Liz Balsameda’s touching article in The Palm Beach Post tells us the story of Tom Gregory, a Palm Beach Gardens writer who has nurtured his daughter’s budding creative skills for many years. My father, too, was a word-smith, and he shared the delight of writing with me his entire life.

Letter from santa

Gregory conveyed his support in a letter from Santa ten years ago, using the meter and rhyme of Twas the Night Before Christmas. The jolly old man tries to talk the child into wanting traditional toys.

“Readers read, and thinkers think.” So flow the words from Santa’s red ink. “But writers, they are a different breed. They fail over and over before they succeed.”

Tom Gregory

The girl realizes that her letter has generated a unique response.

“If my letter to Santa a thought did purvey, then I must be a writer!” she did excitedly say. “Not just a writer who combines paper and ink, but a writer who writes so her readers can think!

Tom Gregory

Gifts from my father

Both of my parents encouraged the creative impulses of my sister and me. Susie took the lead in music and art — she is still a huge fan of all kinds of music and has a wonderful collection of art on her walls. I carved out a dancing and writing niche — I followed my mother’s muse with a brief dance career and a lifetime of teaching movement, and writing is still the drive that gets me up in the morning.

Mom shared her love of reading and Dad gave me writing tools. I learned calligraphy at his side with my own pen and ink set. Dad gave me the Roget’s Thesaurus that is never far from my desk on Christmas in 1966, when I was just 12 years old. That morning also revealed his gift of Clement Wood’s The Complete Rhyming Dictionary with the following inscription:

To Jane — We hope, through the years, when the muse appears, and you’re in the mood poetic, You’ll take this from the shelf while expressing yourself, and [… uh, magnetic? Frenetic? Come to think of it, why don’t YOU just look over page 383, and we’ll let this end with “yourself”] Dad

Today, let me finish the poem. “Let fly your skill genetic.”

Christmas wish

So Santa did say, On that cold winter’s night, “Merry Christmas to all, And to all A GOOD WRITE!”

Tom Gregory

Hey, writers: who was your special Santa?

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