Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Days Until the Day

So, I admit it: I've romantic notions about history. I grew up gazing at pictures of sleigh rides, corseted ladies in foofy finery, reading about Christmases, cozy & convivial, so different from the harried life I knew. The life I know. I love my ideas of the past. Many, many hours I have spent, painting the people and places of the past. Decorated square miles of bleached white cardboard with Victorian scenes of Christmas. [this LINK will take you to my possibly-out-of-print version of C.C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas.] But will I put up a Christmas tree? Will my family gather here in my lovingly decorated house? Gosh, no. I'm a solitary old poop. I'll be alone here, with a furnace instead of a smoking, inadequate fireplace, in my soft old jeans and sweatshirts - no corset, no crinolines -  with my little dog and my dreams of the past. Reality tends to 'harsh my mellow,' an apt & lovely phrase someone used. Seeing all the Halloween dreck removed from the stores to be replaced by truckloads of tacky Christmas dreck harshes my mellow and makes me tired. Makes me think I've got to be sending cards - but once I get down to it, as I write each one, I know my mellow will be restored, thinking of the individuals who'll find handwritten envelopes in their mailboxes amidst the bills and the postal dreck that weighs down weary mailmen.
      But I love knowing that Andrew Carnegie and the fierce 'hatchetator' Carry Amelia Nation came into the world on this day. I love knowing that soon I'll be clicking Publish and getting back to the manuscript I've got in the works: 300 odd historical factoids for a Weird But True book for the Nat'l Geographic. Did you know that 5,000 years ago their lived a Persian priestess who held the gaze of her followers with her artificial golden eyeball? Me neither, but we do now! And would I love to know what she really looked like? What her life was like? Yes indeed, but .... I be thinking it's preferable to live here and now and just imagine her and her fierce, blind golden gaze.

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