“Christmas in My Mind,” by Ernest Dempsey. Chatting across the oceans

Ernest Dempsey and I met in 2007 when he reviewed my book “Sightlines: A Poet’s Diary” on TCM Reviews--Tami Brady’s review site. Since then we’ve become writing friends across the waves. On Riehlife I’ve often referred to him as “Our Man in Pakistan.”

Have some fun reviewing the Riehlife archives that feature Ernest Dempsey’s wit and wisdom.

Often I’ll be typing along on my email and the chat box pops up with a greeting from Ernest. Something interesting always emerges. Here’s today’s chat that we wanted to share with you.


Ernest: Happy Christmas!

Janet: And to you. Do you celebrate?

Ernest: I used to celebrate in a very unusual way, not at all religious. Now I just remember those memories; and it brings a warm feeling.

Janet: What did you do?

Ernest: Hard to explain briefly. Twenty years ago I would make short films in my mind, involving the characters from my favorite TV shows. It’s like I had my own “film industry” which celebrated Christmas all day long: films, games, and songs.

Janet: Wow. Sounds like the birth of you as a writer.

Ernest: Actually that was when I in class 9th in school, but I already had started writing when I was in 6th. The time in 9th was the peak of my creativity.

At home, I would go up on the roof and take a paper and pen, and then it was all me and imagination and words and joy.

Janet: That’s lovely! A good topic for a little essay. Or a blog post?

Ernest: I actually have been thinking of writing an entire book, though one extremely nostalgic.

Janet: Well, you can write about the goodness of the past without being nostalgic.

Ernest: Yes, especially now when I am an internationally published author. In those days I only dreamt of being a known writer. How are you and Erwin? Do convey my greetings to him.

Janet: Daddy just got up and is taking his medicine. I just conveyed your greetings to him. He said, “I’m glad to be greeted from Pakistan. I’m glad to be here other than Pakistan. I’m glad to be here at all.”

Ernest: Erwin’s wonderful!

Janet: Yup, he’s pretty special. Thanks for the chat. Will you have an imaginative film festival today?

Ernest: I’m afraid not. But I may be keeping a game tradition alive. Actually it’s interesting. Earlier this month, I played that game with my writer friends’ names, including you.

Janet: What did you come up with?

Ernest: An American writing friend held the contest, and I won. She wanted to send me a gift basket as my prize.

Janet: And what’s in the gift basket?

Ernest: For men, it was snacks; for women, spa items. I didn’t want her to send me the basket all the way from America. So I thought of letting her send it to an American friend on my behalf.

Janet: Sweet!

Ernest: Yes, but the question was who to send it to, since all my writer friends are so wonderful. So I wrote down the names of my most special American friends, all writers and/or editors.

Janet: You’re a generous fella.

Ernest: Thanks! I played that coin game with the names as the contestants for the prize. I would like to post the score of the game after the winner gets the prize. For now, I’m keeping the name of the winner to let the gift arrive as a surprise.

Janet: Nice! Got to leave now. Always good to be in touch.

Ernest: Likewise. Bye for now!


Ernest’s unique coin game’s score will be made public after the winner receives that prize. Don’t miss checking out his journal Recovering the Self.

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