“There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago”
It`s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year: Andy Williams
Whatever happened to the ‘traditional’ Christmas ghost stories anyway? Sure there is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but what else is there? Like the fairy tales, made popular by the Brothers Grimm and Aesop, these supposed children’s stories all had a grim undertone, a warning of sorts. Now what do we have? My Little Pony Christmas? Have we been reduced to this?
I know, it’s tricky ground to tread, but given that my head has been firmly entrenched in Victorian Era and influenced by the likes of Poe, Dickens and Shelley, it’s a good fit. Historical ghosts literally haunt my waking moments and skew my perspective. I can’t listen to music anymore without hearing it dressed in the accoutrements of my stories. Witchy Woman by the Eagles becomes a song about werewolves, Herman’s Hermits become a parlour group popular in the early 1800’s.
So when Good King Wenceslas came on the radio as we drove through the snow-globe of weather on the way to a funeral and then onward to a book launch for Dorothea Helms (the instrument of my first steps towards being a writer) last night, this is the conversation subject Sue and I explored. Suddenly the carol expanded in my head into a story and I walked the fields of snow with the Good King and his page while silence descended in our truck.
“You’re writing again, aren’t you?” Sue asked and I was back at the wheel, the song on the radio had moved on to Bruce Springsteen mangling some other poor carol. (I like him and all, but please Bruce, no more Christmas music. If I have to hear you talk about Clarence getting a saxophone from ‘Santy Claus’ I’m gonna lose the Christmas Spirit altogether.)
So here I sit, keyboard happily clicking away again, a world of snow, mountains and dark forests filling the page, the Harry Simeone Chorale carolling in the background. Maybe it won’t be the next Christmas classic, but it feels… right.