Word count: 290 Reading time: 2 mins.
Christmas! Does any other holiday inspire so many stories? If you live in the Western world it’s hard to be untouched by the manic net of this season. What a rich opportunity for writers.
We could start with the ancient stories, the Christian ones that blended with existing pagan myths. These tales could be retold. There are many websites that provide different versions of the evolution of modern traditions and all of them are open to interpretation and flights of fancy. (the real origin of Christmas).
Stories might come to us come from the shimmering pages of the recent past. If you think that a holiday recollection is bound to be prosaic then maybe Dylan Thomas reading A Child's Christmas in Wales will change your mind.
Contemporary stories might float past us, muffled by the ringing of bells or the impatient growl of traffic. This week the crowds jostled me into two people who were speaking quietly. I caught partial sentences. He: “No one should complain about death.” She, with strong feeling: “Not in the morgue!” I’ll never know what came before or after that intriguing exchange so I may just have to invent it.
Maybe your Christmas story is one of exclusion because of faith. Maybe you have no family or no friends with whom to celebrate, so yours is an orphan’s tale. Maybe the conflict of Christmases past makes you shun the holiday: another starting point for a story.
If Christmas dinner is ruined or you’re snowed in for forty-eight straight hours without power, will those events inspire a future scene in your work? Can you turn this year’s roses and thorns into fine tension?
Enjoy the holiday but don’t forget your notebook.