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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Essay:
Guest Post from Christopher Bunn

I have another wonderful guest post for you today on the topic of Christmas from Christopher Bunn, the author of The Tormay Trilogy. I have so far interviewed Christopher Bunn twice about this series. You can read my reviews and interviews here:
The Shadow at the Gate - guest post for Kindle Obsessed

Christopher is visiting today with a guest post and to offer his short story, The Christmas Caper, to three lucky readers.


Be sure to enter the giveaway following Christopher's essay.

Guest post from Christopher Bunn
Christmas occupies a unique place within literature. The tradition begins, of course, in the most quoted, the most maligned, and the most revered book in all the history of the world: the Bible. The story itself is a rather odd and unassuming tale. A baby is born in a manger to poor parents in a tiny, backwater town. But, from that single plot point, ripples start coursing outward, across the ages and surging through time's river, all the way to our own very day and Christmas season.

A vast array of authors have written about Christmas. Some have done it out of respect or even reverence. Others have used the weight of its tradition to lend gravity to their own story. Still others have used it as a vehicle of mockery and shallow comedy.

The most famous work involving Christmas, of course, is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Who can forget the moving story of Ebenezer Scrooge's damnation and redemption? Other authors have employed the holiday in various roles in their books, such as Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas, C. S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles, several stories by O. Henry, Anton Chekhov's At Christmas Time, James Joyce's The Dead, as well as verse by poets such as Stevenson, Longfellow, Coleridge, Milton, and Sir Walter Scott.

For myself, as a writer, Christmas encapsulates the two most powerful and moving motifs of literature. Damnation and redemption. Darkness and light. Ever since Homer, those motifs are practically omnipresent in books, though they have become somewhat blunted in the new school of anti-heroes. Paired, darkness and light are made all the more stark and all the more meaningful. The baby in the manger sleeps quietly in the modest light of a lantern, while outside in the cold Judean night, the darkness waits in all of its awful fury. The star blazes in the blackness of the winter night. Those two motifs are replicated in our own modest and homely celebrations: we gather about the lights of our trees, safe in the warmth of our homes and the warmth of our families, and outside is the darkness, still waiting after all these years.

Those twin motifs, darkness and light, rooted in the first Christmas' stable, are my chief tools when I write. It's a rare story of mine that does not revolve around them. Simplistic? Perhaps. But something simple can still be quite powerful in meaning and how it resonates with what each one of us carries inside.

Christmas will continue to hold its place in literature, in those books already written and, I suspect, in many more to come. Either in hope or in disbelief, for Christmas must be either accepted or spurned. If spurned, the manger is assumed cold and empty. Perhaps, then, it must be filled again in some awful way? Yeats posed the same question, so many years ago.

            And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
            Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I'm afraid that would make for an interesting Christmas story, but I probably won't be the one to write it.

Thanks, Christopher, for visiting Cookie's Book Club. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Learn more about Christopher Bunn here, and visit him at his blog.

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~ GIVEAWAY ~

WIN
A Christmas Caper by Christopher Bunn


There are 7 ways to enter below. Note that none of these are mandatory, so you can pick and choose how you will enter the contest. Enter once, or enter multiple times. There are two Twitter options, each worth one entry, which can be done once per day until the end of the contest. The contest will be open for 3 days. It is possible to earn up to 11 entries! The winners will be selected randomly once the contest has closed. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

8 comments:

Margie Culver said...

Thank you for a most interesting guest post. I really ejoyed your insights. Now I just need to win a copy of your short story. :)

Andre Jute said...

Very thoughtful, Christopher. So often we forget that Christmas isn't about tinsel and bright lights but about the baby in the crib -- and the three wise men. I'm glad to see you haven't forgotten the first principles.

***

I was wondering how far behind me you could be, Margie, only to find you here before me. You have an excellent nose for good writing.

***

Merry Christmas to you, Sue, your family, and all your agreeable readers and clever contributors. This is a super place to come and be surprised by someone saying something necessary but quite unexpected, as Christopher just did.

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

I would love to win this book for my granddaughter.
I follow by google reader as Marjorie/cenya2
I follow by g+.
You have a great diversity on your blog and I like it the way it is.
MERRY CHRISTMAS

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Christopher Bunn said...

Thanks for having me on your site, Sue. I hope I didn't get too pedantic! When you suggested the topic of Christmas, my mind went in about a dozen different directions at once. I almost ended up just writing about that Yeats poem.
Thanks, Andre. I have to claw the tinsel out of my eyes every winter. I hope you and yours are enjoying a peaceful season.

Linda Mc said...

Hi Christopher! I had no idea you had another book, and a Christmas story to boot! I wanted to enter the contest, but then I just couldn’t wait! My instant gratification syndrome kicked in and I had to have it now! So I 1-clicked! My bad, I will now go put my nose in the corner and think about the reason for the season and ponder about patience being a virtue.

In my defense though, I also gifted a copy to a friend. :)

?wazithinkin

Cookie's Mom said...

Margie, thanks for your interest in the contest. I have added entries for you for the items that you have completed. Good luck!

Andre, thank-you kindly, and a Merry Christmas to you as well!

Marjorie, Merry Christmas and good luck in the contest!

Christopher, I am always enlightened by your writings, in whatever form they take. Thank-YOU for that. We are all relaxing well here and enjoying each moment as best we can. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you!

Linda, you are such a strong supporter of the indie author and my blog. Thanks, m'lady, and Merry Christmas!

Cookie's Mom said...

Congratulations to the winners, Margorie and Margie! I hope you enjoy Christopher's writing as much as I do! Merry Christmas!!

Anonymous said...

You have showed great perseverance behind the blog. It's been enriched since the beginning. I love to share to with my friends. Carry on.

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