Conlang Descriptions English Language

Yuletide Cards from the Dreamtime

James William McCleary was born somewhere, possibly in the usual way, though some accounts claim he was given, as a baby, to an uncle and aunt to rear, after he was given a lightning scar by some Wizard who shouldn’t be named, whereas other accounts claim he arrived in an alien space ship from a dying world and was found in some Kansas cornfields by an elderly farming couple. Sophocles gives a completely different account as to James McCleary’s beginnings, but let’s not get silly.

By the age of eight he was writing and drawing his own stories based upon a character his grandfather had created, a boy character named “Puey.” By the age of twelve he added the character of a Princess who created her own fairy language to these stories, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. In general, fairy languages and Princesses make any story or artwork better, as he came to learn.

In high school he probably studied something, though his surviving notebooks are somewhat filled with doodles of Princesses and a made up language. At university he probably studied something, but his surviving notebooks are completely filled with doodles of Princesses and a made up language. Teachers had no idea what to do with him, and frankly, I can’t blame them.

In 2009 he read a book that claimed that “conlangers” exist. He sought them out using the alchemy of “computers” (some sort of clockwork journal, one my suppose) mostly so that he could exchange Christmas cards with them, since he celebrates Christmas for about half of the year. In 2012 he translated the entirety of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and “Hunting of the Snark”. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Nowadays James McCleary can mostly be found solving crime, fighting dragons, rescuing Princesses, engaging in mad science, and being completely serious. Maybe next year he’ll start making his Christmas cards early since they take so long to craft. He’s never actually met a “conlanger” face to face, but he’s reasonably sure that they, along with mermaids, sasquatches, and the Great Pumpkin, exist.

He has been accused of being silly, a charge which I can assure you is completely false.


Do you love Christmas? Yep! Do you love Christmas cards? Sure, we all do!

Making a Christmas Card in a fairy language can be quite a lot of hard work, requiring sketches, a lot of planning, and even more patience. In 2014 James McCleary created eight original Christmas cards featuring text in the Khlìjha language, and he recorded every step in the process. This paper gathers together all of the sketches and works-in-progress of his first Christmas Card of 2014. Each image represents anywhere from one to three hours of work. It takes a lot of Christmas cheer to finish one of these cards, so let’s take a look, shall we?

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.