Dear Reader:

Sitting now, in front of the space heater's glow, painting of a window just overhead - snow in it in the background, stuffed dog or cat near somebody's oval rug, and listening to some Boy Group singing Christmas songs on a portable radio about girls unattainable, I feel the true spirit of the season has somehow eluded me and maybe my generation. Well, there are other factors contributing to the nudging of Christmas into the past, but how to list them all and stay correct?

Christmas, with Bing Crosby, and Johnny Mathis, and Nat King Cole and all those others who sang Christmas songs before In Sync, belongs to the world as much as any other observance - religiously, historically or peculiarly, in spite of what we should be thinking. A holiday as entrenched as this cannot be ignored nor can it be relegated to other than it is. Aside from what the Druids claim, a holiday is a holiday, by any other name.

We, and they, who do not know of Alistair Sim nor Mr. Dickens nor the melting man of the coal eyes and carrot nose, nor even the kid born in the straw, must by virtue of centuries at least nod toward the value of the myth and the season. Christmas is just a feeling and maybe a hope of a group of people who want to show they can be better - at least once a year. All celebrations should accomplish at least this. As in olden times, it's too easy today to die for something else than what we were expecting.

Editorializing takes a toll, doesn't it? So on to real issues - this issue. Writer's Cramp welcomes back many of its favorite writers, Ronald Carpenter who allows a tale of of growth and formation and fable and foible, flip and flop and all those things that make myth a must - Ultimately, Michelle Tercha, long one of WC's favorites, brings us a chapbook length look into her soul and her poetry's pride -Death In Indigo Starlight, Swami Sampurnananda walks us in his gentle way through the season in a separate reality - From the East, and a young writer somewhat close to the publisher's heart, Morgan Liberty - First Steps. Morgan is following the treacherous road we writers are wont to travel even in the face of vehement cries or warning and denouncement from our friends and family. It's just a thing we must do to fulfill ourselves and our spaces in this arena. It's a bonus to see a writer as young as Morgan and track his success.

There's the word; success. Many of us write to justify our imaginations or write to purge our inner demons or write to tell stories or write to assuage whatever requires assuaging, but the act of writing is a step many will never take and a terror most will happily forego. How to measure success? Sharon Gilbert, who came to WC last year with a first tentative tale, is now a published author with not one or two books, but a series entitled "Winds of Evil." These will be available through Deeper Calling or Sharon's own site Laodicea: Winds of Evil. Then there's Michelle Tercha, a poet of growing renown and prowess who is also being published this season in pages other than Writer's Cramp. Ann Huseman who tickles these pages with titillating tales is among a troika with her sister and brother in law, Sharon and Derek Gilbert, to tread the topography of typographical something that goes with T. They are all being published in traditional hard copy form and they have the best wishes and gratitude of Writer's Cramp.

But that is not the only station of success we find ourselves sometimes standing at, shoulders slumped, hat or bonnet dripping, overcoat wrinkled and clinging under the arms, newspaper or menu in hand, whistling for a train, hoping for a ride, soon. Success comes by virtue of writing and having others reading the words written. Success is gauged by the size of your risk, not the attainment of your goal - by the effort not the . . . Oh, if you don't know by now you don't want to know.

This thing we do is like becoming naked in the presence of strangers - and if they think our bodies are a little saggy or flabby and say so, it may well be a very long time until we get naked again in company.

But naked they continue to get - and they are prone to do it in our pages, greatly to our pleasure and satisfaction. Take John Williams, who gives us a poignant collection of poetry we entitle Raindrops; Robert Montesino, writing a tale of trial and retribution called Double Jeopardy; Angelina Engle who carves a swath into the fabric of Writer's Cramp with her fabulously gutsy, Carve the Turkey, Billy; and our new friend J.B. Pravda, one of the winners of the Halloween Fiction Contest, who spreads before us this delicacy, Hothouse of the Black Orchid.

Tis truly the season . . .