Happy Holiday Conglomeration

The holiday season is an amazing mishmash of ancient and contemporary traditions: Greek, Roman, Turkish, Norse, Germanic, Dutch, English, American and undoubtedly others, each adding their local and cultural influence. It’s rather like a potluck holiday, don’t you think?

  • Happy Saturnalia, may your servants and slaves wear your best finery. May your gift exchange provide you with humor and honor. And may your sacrifices be slight, may the blood spill—only a little.
  • May Saint Nicholas help you spread gifts, kindness and hope to all the children of the world.
  • May your Yule log burn throughout the night. May the mistletoe remain vibrantly green in your doorway and its associated fertility seep into your familial line.
  • May Frau Holle (Holly?), Old Mother Frost, shake her quilt to dust your lands with snow.
  • May the Twelve Days count up with your true love’s strange taste in gifts and the arrival of the Three Wise Men.
  • May your midnight mass be filled with solemn song and humble hymns.
  • May Sinterklaas ride his fine white horse, delivering treats to kids in need of an early morning sugar rush.
  • May Santa Claus and his trusty caribou break the laws of physics and geolocate your home and the deserving souls within.
  • May you dismiss your servants to box with their families on Boxing Day.
  • May the oil feed your lamp with guiding light during your eight crazy Hanukkah nights.
  • May your first fruits of Kwanzaa be as tasty as those delicious Texas ruby grapefruit.
  • May the miles of your twinkling lights blink all night to your neighbor’s chagrin, and may your pets avoid nibbling the poison poinsettias.
  • May you enjoy grandma’s fruitcake, despite its pickled fruit and leaden chew.
  • May the chocolate prizes behind each numbered door not taste of wax or plastic.
  • May your gingerbread house turn to stone, the gumdrop path escape theft and the candycane lamp post not droop to a sad, bent peppermint puddle.
  • May your stack of holiday cards grow each day, may your wreath avoid being blown down the street and may your tannenbaum retain its needles until you begin the nerve-wracking task of dragging its desiccated corpse from your living room.
  • But mostly, and I believe this is the primary reason we even celebrate this time of year, may the death of the old year and the birth of the new bring closure and the promise of better things to come.

Happy Holidays,
‘Mole

Holiday Addendum:

May your KFC be crisp and your Christmas Cakes be light and fluffy and available throughout the holiday.

May your Christmas Eve fondue bubble like molten gold and your lobster, oyster or favorite stew be as tasty as it was in your youth.

May your stockings burst with a cornucopia of treats and tokens of gratitude.

May the repetition of a thousand holiday carols drill their insidious ear-worms such that even when you’re away from their constant drone you continue to hum them beneath your breath.

May your Nativity Scene remain aglow despite the weather or vandals.

May your candles flicker, their wicks grown long and their wax not drip into the carpet.

May you find your hidden broom when the snow builds on your doorstep.

Regardless of your traditions may they bring you joy and contentment. If you know of others that you’d like to share…

Writer’s Log: 2140

Writing is caring.

Writing is, above all, work. But in order to write you have to care, care enough to put pen to paper. Care enough about your characters, your story to do them justice—to write them real.

But if you don’t care, about anything, that’s a problem.

Thumos-PlatosChariot
Plato’s Chariot: Appetite and Spirit reined by Reason

Recently, in a comment to TomBeingTom, I exposed a thought I’ve held for some time: of the concept of contextual layers of personal belief, (or disbelief).

Currently, myself and our Desertcurmudgeon appear to be psychologically dwelling in the outer-most context of the Absurd Universe where all things are meaningless. This setting represents the absolute and final stage of the philosophical interpretation of existence: All Is For Nought.

Recent correspondence between he and I have briefly explored this theory with an underlying current that attempts to retreat from this the Existential Edge. And that’s the crux of this thought. Somehow, if we’re to exist at all, we must forgo the beating of death’s drum, pull back into the light of some meaning, any meaning, to which we can grasp.

If I want to write, that is, learn to write well and practice the art, I need to find some means to divert my eyes from the constant nihilistic allure of the Absurd Universe.

CallOfTheWild

I just read a Smithsonian article about Jack London. The man lived like a champion and died at forty years of age. 40! And accomplished a dozen life-times of adventure and writing. Wow, what a remarkable man. I wonder what he believed in? Deep in the Klondike winter of 1898, did he contemplate the Absurd Universe? What meaningful ideology did he adopt that drove him to seize life as he did? (Thumos?)

Clearly, residing here in the outer valence shell of the atom that is the Universe is no way to live. Contracting one’s belief system back a level, perhaps two, is a deed that must be done to allow any kind of fulfillment or enjoyment in this life. However, divesting too many philosophical layers would lower one into the throes of theology, surely not a level any rational human would accept.

But a layer or two would be nice. Back to some practical stratum where I can ignore the nagging Absurdity and focus on caring about the characters I’d like to write about.

 

Point System: keeping score

We all live by and adhere to a bevy of social contracts.

One of those contracts is the equity of gift exchange. If I take you for lunch, you must, eventually, take me for lunch — or breakfast, or drinks or… Whatever it is, it must roughly equal the value offered in the original transaction. If you spring for a fancy dinner, the onus of return has now shifted back to my shoulders. And so we live, social debt flowing to and fro.

Until one side takes, the other side gives and an unbalanced ledger results. I borrowed your lawnmower, your shovel, your chainsaw and never repaid you in kind.

Without effort from my side, this slight will grow and fester. An unspoken feud may molder and spawn, like some fetid mushroom pushed up through rotting soil.

There is however, one system which lives for an unspoken unbalance: The Mormons.

The Mormons have a charity point system; they must do good deeds, in excess of those good deeds done back onto them. When we lived in Utah, we confounded them and their points-for-heaven tally sheet. We would be our neighborly, good-natured and giving selves; going out of our way to help and assist and donate whatever we could — simply because that’s how we were wired. They, in turn, would try and surpass normal social mores and attempt to double up in pious points.

Now, to be fair, I’m sure this equanimity generally stemmed from the aforementioned social contract. But, on occasion, we were well aware that we’d flummoxed a number of our neighbors with excessive kindness, a gift that tipped the scales in a way that no doubt confounded them no end. We were, after all, the infidels of the neighborhood. The score could not be left teetered so.

Eventually, the weight would shift and we would accept that to remain amicable, we must be a smidgen in arrears; they were headed to heaven, we realized, and the score must tip in their favor.