In my corner of Asia, where Sweat has its own personality and my backyard looks like Barrie’s Neverland, holidays feel far away because there aren’t quite enough reminders. The surplus of candy corn, the spider-webbed columns of old Victorian houses, the vampire teeth in the quarter machines… we have none of that here. Especially as we are now in a period of mourning–our beloved king has passed–any holidays that might have touched our land have been dampened into solemnity.
The eastborn kings brought special gifts
of gold, of myrrh, of frankincense,
which held much deeper symbol than
the givers’ stately opulence.
All stable witnesses did sense
that Mary held a newborn prince,
so gold—it seemed a natural choice,
but why the myrrh and frankincense?
Perhaps the second wise man knew
the kinds of works the child would do—
to serve as priest, to read the Law,
light incense as the holy do.
But present three made Joseph take
a darker look at Jesus’s face,
for precious oils like myrrh were used
to prepare bodies for the grave.
Yet somehow this king understood
before the child’s family ever would
that life would demand sacrifice
and death upon a cross of wood.
And Jesus did as Priest-King serve
to live and preach the Holy Word;
not only this, he–sinless–dragged
our rebel souls back to the Lord.
But in His body, He did bear
the wounds we sinners never share.
He came, He died, He made a way;
His soul, for us, formed heaven’s stairs.
So let’s thank God for presents—three!—
foretelling love and Satan’s tree.
The gift God gave at Christmastime
was Jesus Christ who sets us free.
And let’s with Mary ponder Him
who by His love makes dark grow dim,
and all year, treasure Him who is
our gold, our myrrh, our frankincense.
It’s that time of year again. My little sister’s herd of screaming girlfriends rampages the house, strung out on soda and Halloween candy, in honor of her birthday. We prematurely play Celtic Woman Christmas and Michael Bublé on the car radio (can only listen to him around this time… don’t know why). Men and women alike vow to lay aside razors in favor of the Cavemen and Girl-power Looks–with accompanying smell. There’s the usual Macy’s Day Parade, a triptobed from tryptophan, and thank-you notes on hand-traced crayon turkeys. Most importantly, NaNoWriMo culture invades campuses and workplaces across America. For scholars, the first casualty to our 50,000-word goal is usually homework. Concern for proper MLA formatting on a 20-page teaching module flies away like something that flies, but I don’t know what because I’m already low on similes. The next death in the family of sedentary activities: blogging (this fact stated, why am I blogging? I’m already behind by 500 words). Happy November.
I’ve never really done this insane thing called National Novel Writing Month before. Not whole-heartedly. This time around, I’ve pretty much sold my soul. As much as I love blogging and writing poems, I have missed lengthy prose with characters I know better than real human beings. The momentum of NaNoWriMo will help, I think, get me over my initial dislike of new narrative worlds. Sometimes, new settings are like new shoes, and since my greatest comfort zones are riddled with familiarity and comfortable “souls,” the newness of the novel can jar me enough that I stop writing. This cannot happen. Those 500 words call my name. Excessive description perhaps? At least, to tide me over until my 1,667 words due tomorrow.
Speaking of which, have any of you ever heard of “purple prose“? My fellow Writing Center tutor and NaNoWriter, Steph, was attempting to explain this phenomenon to me today in between tutoring sessions. According to Steph, what’s-her-face fluffs her Twilight books up with it, namely via descriptions of Edward’s Adonis-like torso. “Literary self-indulgence…” she said. Well, this gal is going to be giving herself over to quite a bit of purple prose. No outline in sight…settings as new to me as to any future reader…oddball characters who have yet to let me name them (these willful brain-children…)… Who cares? I’ll revise in January after the ink’s dried out during December.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Must write the thing first. In case I run into a wall or a wall pops up out of the floor while I’m dashing through the maze of my characters’ minds because they are disobedient creatures… I’ve made my own version of a NaNoWriMo Prompt Jar. Everything will be a rushed fog this month, and no, I won’t be shaving. Hence, I shortened it to “nanojar”– fewer syllables. It is full to the brim with folded slips of construction paper on which I have written writing “dares.” For instance, #14: “What’s the worst thing that could happen to your character right now? Do it.” (But shouldn’t that always be our motto? If novelists did to real people what they did to their characters, they’d get locked up.) You brave souls, add me as a buddy (search “dorinorman“) and write with me if you dare.