Saturday, December 22, 2012


My friend and collaborator Vassilis Gogtzilas—illustrator of The Adventures of Augusta Wind—read my story, "The Truth About Santa Claus," today and whipped up the following illustrations to accompany the text.  The fact that he did it so quickly is some kind of Christmas miracle.  Enjoy!  (All artwork ©copyright 2012 Vassilis Gogtztilas.)


On television they’re trotting out Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life and seemingly-infinite variations on A Christmas Carol.  

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.  See you all in 2013.



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 2012 J.M. DeMatteis

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


With the "Mayan Apocalypse" just days away, I thought I'd share some thoughts about these Doomsdays that seem to come upon us with alarming regularity. Then I realized I'd already written about the subject, right here at Creation Point, back in 2011, when a man named Harold Camping set the internet ablaze with his End Of The World scenario.  Rather than rehash, I thought I'd re-post. Most of what I said then about Camping and Company applies to the more feverish interpretations of the end of the Mayan Calendar.  


Contrary to Harold Camping’s prediction, the world didn’t end today.  That, of course, didn’t stop the media from covering this alleged story ad nauseam, nor did it stop the internet from spreading it like a particularly virulent disease (to be fair, a good percentage of the net-chatter was mockery, but we often mock that which we fear).  

We’re all, it seems, obsessed with Doomsday.  Just turn on your TV and watch Nostradamus predict the end of the world on the History Channel while the Weather Channel does its best to terrify us by predicting disasters that “could happen tomorrow.”

The news broadcasts—from NBC to CNN, NPR to Fox—are all about throwing mountains of coal into our collective furnace of fear.  Disaster looms around every corner, from the recalled headache pills in our medicine chests to the terrorists swarming our shores to annihilate us.  Some of these fears are rooted in reality, of course, but our mass media loves to put it all under a magnifying glass till these events are hideously distorted:  the better to scare you into raising their ratings.  Abandon hope, all ye who watch this channel.    

Our pop culture has become fear culture:  the action movie blockbuster has, more and more, become a gruesome parade of endless wreckage and loss of life, often on a global, if not a galactic, scale.  End of the world scenarios play out with such regularity in films and video games and, yes, comic books (my hands are far from clean:  I’ve destroyed my share of universes over the years) and it’s no wonder that, when some operatic preacher begins predicting that we’re all going down in a ball of fire (well, some of us:  the lucky few will be lifted up to Heaven by a God who apparently enjoys playing favorites), everyone stops and takes notice.   

But what if Camping was right?  What if the world did end today and some of us just didn’t notice?  (A moment while you scratch your head and wonder if my last brain cells have parachuted out on a suicide mission.) 

I’ve written before about the idea—explored, in differing fashions, by both mystics and scientists—that the universe is just dreamstuff:  an infinite ocean of primal energy that’s only given form by our perceptions.  In other words, it’s all an illusion, tailored to, created by, the individual consciousness:  every one projecting our  dream-universes into the Void.  From my perspective, I’m manifesting the entire Creation, including you; from your perspective, you’re manifesting it all, including me.  (Which means, essentially, that right now you’re reading your own words, not mine.)  And with each choice we make, each mental step we take, each thought we send vibrating out into that ocean of energy, we birth new universes, an infinite stream of shimmering bubbles blown through the wand of our minds.  (Of course, in the end, it's all God dreaming through us and as us, but that's another essay for another time.)

So imagine Camping and his followers, all profoundly invested in this idea of Judgment Day and the Rapture, focusing their collective will and imagination (just like our old friend Green Lantern) on that ocean of energy and manifesting it.  Today, this very morning, they all found themselves raised up by the hand of God, soaring off into the Heaven they’ve always longed for.  Because that’s the dream they chose to manifest.

For those of us who didn’t buy into this dream, well—we’re still here, and we’ve dreamed up a Harold Camping who’s a failed prophet.  (I don't think this invalidates the faith of Camping and his followers—but it is further proof that God is far bigger than any one belief system.)  But where do we go from here?  Perhaps Camping has done us a valuable service.  Perhaps this mass focus on the End Times is a reminder for all of us to step back and ask a fundamental question:  What kind of world are we dreaming into being?  A world of suffering, where war never ends, where famine and disease and natural disasters dog us till it all really does “happen tomorrow”?  Or will we dream something better:  a world, a time, when peace and abundance, cooperation and compassion, flower across the planet? 

The Golden Age, it’s been called.

Yes, doomsday scenarios have been around for as long as the human race has existed—they echo through all religions and spiritual paths—but they’re usually connected to paradise scenarios:  humanity reborn, either on Earth or in Heaven, into a new and glorious order.  From suffering comes redemption, from the ashes the Phoenix rises.  My problem is I've never had much faith in a God whose method of redeeming us is through annihilating us.  Why destroy the planet just to raise it up again?  Why inflict all that suffering?   

Back in the mid-eighties I wrote a Doctor Strange graphic novel—co-plotted and illustrated by my old friend Dan Green—called Into Shamballa that explored that question.  In it, Doctor Strange is ordered, by a group of spiritual sages called the Lords of Shamballa, to weave a spell that will obliterate three-fourths of mankind and usher in a new Golden Age.  “A cataclysm beyond imagining,” they tell Strange, “will leave the world a ravaged wasteland, burying the Old Humanity and birthing the New.”  Doc is resistant but, at first, simply assumes that these Cosmic Sages know more than he does; so he travels the globe assembling the multi-part spell.  In the end, though, he can’t do it; he refuses to do it—until he has an inner realization (prompted, he believes, by the inner voice of his guru, the Ancient One) that transforms his perspective completely.  The spell is completed and, to the astonishment of the Shamballese Lords, the world remains intact.  No Apocalypse, just another morning on Planet Earth.  “I saw,” Strange tells the bewildered Lords, “that your ultimate cataclysm will take place, not without...but within.  The purge you foretold will occur in every heart.  The fires you foresaw will burn in every soul.  The Golden Age you predicted will come to each man in his own time. 

An interpretation that made far more sense to me.  But something still didn’t sit right:  Why, I eventually came to wonder, is this inner purge even necessary?  Why does every soul have to burn in fire, even if it’s only an internal one?  I saw how attached I’d been to the old model, the old belief that we’ve got to pay the price if we want to get the glory; but the universe (via the inner voice my own master, Meher Baba, who, strangely, was known as the Ancient One long before Dr. Strange creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko coined the name) finally dragged me, kicking and screaming, toward a more positive view; a perspective that said we can unfold through joy as easily as we can grow through suffering.  More easily.  (I don't claim to have mastered this path—not by a long shot—but just walking it has been transformative.)
Ten or so years ago I read a book by Gregg Braden, The Isaiah Effect, that explored a similar idea.  What if, Braden wrote—and I’m totally paraphrasing here (and, I hope, not distorting his point)—the ancient prophecies weren’t talking about a sequence of events (destruction, then rebirth; End of Days, then New Beginning)?  What if they were talking about a choice?  An opportunity to step over Harold Camping’s Apocalypse and walk straight through the gates of the Golden Age?  Braden talked about the power of our collective consciousness to initiate global transformation—a valid and valuable goal—but I think it goes even further than that.  If this world is literally a dream (and I believe, to the core of my being that it is), then isn’t it up to each of us to become lucid dreamers and choose the most beautiful dream we can?  To manifest the Golden Age—not in some distant future, not in some faraway Heaven, but here and now?

In concert with God (in whatever form you see Him, Her or It), we make a choice, every hour, every minute, every instant, about which cosmos we want to dream into being.  And each choice spins out a chain of events, a new world, a virgin universe.

Which means that today actually is Judgment Day.  

So what’s it going to be:  the Apocalypse or the Golden Age?  Heaven-on-Earth or endless Hell?  Which newscast are you going to anchor, what story are you going to tell, what movie are you going to direct?  Judgement Day is in your hands.  You can take everything I've written literally or metaphorically, but, either way, it's up to you to make your choice, create your cosmos, dream your dream.  I’ll go off and dream mine and, with a little luck and grace, perhaps our dreams will intertwine and manifest an even larger dream, a greater dream than we can individually imagine.  

As Into Shamballa's narrator observed at the end of Doctor Strange's adventure:  “Remember:  the Golden Age is now.  Remember:  We are all, each and every one of us, the Lords of Shamballa.”

©copyright 2012 J.M. DeMatteis   

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I'm a total sucker for Christmas:  I still believe in Santa Claus—in fact, I believe more deeply than I did as a kid.  I still cry every time I watch It's A Wonderful Life (my favorite movie of all time) and the sublime 1951 version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol (perhaps the most perfect story ever written).  Opening the doors of our home to family and friends on Christmas Day, gathering together in the glow of the Christmas tree, I feel a sense of profound faith and world-transforming belief that transcends any one religion or spiritual path and fills my soul with hope—for myself and for everyone on the planet.

From the bottom of my heart I wish you all the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of holidays.  May the year ahead bring you magic, miracles, abundance, prosperity, health, joy, peace...and love above all.

“And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!"

©copyright 2012  J.M. DeMatteis

Sunday, December 9, 2012


On the night of December 8, 1980 my son, eight months old at the time, was asleep in his crib, my wife—now ex-wife—was out with a friend and I was...well, I don't recall what I was doing.  Maybe working on a script (I don't write much at night these days, but in '80 all-nighters were still commonplace) or just puttering around the apartment.  What I do remember is the phone ringing, some time after ten o'clock:  It was my old friend Karen Berger (yes, we've known each other so long she was an old friend even then) calling to tell me that John Lennon had been shot.  "Is he okay?" I asked.  "He's dead," she replied—and it was clear from her tone that she knew it was true, but couldn't digest that awful reality.

I got off the phone, switched on the television—and the global mourning ritual soon began.  At first I was taken aback by the public displays of grief.  Strange as it sounds, my connection to John Lennon—to his extraordinary life and music—ran so deep that his death felt profoundly personal.  It was as if I'd lost one of my dearest friends.  I couldn't quite wrap my head around the fact that millions of people around the world had lost one of their dearest friends, as well.

Perhaps it wasn't so strange at all.  Lennon lived his life openly, nakedly; raw emotion poured equally into songs and interviews.  This was a man who, almost compulsively, shared the deeps of his heart—the highest qualities and the lowest—seemingly without reservation.  I'm sure that quality was hard for some people to take, but that's what drew me to Lennon, almost instinctively, from the first time I saw John, Paul, George and Ringo perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.  I crave honesty, the raw core of the soul, in art —and John Lennon delivered that in spades, first as a member of the Beatles and then, with even more soul-baring honesty, in his solo career.  A career I'd expected to follow for many more years.

"He's dead."  Those words still resonate in my mind and heart.  Thirty-two years ago?  It feels like thirty-two minutes.

©copyright 2012 J.M. DeMatteis