Just busy trying not to ruin a classic

It occurred to me that before I started getting angry letters or rocks through my windows, I should probably post something new.  It has, after all been over a week since I last published a post.  A duration of that length nearly screams either "QUITTER!", "DEAD!", or "DRUNK!"

Thankfully, it only seems like it’s been that long since I wrote something.  The fact is, I was busy with something a little unusual, for another website.  I imagine most anyone who follows my puddin-y goings-on already knows this, but I spent a hefty portion of last week writing a craft beer-related adaptation of Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol".

It was, without a doubt, one of the most fun things I’ve done so far since deciding to shut up and write.  And I need to give a huge "Thank You" to Tom and Carla, the composite foundation upon which the whole Hoperatives thing is built, for letting me run off a little with their website for five consecutive days leading up to Christmas.

So…why "A Craft Brew Christmas Carol"?  Because I LOVE "A Christmas Carol" – no seriously, I love it like little kids love Christmas morning – and, well, because it was just crazy enough that even I wasn’t sure whether this particular project might a few steps past the dotted line separating reasonable from batshit crazy.

How would you feel if someone said, "You’ve got a week to rewrite a beloved Christmas classic.  If you screw the pooch, an angry mob of people dressed as 17th century carolers is going to show up at your door, and they won’t be crooning ‘Here We Go a Wassaling.’"  Making things even sillier, in this case, I put myself up to it.  Because, you know, that’s what I do.

Why? Well, ever since I wrote a parody of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" last year, A Visit from Gambrinus, for Hoperatives, I’ve been trying to decide how to follow it up.  I figured I should write a special beer-related Christmas post every year, but was so pleased with how last year’s turned out I didn’t know what to do to raise the bar.

So I thought and I thought, but nothing came to mind.  I mean, I could have just taken another well-known poem or song or something and done the same word-replacement bit.  But that was so 2010.

And then, one not-as-chilly-as-it-should-have-been morning* a week or so ago, as I was contemplating how angry I was with Netflix because in this day and age you can’t stream the George C. Scott 1984 version of "A Christmas Carol", it hit me like a ton of dead man’s bedclothes: I could totally add some craft brewing themes to Dickens’ well-known and much-loved tale of redemption at Christmas.

But, then, that’d be just crazy.  Like, drooling on myself crazy.  Cuckoo’s Nest crazy.  Michelle Bachmann crazy.

Now, normally when the Big Crazy Idea hits me, I bounce it off the Puddinette, and she tells me to quit snorting her bath salts.  So I expected Tom and Carla to give me that "How do you tie your own shoes whacked out like that?" look and then politely tell me to go sit quietly in the corner and think about what I’ve done.

But they’re good – also somewhat crazy – folk.  So, instead, Tom said, in summary, "I love that story; go for it, but don’t mess it up or I’ll never forgive you."

Okay, maybe I exaggerated that somewhat.  I might have assumed the I’ll-never-forgive-you-part.  Truth be told, they were both actually very supportive.

So I put fingers to keyboard and went to town, hoping to keep the central tenants of the story intact while adding some craft beer particulars.  And I could not be happier with how it turned out.

Oh!  As an added bonus, I got to exchange emails with Greg Koch of Stone Brewing over the thing.  He’s like a rock star in the craft brewing world, so that was pretty sweet for me.

At any rate, no, I’m not dead, and I haven’t crawled back into a dark whole to mumbled to myself about twig shavings.  I just took a few days to focus on adapting a Dickens classic.  And then, well, I guess there was that whole "Christmas" thing…and requisite exhaustion.  But that’s another post.

Didn’t happen to catch the 5 part mini opus?  Well, then, have I got links for you!

Stave I:   A CRAFT BREW CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE GHOST OF JACKSON MERRILL
Stave II:  A CRAFT BREW CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE FIRST SPIRIT
Stave III: A CRAFT BREW CHRISTMAS CAROL — THE SECOND SPIRIT
Stave IV: A CRAFT BREW CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE THIRD SPIRIT
Stave V:  A CRAFT BREW CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE END OF IT

I hope everyone enjoyed the thing as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Next year, in the spirit of continuing to raise the bar, I guess you should go ahead and expect Hoperatives Presents: The Beer-Nutcracker Suite.

Hmm…that might require a choreographer, though.  So, maybe not.

No one wants to see me in tights.

Pud’n


*Seriously, this lack of wintery conditions business is harshing my holiday mellow.

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