Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Christmas in the Trenches

It's Wednesday again and I have no idea what to blog about. I guess I could talk about annoying trends in publishing, bad behavior of authors or the importance of self-editing, but these posts will appear in 2011. I just don't have the energy to tackle them right now.

So let's talk about Christmas. In the face of expecting even more snow tonight (and in case anyone is wondering, I'm already sick of winter) my thoughts always turn to the world of Charles Dickens, Robert Frost and the Bronte sisters.

Life seemed to be much easier when these literary greats lived. Snow fell and blanketed the cities with white, temporarily covering up the grime and blocking out the ugliness that was their worlds.

While I'm sure the urgency to procure gifts for loved ones and friends existed back then, it wasn't at the frenetic pace of today. After all, who on our list really needs the piles of crap we're compelled to buy, wrap then see flung away in the face of other, more sought-after junk?

When will we return to the easy gentility of homemade gifts or simply enjoying the company of friends and family by dropping in for tea and a good meal?

That's the world I want to know. When lives weren't measured on the amount of material things a person possessed, the size of a house you lived in, how much money in the bank you had.

Where people passing in the streets or sidewalks actually said hello to each other instead of barreling past with scowls and foul words. Where decorations were tasteful and understated, not the garish displays that cut through the darkness of today.

What a novelty that would be!

So, to ease you into your day, I leave you with this, the letter from young Virginia O'Hanlan that long ago day, when she too began to question her world:

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

"VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

2 comments:

Kristabel Reed said...

We have no snow here, but bitterly cold weather that dips below freezing on a regular basis. Last year's snow was more than enough thank you. I won't even mention the wind gusts.

I agree! This year my family went small with the gifts, and frankly after the hell that 2010 has been, it'll be nice just to sit with everyone and eat, talk, look at the decorations. NOT the I'm going to light up every inch of my house ones, but the ones inside, by a roaring fire and watch the classic Christmas cartoons and movies.

And I rarely know what to blog about, so I appreciate it when another author says the same thing.

Sandra Sookoo said...

lol I'm having brain drain right now when it comes to blogging. It happens from September onward lol