Destination: Christmas #14

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 14

In the bleak midwinter

by Christina Rossetti

It’s round two, everyone! Ready your engines! Or something along those lines. If you haven’t read this morning’s post here’s a link to it. It’s about reading Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin and memories.

Today’s text is a poem. Something corny, with rhymes and feelings. So I’m not going to talk about that. Or rather, I’m not going to focus on it. A few hours ago I was talking to someone about the high suicide rates in some countries during winter because of the darkness that engulfs them. That was the first thing that came to my mind when I read the first few lines of this poem. The author depicts a winter that’s all edges softened by Christ being born, shining like a beacon in a lake of despair.

I imagine you’d cling to any sort of light in that darkness. Walking outside like moths drawn to a flame that’s there and gone, almost like it never was. I wonder if people forget what sunlight feels like, whether it comes a point where it feels like darkness is all they’ve ever know and that’s what drives them to suicide. It’s easier to fall deep within yourself when it’s as dark outside as you sometimes feel inside. Without contrast, I suppose every darkness is the same – they all offer plenty of opportunities to lose yourself.

So, let’s cherish the light whether it be real, spiritual, or emotional. Cherish it like it’s what stands between you and an endless winter night. Because it is.   

Have a good one, readers!

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Destination: Christmas #4

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 4

Toward the Winter Solstice by Timothy Steele

Hello, readers! Friday is almost over, but the weekend has just begun! What better way to end the beginning than with some poetry? Because that’s the kind of stuff that happens in poems, right? Sure.

I read this poem a couple of times, then I looked for the date thinking it’d be something fairly recent. It was actually written in 1948, which is impressive because it feels like it could be happening next door. The SUVs flocking to expensive restaurants, spilling their human insides onto the pavement for family night. The UPS trucks going back and forth delivering packages filled with Black Friday loot and prematurely bought Christmas presents. It feels like a poem written for today, written for this very moment in time.

He says nothing changes and, while that may be true for the actions and the circumstances, there is a quiet peace in that poem that is absent in our lives today. That melting pot that casually accepts Christmas has become a melting pot for hatred and fear. Where neighbor fears neighbor and everyone is slightly afraid of everyone else, worried about what they hide under turbans and robes and ill concealed gun holsters. Wary of commenting or critiquing on something as innocuous as Christmas lights because it could lead down ugly roads. You could start an argument or worse, a friendly relationship with your neighbor.

I’m sure this poem is meant to be more uplifting. Something about the pleasantness of this neighborhood, the spirit of Christmas that blooms even in big, bad L.A. The Silent Night that still rings true even though the magi have been replaced by UPS. But, to be honest, it just makes think about how much Christmas has changed and how meaningless it becomes for people as the years go by.

I love Christmas, I love the smell of pine trees and the decorations, I even love Christmas music! But sometimes it’s hard to keep up the Holiday cheer in the midst of all the stuff that happens. What I’m saying is sometimes life gets in the way of Christmas and it’s up to us whether to let it go or hold on to it. I tumble between one and the other, depending on what’s happening. But my heart always lifts when I hear a Christmas song or the smell of pine hits my nose. Maybe he’s right, maybe even though everything changes, something always stay the same.

What do you think, readers? Is Christmas what it used to be? I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Until next time, stay cool.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Hello everyone!

So, today I (unexpectedly) got a new job which is cool because money, but it has totally thrown a wrench into my reading and writing time. I’m still working out a new schedule, hence the late posting, but bear with me! I promise things will normalize soon. 

I’ve been reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and it’s really interesting.
I’m particularly taken with Mabel, definitely looking forward to see how her character progresses and changes throughout the book. I’m loving the novel so far, the way you can almost feel the Alaskan winter seeping through the pages.

Now, in case you don’t know the novel is about a childless couple who moves to Alaska in order to be by themselves and escape the pity of those who know she lost a child. However, the Alaskan winters are tough and keep driving them further apart. In an uncharacteristic moment of happiness during the first snowfall, they build a snow child. The next day, the snow child is gone, but they see a young girl running through the woods. They eventually come to love her as a daughter, but all is not as it appears.

dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuuuun! *cue suspenseful music*

That’s what I’ve been able to glean from reading different bits and pieces about it online. The novel is actually based on a Russian legend by the same name that follows sort of the same pattern, so I’m curious to see how much of the novel stays true to the legend.

Maybe I should find a book of Russian legends or fairy tales to complement this one? I actually think I might want to pair each destination with a nonfiction book that pairs either with the country or the novel’s subject. We’ll see.

Sweet dreams, readers. Until next time!