Editor's note: This article is from the December issue of Townhall Magazine. Click here to subscribe and receive a free copy of Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign that Started It All by Craig Shirley.
Glenn Beck, one of our nation's leading conservative voices, recently chatted with Townhall Magazine in advance of his newest book, The Christmas Sweater, hitting stores this season.
What kind of message does your new novel, “The Christmas Sweater,” contain for your audience?
My message is simple: Every single one of us has the power to start over again. Outside of Manhattan and Berkeley (you know, in those annoying “fly-over states”) they call it “redemption”—and it’s the greatest gift in the world.
For years, I didn’t understand redemption or atonement—I thought they were just words used in sermons to get more money into the collection basket. Then, one day, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I’d become a mean, unemployable, alcoholic who was quickly losing his friends and family. I started listening to those sermons more closely, and I decided to change.
As I look back, it seems obvious that the embodiment of all that’s happened to me can be found in the form of a sweater my mother knitted for me before she died. At the time, I hated her gift so much that I threw it on the floor of my bedroom in disgust. But now I understand what her gift really was: Redemption. I picked that sweater up off the floor and wore it proudly—and from that moment on, my life was never the same.
My message, and the message of “The Christmas Sweater,” is that redemption isn’t just a word—it’s a gift that can transform your life. It transformed mine.
How did you approach this differently from the non-fiction books you’ve written?
In many ways, this was a lot easier. With fiction you don’t have to let little things like “facts” or “sources” get in the way (Keith Olbermann knows what I mean). Besides, since this story is loosely based on my own childhood, it was really a matter of making my life sound interesting—something that was a lot more difficult than it might sound.
What’s involved in “The Christmas Sweater” tour?
Probably my death. Honestly, this tour is the most ambitious thing I’ve ever done. We’ve basically turned the novel into a full scale Broadway production. We’ve got an orchestra, an amazing Gospel singer, incredible animations, and then me ruining it all by playing nine different characters.
Financially, this could be a bloodbath, but it’s also really taxing on me personally: We’re scheduled to do something like 14 shows in 20 days (the whole schedule is available at GlennBeck.com) and that’s on top of the 45 or so book signings that I’m doing at the same time.
The good news is that anyone used to watching watered-down, politically correct “holiday” specials will be pleasantly surprised at how this show doesn’t shy away from the real meaning of Christmas—and yes, that means the “G-word” might be mentioned a few times.
What was your reaction when you found out your book would be released at the same time as Stephen King’s new release, the man who once referred to you as “Satan’s mentally challenged younger brother”?
Indescribable joy. Honestly, if “The Christmas Sweater” somehow appears on the same best seller list as Stephen King’s new novel, it would be one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life. I just picture him waking up Sunday morning, putting on his trifocals, opening his precious New York Times, and spitting out his wheat grass cereal when he sees that even a mentally challenged relative of the devil can do what he does.
What is RamaHanuKwanzMas?
It’s the most politically correct holiday in the world. A few years ago I got so sick of all the holiday nonsense that I just decided to create my own day that celebrates all holidays at once. That way we don’t have to guess what anyone celebrates or risk somehow “offending” them. People have really taken to it. In fact, I’m going to lobby President-elect Obama to make it official, he seems like an inclusive kind of guy.