Yesterday morning, before breakfast – before coffee even – I stood in my pajamas with a mixing bowl in one hand and a lid in the other trying to coax a mouse out of my pantry. It happens about this time every year. After the first few frosty nights, our house is looking a little too warm and welcoming, a little too safe from hungry hawks and foxes.
But trust me, buddy, you want to get in my bowl here. You don’t want what my husband has in store for you!
Really I can’t blame the little guy. Where I’m from (midway up the American Atlantic Coast) this is the time of year when we all want to get a little bit cozier. We grab the extra fluffy blankets. We light the fireplaces. We string the twinkle lights. Maybe there’s even a dusting of snow. But even if there isn’t, the way the last of the leaves fall – in those twisting, twirling cascades – feels like magic.
The stories we’ve selected for December give me the same warm, cozy feeling. They promise hope and love. They deliver magic.
First is Rebecca Harrison’s “Little Pound Shop”, a much more enchanting, entertaining pest control issue.
Next is Rachael Jones’ “Seven Ways to Find Yourself at the Transdimensional Multifandom Convention,” which brings home an important message of self-love.
Stewart C Baker returns to the pages of FFO with “Five Books from the Alnif Crater Traveling Library.” Trust me, you can’t curl up on the couch with a cup of tea without a good book, even if you live on Mars.
Finally, Marisca Pichette brings the year to a close with “How to Safely Store Your Dragons”, a useful guide in any season, but one I find particularly poignant in winter and around the holidays when we’re inside and keeping the company of our own personal dragons.
And this reminds me that there’s another reason I’m gravitating toward these heartwarming stories. It’s not the doomscrolling and the news cycle. It’s not the consumerism and incessant busyness of the holidays. It’s my much more personal journey from reader to the publisher of this magazine. Since making the decision to take on this role, I’ve found myself often overwhelmed, sometimes confused, a bit like a dazed little mouse released into the backwoods.
There’s a hollow log out there, somewhere, for you, at least you don’t have to worry about interest rates.
But while there’s a lot of uncertainty in any new venture (and the world at large), I know that stories are my cozy blankets, that fiction is my hearthfire, and that FFO is my home.
~ Rebecca Halsey, Fiction Editor & (most recently) Publisher