I wrote the book some time ago-- JUSTIN WAS A TERROR. The other day I came downstairs to find my husband reading it. I was surprised. He looked up and said, “This is a really good story.“ He began to read aloud, and I was taken with my own words. The characters came to life again, and the wording of various sentences reminded me of how I’d chosen one word over another. As I listened to the story, it seemed the work wasn’t mine at all but a story that existed somewhere by itself. It lived. It was complete. It had humor and sadness and spoke of values and reminded me of a good old-fashioned Christmas card that wished everyone cheer and good will. I do not exaggerate, even though I am the author. Sometimes what we write seems to take on a life of its own. Here's the thrill—my husband keeps "reading" parts from my book to me. I've never had such an experience.
Sometimes the thrill is in the project, the means to an end; sometimes it's the result. I love to be in the process of writing, be it a play, a story, or a poem. I lose myself in the process of the dialogue, action, the intrigue. But two other unexpected holiday thrills occurred, one before Christmas and one after.
Before Christmas on a brisk Sunday morning, we drove to a nearby city to attend a service performed by the Wesley Choir, Orchestra, and Dancers of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church. The “Fantasia Noel” was under the direction of Marlane Sturm, Director of Music and Arts. The music was arranged and orchestrated by one Joshua Spacht, thus the title “Spachtacular Christmas.” We went because our friend and fellow author MLRigdon wrote and presented the narration. We did not expect anything other than a traditional service, but instead we were swept away by the music, -- so regal, elegant, soaring, and so professionally beautiful. It was not a quiet cantata, but a joyful and thrilling one.
The other unexpected experience: in mid-August, I received a phone call from a long-time friend, who invited us to attend a holiday dinner. ” Put it on your calendar,” he said, “December 29th." I said, “It’s August!” He said, “I’m thinking ahead.”
We along with a few other guests were served a festive and memorable dinner. After aperitifs, appetizers, and small talk, we were invited to experience the Christmas tree. Lights were turned down and the glory of the tree shone all around. Vintage ornaments, light reflectors, antique 1920s and 1930s candle sets and strings of colorful C-6 lights glowed. Tiny whirly globe lampshade turned, bubble lights danced, and candles flickered. Thomas Edison, inventor of the first practical light bulb, was the man who brought to life the first strand of electric lights. He would have approved.
But that was not all. Dinner was served, smoked turkey inside a turkey, and all sorts of delicacies. Then, after a lot of talk, shared memories, and a French chocolate gateau, we were invited to experience the tree again. This time all lights were put out, including Edison’s, and a myriad of beeswax candles (for real) were lit, one by one, until the tree was bright to behold. It was a scene reminiscent of Victorian England or ancient Europe. Martin Luther would have approved. It was a thrill, albeit we were aware a fire extinguisher was probably nearby. At least we hoped it was. We sat in awe, almost in reverence, before toasting the dazzling project our host said took him two weeks to complete.
We toasted him, the tree, and our hopes for good health. May the projects we tackle this New Year give us –and/or others—a happy peace.