Favorite Holiday Reads

Snow has fallen in piles over the last few weeks in southern Michigan. We had an ice storm. Power outages. It was a cold and white Christmas.

As winter comes and snow falls my mind wanders to certain writers, books, and characters.

Michigan Winter
Michigan Winter

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes pacing his study on Baker Street while glancing out the window at the bleak snow covered London streets comes to mind.

I think of curious Lucy Pevensie walking through the columns of fur coats in a wardrobe when she suddenly hears her feet crunch on the powdery snow of wintry Narnia in The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Anything that has to do with Charles Dickens. The Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and of course, A Christmas Carol.

And lastly, and most importantly, chapter 2 (NIV translation) in the Gospel of Luke telling of Christ’s Birth.

It’s not often I get in a reading mood. More often than not I’m in a writing mood. But now I want nothing more than a cup of peppermint tea and a nice steady snowfall coupled with a blanket and my comfortable couch illuminated by the white Christmas tree lights.

So readers, I turn to you. What sort of books, authors, and characters do you think of during this time of year?

Thank you in advance for your comments below.




The Traveling Writer

Routine is the writer’s best friend. It might not sound glamorous, but it’s true. Think about it. What could be better for the artist then set times to flex their writing muscles? Having an hour or two or more per day to write. How fast would you complete your novel, short story, or poem? Days? Weeks? A mere month or two?

It sounds great I know. I am salivating just thinking about it. Anyway, there are times however, where that can be the very worst thing. What is the writer’s second best friend? I submit that it is vacation, travel, a change of pace whichever provides the opportunity for perspective. As long as this change of pace is not something difficult or traumatic, it can be enlightened, invigorating, and best of all, freeing.

Recently, my wife and I took a trip from our hometown of Grand Rapids MI, through Ontario, Canada, to Brockport, New York to visit family. It is a trip we take often. Nine hours on the road Friday night after work. Nine hours on the on the return trip Sunday or Monday. This might seem awfully short and maybe not worth it to the normal individual but that is where you begin to see that I am not normal. I love freedom travel brings. My guess is that I think clearest at 2 or 3am when everyone else is asleep in the car. I love driving at that time. You might think, perhaps, this is because I am a parent of two young children?  But no, I have always loved it.

Traveling gives perspective. It gives opportunities to break the mold, destroy the routine, and perhaps get us out of life and writing’s repetitive doldrums. This perspective is essential and especially effective in small doses.

Are you having trouble getting through a part of your novel? Go for a walk at 2am. Is there something that you are trying to get out that is just not sounding right? Take a drive to a lake or a walk through a nearby park and jump in a river. Whatever you can do to find a “vacation” or a change of pace, do it dear writer. It is spectacularly refreshing.

Keep Writing,