It’s Christmas Eve. Which means I shall be watching The Muppets Christmas Carol. Reasons, two.
One: It’s the best Christmas film ever.
Two: Because it’s the best Christmas film ever, Dan and I watched it most Decembers, usually on Christmas Eve.
Who can fail to be moved by Gonzo as Charles Dickens, ably assisted by Rizzo the Rat? And Miss Piggy plays a blinder as Emily Cratchit. Michael Caine is sublime as Scrooge, his awful singing voice more than made up for by his ability to perform alongside a green frog and host of meeces.
Putting my incisive film review aside, Dan loved it because it was brightly coloured, had great puppets, and you could sing along. But mostly because it’s such a fabulous story.
“Miss says it’s the best version to watch because it has the narrator, like in the book version,” Dan told me one year, peeling a chocolate orange, as he stretched out the length of the settee. His long limbs poking out of adult sized pyjamas made him seem older than eleven, but his face still had the roundness of a little boy’s.
“Miss is right,” I agreed, sipping Bailey’s laced coffee.
I’ll watch it more keenly today. I can’t worry about Christmas past, and Christmas present looks set to be calm and bright (indoors, if not outside), but I can think about Christmas yet to come. What legacy do I want? I am completely unbothered whether anyone will ever visit my headstone in a cemetery. I don’t care about what people might say about me when I’m dead, but I absolutely want people to remember Dan. His shining life already lives on via the magic of organ donation, but I want him to glow even brighter.
Yesterday, I was at the point of putting aside Middowed once and for all. After submitting it to a dozen or more literary agents over the last few months, and receiving nothing but silence in return, I was taking it as a rather large hint that the piece is neither up to scratch nor marketable. Then I had a virtual visit on Zoom from three very real and unghostly writers – my friends from the University of Manchester, where we have all just completed our Master’s in Creative Writing. They encouraged me not to give up hope and urged me to continue sending out Middowed. They made me feel again that Dan’s story is important and worth telling.
Their support has given me a fresh wave of enthusiasm. I’m no Charles Dickens. But my story frames Dan’s. I’m the narrator of his life. My legacy, the headstone I want people to visit, is his. I WILL spend some time seeking out more agents, reworking my cover letter, trying to catch the eye of someone who wants to help me fix Dan’s luminosity to the firmament and let him shine on like the star he is.
Merry Christmas, everyone.