Posts Tagged ‘christmas story’
“Writing is a lovely, creative, artistic endeavor. It can also be an absolute pain.”
Every writer has days when the words and ideas simply will not flow. Learn to value those days even if you do not enjoy them. Work through them. They are the best training ground for turning you into a real writer – a pro. Professionals write on good days and bad. They write when the ideas flow and when they do not. They write when the sentences seem effortlessly to form themselves. They write when words refuse to come. They keep on writing when they are suffering through days when their minds seem to be full of hot air.
On those bad days, turn to your own experiences and memories to get the wheels of your mind turning more freely. In other words, give your readers – quite literally – a piece of your mind. It’s quite a gift!
Read the short story here. It was written on a bad writing day when no ideas came easily. The writer called on real memories to turn a non productive day into a “good” one.
Christmas in October
A bathroom. A small, spare room of the early 1950s, far removed from the glamour of the voluptuous marble spas of today. Bath, sink, medicine chest, linoleum floor. A three-legged stool on which sat the small girl, earnestly watching her father.
A slow bead of condensate coursed its leisurely way down the heavily misted window. The pebbled glass, trembling in its blue metal frame, allowed a thin, grey light to soften the glare of the one fluorescent fixture.
So began a daily, valued ritual between father and daughter, a time of quiet before the panic of the family breakfast, and the rush to school and work. He stood at the sink, trousers slack around his waist, braces hanging in generous loops to his knees. His white cotton vest, woven in a lattice of diamond shapes, bright against the dark of his skin. She sat behind him on her stool, watching for his reflection in the cabinet mirror. He wiped the glass, the reflection of his face appeared, exchanged a smile with her, and then disassembled in the quickly clouding surface.
He smoothed the shaving cream from its tube into a small, stone bowl. He added a drop of water. He ran his thumb across the silver tipped bristles of the shaving brush and plunged the brush into the ointment of cream and water. As he beat the cream into foam, the delicious sound of the slurping of the foam against the bristles, and the muted knocking of the wooden brush handle against the stone sides of the bowl, combined into a heady music. In later years, she would only be able to recreate that sound by stirring thick chocolate milk in a china cup. That sound always returned her to the bathroom of her childhood, and its daily morning rite as the warm, moist air of the room became scented by the perfume of the shaving cream.
He opened the door of the medicine chest and from it took the plastic case, a jewel of a case, luminous, transparent, elegant. Its lid sprang open to reveal the shiny, silver razor, sitting proud on its clear foundation. She could fill that case with treasures if it were her’s. Marbles would glitter and gleam. The rusty aroma of acorn shells would complement the industrial tang of the plastic. Her collection of coloured wooden beads would glint in the reflection of light travelling through the clear, ice-like walls.
“I love that case, Dad,” she said, “I could keep so many important things in it. Could I have it when you’re finished with it?” She longed for that case as only a little girl with a highly colored imagination and an idea, set gem-like in her heart, could desire.
Her father turned to her, his dimples apparent in the unshaven bristles of his face. “You want this?” he asked in surprise. “Ooh, yes, please, Dad.” Gallantly the father bowed to his daughter, presented the box to her, and turned back to the sink. She caught his eye in the mirror, and he winked.
Her voice caught in her throat, “Oh dad,” she murmured, “Christmas in October.”
And it was.
Share your thoughts on the following in the comments:
1 Did you enjoy this story? Yes or No
2) Does it “ring true?” Yes or No
3) Do you think the story captured some of the deeper elements of the relationship between the father and daughter? If so, how would you describe their relationship?
Have you entered our Christmas writing contest yet? We here at Winghill decided to get in the Christmas spirit and write a Christmas story of our own! We hope it inspires you to do the same.
Julie and the Christmas Turkey
“It’s a Christmas miracle!” Julie exclaimed.
Everyone in the supermarket stopped and stared. Mothers held their sticky-faced children just a little bit closer, and little old ladies turned down their hearing aids.
Julie pulled her hood over her head to cover her burning cheeks. She hadn’t meant to yell out, but she was just so excited! She had her hands on the very last Butterball turkey in a four-mile radius and she was gripping it tight, ready to make her way to the cashier like a linebacker if anyone so much as happened to breathe on her.
It was going to be her first Christmas hosting dinner, and she was determined to get it right. Her parents, brother, sister, and dog Socks were miraculously all staying in her one-bedroom apartment in the city. Underneath her spindly artificial tree lay a mountain of colorful presents, and she had even bought a tablecloth for the occasion. Now, as she sat on the bus with her turkey bouncing in her lap she knew – it was going to be a great Christmas.
“Mom! Get the fire extinguisher!”
“I don’t know where you keep your fire extinguisher! You really have no storage space in here, darling.”
Socks was barking at the smoke as it circled around his head.
“Wait a minute, I don’t even have a fire extinguisher!” Julie pried open the window and stuck her head into the frozen air. The smoke escaped into the night and as it left the kitchen, it revealed a charred turkey. Julie started to cry. How had everything gone so wrong so quickly? Socks began sniffing around at the ashy remains, and Julie reached down and gave him a drumstick. At least one of them would have a good meal.
“Sweetheart, come here.” Her dad held her and patted her head. “Do you want me to talk to your landlord about getting you a fire extinguisher?”
Julie looked up at him through her tears. “No, Dad. It’s okay.”
“Well you’re obviously not going to do it! While I’m at it I can ask him for your rent receipts for your income tax. You can claim those, you know.”
Julie sighed and flopped down on the lumpy couch where her brother and sister were whispering.
“Hey big sis,” her sister squeezed her hand and gave her a big smile. “Tim and I think we know exactly how to cheer you up. Why don’t you open up one of your presents early?”
“Why not?” Julie replied under rivers of streamed mascara. “Christmas is already ruined anyway.”
Julie began to tear at the paper. “We made it ourselves!” Her siblings sang in unison. Her parents gathered around the living room, and everyone watched as Julie pulled out a family photo album. On the first page was written the following inscription:
To our amazing sister on Christmas. You’re the best!
For the rest of the evening, this close little family flipped through the glossy pages, laughing at themselves, telling stories of Christmases long ago, and wondering about Christmases yet to come. When they got hungry, they made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, and gave their crusts to Socks.