I was thinking recently about writing a Christmas story…there are so many out there at this time of the year. I thought we might need another one…maybe something about a terribly sad woman, down on her luck, whose guardian angel rescues her by showing her how much her life has mattered to so many people…wow, how depressing is that? What’s that, you say? It’s already been done? And made into a classic movie? With several updates and versions? Oh well. Back to the drawing board.
The road not taken, now there’s an intriguing plotline. Have you ever wondered how your life would have turned out if you’d made different choices at 16, or 21, or 25? Haven’t you wished you could go back and do it right this time? After all, you know better now. You’d choose wisely this time. Still, the question begs, how did you acquire this present wisdom? Answer: because you had to deal with the consequences of your youthful indiscretions. This is where I always get dizzy. And that plotline had been done to death, too. Moving on…
Someone once said, “there are no new stories, just new angles”. I think it was Clark Kent, but I could be wrong. Anyhow, the words are true. There is nothing new under the sun. What we bring to a story is our own spin. We use our unique history, individual experiences, and hard-won wisdom, and distribute it amongst characters that are compilations of all the people we’ve ever met, seen, run into, or heard of. Let’s face it, if everything in life ran tickety-boo, what grist for the mill would we have?
Takes Dickens, for example. I bet he was inspired to write A Christmas Carol when he trudged through the winter streets of London, seeing its ills right in front of him. Instead of writing a dry article about urban renewal, he wrote a story about people, creating some of the most recognizable characters in history, Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, and the Christmas goose. That story did more to hammer home the plight of poverty, encourage generosity, and demonstrate the rewards of virtue than twenty letters to the Editor, no doubt.
And how about a Christmas story that takes place around the turn of the century when a young woman, pregnant, is forced to take a long journey to her family’s birthplace. There she must deliver her child in the carriage house because her family refuses to acknowledge her. They actually tell her there’s no room in their colossal mansion. Ummm, that sounds familiar, too. Oh, right, Because it’s inspired by the first, the real Christmas story! The reason for the whole season. The birth of Christ in a stable because there was no room at the inn. Yes, that one will never be overdone.
Have a blessed Christmas, one and all.