start shopping.  It may not be “Christmas—bah, Humbug!” but it’s certainly, “Christmas?  Not yet!”  And then, suddenly:

I’m channel surfing and happen upon the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol (on TCM, of course)—and, instantly, I’m eight years old again:  staying up late on Christmas Eve with my father and sister, watching both the ‘38 and (far superior) 1951 versions of ACC, which one of our local New York stations would play, over and over, all night long.  (At least that’s the way I remember it.  And the memory has more resonance than the reality, right?)

But it's not 1961 any more—and I’m sitting there, alone in my living room, completely enchanted by a story I’ve seen and read dozens...possibly hundreds...of times.  How is it that each new encounter with A Christmas Carol—each moment of dread and hope, terror and redemption—feels utterly new?  When it’s over (and by this time I’ve been joined by my wife and daughter) I sit there smiling:  soul uplifted, utterly content.

A couple of days later, my wife and I go out and buy a Christmas tree.  We angle it into the hatchback, head home, and the car starts to fill up with a distinctive scent of pine.  That extraordinary smell goes straight to my heart:  the next thing I know my eyes are thick with tears and I realize, without a doubt, that it really is Christmas.

Of course it wasn’t the scent of that particular tree that touched me so deeply, it was the scent of Christmas Itself:  every Christmas I’ve ever lived through, every Christmas that’s ever been.  The spirit of this season—when we celebrate the descent of God in human form—somehow transcends time and place, culture and religion, and calls forth the best of who we are as human beings on this planet.  I can try to analyze it, but, really, it’s magic. 

So no more grousing at commercials, no more ranting at Time for ripping through my life at warp speed.  No, I’m going to breathe in the pine, plug in the lights, open the doors of our home to friends and family—and invite the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future to join us for a feast of the heart.  I’m going to embrace the magic of Christmas and let it transform me.

May it transform you, too—and may we all carry that magic into the New Year and use it to transform our world in amazing and miraculous ways.

Merry Christmas!

©copyright 2011  J.M. DeMatteis