Elf: A Writer’s Fantasy! – by Laura Yeager

Elf: A Writer’s Fantasy! – by Laura Yeager

Where can a person write a best-selling children’s book, and see it published in just a few seconds?

“Nowhere,” you might say.  “That’s ludicrous.”

But, come on; use your imagination. You’re writers, aren’t you?

The answer is only in a Hollywood film, a Christmas movie no less.

The movie is Elf was written by David Berenbaum, and directed by Jon Favreau. The story tells the tale of Buddy (played by Will Farrell), a little human orphan baby, who crawls into Santa’s bag, and is accidentally taken back to the North Pole.  There he is raised by Papa Elf (played by Bob Newhart).

When he grows up, Papa Elf tells Buddy the truth of his origin after Buddy overhears another elf saying he is not an Elf, but human.  He also tells his adopted son the name and whereabouts of his birth father, Walter Hobbs (a book publisher) in New York City, and the name of his birth mother, Susan Wells.

Buddy journeys to New York to meet his father, who Santa (played by Edward Asner) said was on the naughty list.  Walter Hobbs (played by James Caan) is a selfish man who only thinks about money.  Throughout the course of the film, Walter becomes more human, as does Buddy.

Spoiler Alert.  In the end, Buddy writes a children’s book about his life, and about saving Christmas and, in the process, saves his father’s publishing career.  Oh, happy day!

Buddy is the quintessential writer, even though he doesn’t realize it until the very end of the movie.  Let’s examine the personality of the character who makes this all happen:

First of all, Buddy is an outsider through and through.  He maintains his outsider status in a variety of environments:

In the North Pole, where he has to sleep in a tiny elf bed and pee in a tiny elf pot

In New York, where he doesn’t understand the purpose of revolving doors; he thinks they’re mainly for fun as he spins around and around in them

In Gimbel’s Department Store, where he over-decorates the Toy Department

In jail, after tackling a fake Santa

In the mail room at his father’s office where he briefly discusses relationships with a drunk man

But, most importantly, in his own nuclear family.

How many times have you felt like an outsider?  Many feel that this is the author’s fate.  From this outsider stance, you observe life, recording all of it, and then regurgitating it out on paper (or a computer screen).

Secondly, Buddy is idiosyncratic.  He likes to eat maple syrup on his spaghetti, and chew used chewing gum he finds on objects as he’s walking through New York.

Yes, writers have a reputation for being a little weird; a little kooky.  Are you?

Third, Buddy is innocent…so innocent that he wanders into the women’s restroom, where his love interest is showering and singing to beat the band.  There, he joins in the song.

Writers are innocent.  They have to be.  Who else could come up with such lovely (albeit often bizarre) stories?  Nuff said.

Finally, Buddy is authentic.  He is completely and totally himself.  It is real authenticity that allows a writer to invent fresh ideas that can sell in the publishing world and, in many ways, can change the culture.

Buddy didn’t just save Christmas.  He recorded his life in a book for all to read.

I’m not sure which is a bigger accomplishment.



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