Like so many of us have, science fiction writer John Scalzi managed to catch what he thinks was the obstinate and virulent COVID-19 coronavirus, which muzzied his head and made writing – his bread and butter – more or less an unmanageable task for much of November and the first part of December. Though he tested negative, the

From Scalzi’s blog at

Short version: I co-wrote a Christmas song with the musician Matthew Ryan and through New Year’s Day we are offering it free, as a gift to you (yes! You!). You can download it now from Matthew’s Bandcamp site, and you can listen to it here through the lyric video I’ve embedded at the bottom of this entry. Merry Christmas, and happy holidays.

He wrote out the lyrics longhand on a legal pad – something he never ever does. Writing by hand with a pen joggled his brain and got the words flowing again after a six week drought.

The lyrics I wrote feel of a piece with what I come to Matthew Ryan’s work for. The two of us have been friendly online for years, and we’ve both cheered each other’s various successes. So I sent him a message, which was, more or less, hey I did some words, can I show them to you? And he said, more or less, yes, I like your words generally, show them to me. And then on Friday night, he said, more or less, hey, I worked on your words some and here’s what they sound like now, what do you think, and enclosed a demo.

Which I listened to, and got teary over. And then I played the demo for Krissy, and she got teary too, at which point I said, oh by the way, I co-wrote that with Matthew, because, uhhhhhhh, I hadn’t told her about it before that moment. Because, remember, I originally hadn’t planned for anything other than to use the songwriting to get out of my own head. This — an actual song — qualified as a real bonus.

So by Monday morning we had a completed version of the song, and then the question was: What now?

The answer to “what now” is: Here, have a song. This song was a surprise to the both of us, our sudden and previously unthought-of collaboration was a late-breaking bit of joy we got to give to each other, and 2020 has been a real motherf—-r of a year. We could all use something unexpected and hopeful here at the end of it. Also, it’s the holiday season, Christmas is coming for those who celebrate it, as well as a new year. In all of these cases a gift is not out of order.

Here’s ours, to you, with love. We hope you like it.


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