Christmas Carols


The one thing I truly love about Christmas are the carols.  I love the music, the sentiments, and the beautiful images.  Without these melodies I don’t think the holidays would hold much magic for me. The power and simplicity of the words – inspire in me scenes for a novel, or at least some sort of emotional reaction to install in a character.

Take a look at O’ Holy Night lyrics –

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine

Fall on your knees – I see the desperation of a character, the black moment in a book (or even the inciting incident)  This symbolism shows defeat but also struggle and the need for salvation.   Then O’ Hear the angel voices – The answer is out there we just need to open our ears.  O’ night divine – The climax and closing of a book.

This is how my inner writer works – In my head, as I write this post, I see a Medieval Peer – a Knight – who has fought to find purpose in his life after the death of his wife and child.  He drinks to sleep, he works to drink, and his sorrows live so perilously close to his skin. He is so depressed and disparaging he cannot see the light of life around him.  He falls to his knees (song inspiration)  begging for the life of his wife, begging for acceptance, he is lost and needs to be found.  A woman – a maid – comes to his side and helps him to bed – her kindness becomes his will to live (song inspiration – angel speaking).  As he seeks her light and warmth they fall in love and he begins to live again. Of course there is a happy ever after – (Song inspiration – finding the divine)

Every song feeds my creativity.  I can come up with story and scene one right after another.  Perhaps it’s the power and grace of Christmas that fosters the plot and brings to light the emotional depth of storytelling.  It’s this time of year, humanity seems to take center stage whereas, other times during the year it is not as prevalent.  So, maybe it’s that strength in community and belief that makes for a stronger sentimentality and emotional writing.

My other favorites, Little Drummer Boy, Christmas Bride, What child is this, and Do They know it’s Christmas, and of course – Silent Night.

What about you?  What Christmas Carols inspire you? What lines of lyrics touch your heart?  What is it about Christmas that moves you emotionally?  What are your favorite Christmas songs?




The Elf

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

– Albert Einstein

My friend Randy brought this Elf to my house.  It was all cute and cuddly, in it’s little red suit with green socks peeking from his black leather boots. His pointed little hat was set at a kind of jaunty angle and his eyes seemed to twinkle.

Randy explained this was a new Holiday tradition.  This little elf, we’ll call him Harlen, was to keep watch over me and my house until Christmas morning.  He would report to Santa with all my activities, both good and bad.

One little problem.

I didn’t want anyone–or anything to be privy to all my activities, not just during the holidays, but anytime.  I didn’t have anything to hide, per se, but I am a very private person.

Also, I didn’t particularly like the look of this Elf.  He had an air about him I just didn’t trust. His smile was bright enough, and his demeanor pleasant,but he seemed “off” somehow.  Nothing I could really put my finger on those first special days of getting ready for the holidays.

His suit was neat, his cap set on just so, his smile bright, but there was something about the look in his eyes that caused the the hair on my nape to rise.  Sometimes, the first night specifically, I’d  turn away for a time and when I turned back, I noticed his posture was a little different.

It was never anything major, and at first I thought it might be my imagination.  His hands were clasped in his lap, and at first it seemed like the right was on top, but then the left was there later.  Or maybe it was the way his eyes seemed to follow me about the room.

When I went to bed the first night he was in the house, I distinctly recall him being on the right hand side of the mantle as I faced the fireplace. In the morning he seemed to be closer to the middle of the mantle.

When I mentioned it to my friend, he smiled and joked, “Maybe Harlen was checking out your stocking, making sure Santa had plenty of room for your gifts?”

All well and good, but the following morning, Harlen had one leg propped across his other knee.  Very disconcerting.

Being the master of my own destiny, I took Harlen off the shelf and promptly packed him back in the tissue and box in which he’d arrived.

This made for a pleasant evening and relieved I’d settled the problem I decided on an early bedtime.  The holiday prep at my house is rigorous at best and everyday is a full day of activity. So after a nice glass of red wine in front of the fire, I went to sleep hoping for visions of sugar plums and nothing more.

Until I was rudely awakened at 4 am.

Loud noises in the parlor had me taking the gun from the safe and tip toeing into my living room with shaking hands and a mag light.

Only to find Harlen back on the shelf.

Promises Kept

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

– Tony Robbins

I know that Christmas is barely over, none of the decorations have been taken down or put away, and I’ll bet some of the tissue and wrap may linger beneath the tree.  But as the holidays progress many of us are already on to the next thing, New Years.

We have plans for New Years Eve, whether is be a quite evening at home with a special someone, a trip to the slopes for a well deserved vacation or a full-out end of year blast with friends.  But when you think of New Years, many of us also think of resolutions.

So the question is “How good are you at keeping promises to yourself?”  Really, that’s all New Year resolutions are, promises to ourselves.  Things like, getting into shape, losing weight, working out, quitting smoking, being nicer to everyone we know, spending more time with the people we love, and last but not least, making more time for ourselves.

For writers, making time for ourselves generally means spending time on the thing we want to do most in the world, writing.

Whether you set your goals by page count, number of words per day or time in front of the computer, you need to be consistent.  I know I’ve shared the sentiment to start small (especially when you have difficulty keeping commitments to yourself) and increase the goal over time.  Remember 100 words a day?

It’s important to realize many resolutions made on January 1st are little more than a memory a week later.  We send the message to everyone we know, and reinforce to ourselves, we’re not worthy of the time and energy we give to others.

This year as we move from Christmas to the beginning of a brand new year, think about your promise carefully, even if it’s only a promise you make to yourself.  Follow through, and give yourself a special gift. Remember that setting a goal is only the first step.