Christopher: Where is everybody? Scribbler? Quartz?
(There’s a contented belch which comes out of nowhere. No, wait, a crystal coffin materializes within the space of the Cauldron.)
Christopher: I’m from the Shadow Forest. I should be used to the landscape shifting and changing, yet there’s something disturbing about that. (He takes a cautious step in the direction of the coffin.) Um, Quartz?
The lid slides open. A dwarf with a nose currently red enough to rival Rudolf’s pokes his head out, blinking bleary eyes.
Quartz: ‘ullo, Christopher, my lad. You’re looking pretty as a picture, almost like my poor Fairest. (He hiccups.)
Christopher: (gives him a wary look) Are you drunk?
Quartz: Fun thing about being in the scribbler’s imagination. Hic! What she thinks about, I can taste…and consume. Her imagination introduced me to eggnog. Hic! Do you know what happens when you mix eggnog with mead?
Christopher: Err, no.
Quartz: Neither do I. (takes a deep breath, gets his hiccuping under control, scowls) Because the scribbler won’t try it.
Me: (I’m currently a disembodied voice) Eggnog and mead? That could be interesting…or really nasty.
Quartz: Like mixing eggnog with Bailey’s is any better. That’s rich…literally.
Me: I haven’t had a Bailey’s with eggnog! Not this year!
Quartz: No, you just devoured the better part of a paneforte. Not to mention-
Me: Fine, fine, it’s the holidays! I’ve been eating a lot. Too much.
Christopher: It seems like we’ve hardly seen you lately. Where have you been?
Quartz: We miss you, scribbler.
Quartz: Of course. Our stories aren’t going to write themselves.
Me: I might have known there would be an ulterior motive.
Christopher: Which brings me back to my question. Where have you been?
Me: It’s not like I’ve been idle! I’ve been working on all kinds of stuff.
Christopher: What kinds of stuff?
Me: Blog posts like this one. Wrapping presents. Writing reviews-
Quartz: Ah ha, I knew it! You’re reading!
Me: Well, I have all these books I’m in middle of or close to finishing, so I thought I’d use that challenge from Goodreads to try to finish some of them.
Christopher: What challenge on Goodreads?
Me: To finish 100 books before the end of the year. I easily have a hundred books on my Kindle I haven’t completed, along with all the physical books on my shelves. Plus there are all the books I want to read again that I haven’t listed on Goodreads or written a review for.
Quartz: In other words, we have to fish you out from under a pile of books. (He pulls himself out of the coffin and stumbles away from it.)
(The coffin transforms into a pile of books. You can see my eyes, peeking over the shadow of a few covers.)
Quartz: Heh, I thought so. Scribbler, you’ve got a positive talent for going to extremes.
Me: I swear, I’m trying to lead a more balanced life. Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution, to try to lead a more balanced life between reading, writing, eating, drinking, everything else in my existence.
Quartz: (rolling his eyes) Right. You. Balanced.
Christopher: Enjoying a good book is all well and good, but don’t forget to write. Remember you yourself get cranky when you’re not writing enough.
Me: Very true. In fact, there’s something I need to go write. A letter. If I can just get out of this pile of books…
Christopher and Quartz: …