What’s in a Name?

105_0294Yes! Virginia is my way of saying “yes” to myself and to you – my friends and readers. Yes, I can connect with you through the written word, whether paper publishing or on the Internet! Also, Yes! to whatever your life-giving, hopeful dreams may be. Yes!

I dreamed of being an author almost as soon as I could read. I loved The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, and countless other books of vision and magic for children and adults.

I wrote my first story at the age of ten, about a fairy, an elf, and a spoiled princess. My next one was about two girls who travel into another world via a magic tree to conquer an evil wizard. (This was years before The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne). Then I went to college, wrote a bunch more stories and poems about kids and unicorns and magic, and studied a lot about injustice and war and what a mess we humans had made of the planet, most governments, and our global economy. Then I got a little distracted by working for newspapers, editing other people’s books, and, well, life. But I always made up stories – for my kids, my friends, and myself. Now it’s time to say “Yes!” to that author dream of mine.

But not only that. “Yes, Virginia,” is the immortal phrase followed by “there is a Santa Claus,” in The (New York) Sun newspaper editorial, “Is There A Santa Claus?” Unlike most newspaper prose, which ends up lining the bird cage a week after it’s published, this editorial has passed into proverb. Sun editor Francis P. Church really outdid himself in his reply to a little girl’s question shortly before Christmas 1897. His piece is the most reprinted editorial in any newspaper in the English language.

I share that little girl’s first name, and also her curiosity about things mysterious and improbable. Like Mr. Church, I am a relentless optimist and idealist. My website is a testament to the certainty that “love and generosity and devotion exist” and that “nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and unseeable in the world.”

Also – hey – it’s  like the man said: “Alas! How dreary would be the world if …. there were no Virginias.”

As a Virginia, I want to do my small part to keep dreariness at bay, and to nurture the belief that loving connections can bring healing transformation to us all.



  1. I had never heard of that letter about Santa Claus until this summer! I found it in this big old book from the public library that was a collection of women’s letters in America throughout the history of the country. I thought that one was so cute I took a picture of the page on my phone (that’s how I “save” a passage I really like nowadays) but I had no idea it was so famous, because a lot of the letters in this book were totally obscure. 🙂

    • Funny I never told you the story! It used to be reprinted at Christmastime quite often, I think. Maybe less so these days? I always associated it with the images of Santa with the word “Believe,” which are pretty ubiquitous even now — but I don’t know for sure that that’s the case! I know I couldn’t get the URL “yesvirginia” because it was taken. And I wasn’t surprised!

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