Christmas Bonaza

Celebrate Christmas bonanza picChristmas Bonanza article series from www.DrJeffreyLant.com

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gift_On the getting and giving of Christmas presents.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I started and just about finished my Christmas shopping last night, December 14. That is the anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria’s much loved husband Prince Albert… and is the only day of any year when the public can view his mausoleum at Frogmore, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The great queen is also buried there. I went once on a rainy day many years ago to see and found she had gone to the greatest possible lengths to make sure she was ready for him, her comfort through the anticipated blissful ages to come.

Prince Albert is on my mind today because he is most probably the man who launched in England the idea of the Christmas tree. And once he had done so, loyalists in the empire on which the sun never set felt obliged to have Christmas trees, too, even former imperial colonies like our Great Republic.

Prince Albert brought the idea from his picayune principality Saxe Coburg Gotha. If it had been up to them, the idea of Christmas trees would have stayed German, insignificant, and parochial… but Queen Victoria ruled over half the world… and her prince ruled over her. He liked Christmas trees (indeed, he liked all things that were family oriented and allowed him to drop a sentimental tear or two)… thus Victoria liked Christmas trees… it was the royal couple’s gift to the world. I’m glad; I do like the things with all their trimmings and especially their fresh pine scents.

Besides, all the presents do look nice artfully arranged under the tree, don’t they? And since this is a story about Christmas presents, it’s nice to know you have a beautiful tree packed with mementoes and memories of past years, a suitable place for packages wrapped and unwrapped.

Thus, I have selected the seasonal favorite “O Christmas Tree” as the incidental music for this article. The best known version was written in 1824 by Leipzig organist Ernst Anschutz. It may also have been introduced into England by Prince Albert, whose aspects were serious, nervous, severely self critical and often lachrymose. If such a hard-working man (dead at just 42) could take pleasure in an actual tree and a fine tune about that tree, I am glad he found some comfort and joy at Christmas and thank him for introducing these features of the season to his wife… then the world. You can find many renditions of this song in any search engine. It’s very soothing…

Evening December 14

I am a person who has absolutely no Christmas spirit at all until I set about the important business of selecting gifts for my chosen ones. You see, I am one of the decided minority of people who actually like selecting and giving gifts. I do not regard the matter as forced (as so many others, budding Scrooges all), onerous, a ridiculous waste of time and money, over as early and inexpensively as possible. No, indeed.

I grew up in an Illinois home, part of the famous Baby Boom generation which has, since its conception, had such a pronounced effect on manners and mores. Giving apt presents was one of the things my family and friends liked to do, even grampa Walt who could be notoriously crusty about such matters, especially if the spending of money was involved (as, with Christmas, it always was). I have carried this cheerfulness with me even during my earliest days when money was scarce and one was, therefore, often frustrated and impatient. That, at least, is not the problem now.

The real problem I face is two-fold. First, my annual list is dwindling year by year, compliments of the Grim Reaper, who most assuredly is no cheerleader for Christmas. Second, with only two exceptions (niece Chelsea and nephew Kyle) there are only two young people on the list, and they are already young adults, teen-age years already gone. My adult recipients all have comfortable lives, needing nothing but the one thing I cannot give: good health. Each and every one of them has a pressing health need… and we are all at the age when no conversation would be complete without a full and complete health update. Still, needing nothing, they would be most dismayed if nothing came from me… and I should think most poorly of myself. And so, December 14, 2011, after the day’s work is done, I take out the stacks of catalogs I have been hoarding for months… and which are essential to the only kind of shopping I will ever do… shopping which can be done from the ease and comfort of home, never entering a store for any reason whatsoever.

First, as in every year, I draw up my list and, as always, I remember the dead of my family tree and acquaintance, people I knew so well and loved over the course of a lifetime of Christmases. I never forget these sinews of my life, though thinking of them is always bittersweet. I complete my short list in just a minute or two; I know each name so well and wonder who will be the next to go, shortening my list and diminishing my world.

I then make my preliminary pass through the 50 or so catalogs I have retained for just this moment. Some are automatically eliminated; the Sharper Image catalog immediately goes into the trash due to their astonishing ineptitude with an order for a dear friend. I shall never again trust my reputation and seasonable equanimity to those boneheads. Catalogs for children are disregarded; we have no children. Catalogs with soft furnishings are tossed; January sales will bring better offers. As for still others offering t-shirts with the inscription “She who must be obeyed”, these are not my style.

Having discarded the dross, I commence my real labors… this year made immensely easier by the generous gift of a Sacher torte from Vienna, the gift of Dorotheum, Austria’s leading auction house, a place I do regular business. Two slices of this famous confection have put me in a very good mood indeed. And so I begin my perusal and selection…

Unlike most Christmas gift givers, I have no pre-set budget. I buy what I like and which, from constant effort, I know the recipient will like. Cost is never the major variable; appropriateness for the recipient is. And so I ramble through the catalogs knowing I would give no present rather than something hasty or unsuitable for a single person on my short list, all loved and cherished by me.

Yet except for Kyle who is difficult, I find over the course of the next 3-4 hours presents that I like, that I feel sure my recipients will like, too. Then today, most probably in the early evening, I shall call every 800 number indicated and use my credit card to make all the purchases. The most important thing about this way of doing business is that one must be patient, partly because it’s a very busy season and partly because the help is often seasonal, with all the potential problems that entails. Yes, patience is required. And a sunny word to the order taker, if she feels down and bedraggled, conditions immediately apparent.

In a couple of hours on the phone, my shopping is done… gifts now on their way, whilst I take up the next and final part of my shopping; a visit to Trader Joe’s for purchase of the sherry I distribute to all the people who make my life easier, condo maintenance, house cleaners, et al. I have looked for a lifetime for the sherries I give now (for my taste includes both amontillado and cream); Real Tesoro is by far the best, and the least expensive; a miracle often performed at Trader Joe’s.

Now I am done… simultaneously glad and sad by the paucity of my gifts… happy that I shall make these special ones happy at least once more… but missing the dear ones gone before and still so loved. For these, I take out my egg nog, remembering the great silver bowl my grandfather used when he administered the nog with brandy; (who got that anyway?), whilst I need only a glass.

And then I plug in my 13″ tree, the one with the bubblers my grandmother gave me a half century ago. And in its undulating bubbles all I see is the past… Christmases past retaining a magic Christmases future cannot hope to duplicate or reprise. But in my dark, quiet room, punctuated by the brilliant lights on my little tree, “O Christmas Tree” seizes and sooths me… and reminds me how sturdy God has made me… ready for the future to come…

“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree How sturdy God hath made thee! Thou bidds’t us all place faithfully Our trust in God, unchangingly.”

We invite your comments on this article below.

Enjoy a reading of this article by the author Dr. Jeffrey Lant

 

Christmas Bonanza series from www.WritersSecrets.com

Paris_at_xmasFirst Christmas away from home. Paris. 1967.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. Today is the day I sign up to receive Social Security. It will be a day when low level bureaucrats will prod me, asking questions they already know the answers to, all designed to prove (or not) that I am the Jeffrey Ladd Lant born 66 years ago in Illinois, into a time and situation which now only exist in my imagination.

I wonder whether the clerk will smile or even look at me when the inevitable queries are asked? I’m not counting on it, for they see a generation advancing to old age, while I consider only myself. I want human contact but will have to do with “sign here” and get the money.

And so, under the circumstances you will understand that I need something quite different; a kind of cosmic pick-me-up composed of equal portions of youth, energy, hope and optimism, all things in shorter supply today, here and now, than then. I need Paris. Since you probably do, too, let me share some with you…. the better to remember and pass a kindred moment when not a single word is required or expected.

Read more http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/first-christmas-away-from-home-paris-1967/

 

 

Enjoy a reading of this article by the author Dr. Jeffrey Lant

 

BethlehemO Little Town… Christmas comes to Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 25, 2011. 12:54 a.m. 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Winds W-NW 8 miles per hour.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Before I left on my Christmas walk-about at not quite 1 a.m. Eastern today, I turned on every light in my brilliantly lit house. On the lights in the hallway thereby exposing in radiance the wistful picture of a young 18th century prince of the House of Brunswick-Luneberg. Dead too soon, not even 20, he craves all the light I can give him, and that is much.

On the lights, all the lights in the Red Drawing Room, on the lights, all the lights in the Green Room, on the lights, all the lights in the Blue Room from where I am writing you now, where the chandelier throws out over 10,000 facets of light. So the seller told me; I have long since given up counting them… but their colors entrance while its welcome heat warms me…

What kind of mania is this that demands every light lit, every treasure burnished, everything bold, audacious, polished, warm and, to my uttermost ability, welcome?

Just this: It is Christmas Day, this very day, this day of days, to come but once and go… and I am alive, ready, eager to take myself from here and see how this 2,011th Christmas is evolving from my vantage point in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I command all this light, first, to celebrate the advent of this day and its great meaning, that on this very day, over two thousand years ago the Prince of Heaven was born, a boon to mankind, our sustaining hope unto the ages. And I want Him to know that He is welcome here… and always has been, though often I did not know or show it…

And, too, there must be light, an explosion of light, to welcome me home, for I mean to go out and see for myself how this Holy Night is faring and what my neighbors may be doing.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/o-little-town-christmas-comes-to-cambridge-massachusetts-december-25-2011-1254-a-m-20-degrees-fahrenheit-winds-w-nw-8-miles-per-hour/

 

Enjoy a reading of this article by the author Dr. Jeffrey Lant

 

Cookies_for_Xmas‘I sure do like those Christmas cookies, sugar. I sure do like those Christmas cookies, babe.’

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I’ve got this day all planned. First, I’ll finish this article and get it out to the awaiting world; then I’ll finish my Christmas shopping. I’ve been well organized about it. So far, so good; even the help at the other end of the telephone line, the people who take the orders, seem better and friendlier this year. Maybe they’re glad to have a job, even a seasonal one, with so many unemployed and likely to remain so.

I’ve got an objective that keeps me focused today… and that objective is to help myself to some good old, home-baked Christmas cookies… and not just one or two either. Diabetes be damned; Christmas and its cookies come but once a year…. and tonight I’ll translate that into some serious munching.

One guy you may know who’ll be helping me get in the mood is George Strait. He’s called the “King of Country,” his brand of music a toe-tapping mixture of western swing, bar-room ballads, honky-tonk style and fresh yet traditional Country. He seems a genuinely nice fellow, the kind of man who in real life would give you a big smile, a strong hand shake, and a tip of his over sized cowboy hat. Under the right circumstances, I could be persuaded to give him one of my Christmas cookies… but not more, no matter how nice he is.

In 1999 Strait recorded a peppy little number by Aaron Barker called “Christmas Cookies.” It’s got the necessary “gosh, ma’am” twang factor and an infectious beat that’ll follow you around the house like your favorite dawg, “I sure do like those Christmas cookies, sugar.” The tune is about how he wolfs them down before his sugar babe even finishes the sprinkles and the icing…. his good woman outwardly chiding, but inwardly glad she has this big overgrown boy around the house; women like a little boy in their man… at Christmas and watching them down those cookies at record speed constitutes proof positive that she’s got one. “Ah, shucks, babe, I didn’t mean to eat them all…. but they were so good I couldn’t help myself”. What woman, and especially at Christmas, could take offense at that?”

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/i-sure-do-like-those-christmas-cookies-sugar-i-sure-do-like-those-christmas-cookies-babe/

 

Enjoy a reading of this article by the author Dr. Jeffrey Lant

 

 

 

 

Mame‘We need a little Christmas.’ Why I’m working hard right this minute to make Christmas 2015 the best ever.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I was young then, blessed with that overflowing feeling of high animal spirits and joy to the world. It was 1967, I was in New York City for the first time, about to sail to Europe on the SS Aurelia … The future seemed boundless, was boundless, and I had only good wishes and to spare for everyone, everywhere.

The only snare was that I couldn’t get tickets for “Mame” (music and lyrics by Jerry Herman); the hit musical based on one of my mother’s favorite books, “Auntie Mame” by Patrick Dennis (1955). Bummer. But not down hearted I somehow managed to get a program and discovered when Angela Lansbury, the star, the toast of Broadway, was likely to leave the Winter Garden Theatre. .. and just where I could stand for the best chance of getting her autograph.

I well recall the moment she came out the stage door, she was smaller than she appeared on stage… and I remember how the collar of her coat brushed against my cheek… and her scent as she bent down to autograph the program, a little crushed in my hand. It was lush, seductive, delicious… And I was happy…

I have that program still, in good condition, too, a reminder when the song I’ve chosen for today’s theme music — “We need a little Christmas” — was just a peppy, high-stepping, belt-it-out number, not an absolute need for all of us. Start, however, by going to any search engine… get the tune… then let ‘er rip… it’s going to get your blood going, your feet tapping, and maybe even bring a tear to your eye, you sentimental softie you…

“For I’ve grown a little leaner, Grown a little colder, Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older!”

These words pretty much sum up events since that magic moment at the door of the Winter Garden Theatre — and I don’t merely mean for you and me, either. I mean for America and for our deeply troubled world. And that is why I am already at work to ensure this Christmas in this year of general dismay and gloom is the best ever. We need it — for the good of home, hearth, soul, and, yes, the economy.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/we-need-a-little-christmas-why-im-working-hard-right-this-minute-to-make-christmas-2015-the-best-ever/

 

 

Listen in to Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s reading of this article:

 

 

Sun's_response_writer_to_Virginia

‘Yes, Virginia there still is a Santa Claus’, and he needs you more than ever before.

Author’s program note: September 21, 1897, the editor of the New York Sun ran an unsigned editorial in the form of a letter to the editor and that editor’s response. The title of this article was “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, and it long ago became the world’s most reprinted article, particularly at the Christmas season.

The 8-year girl who wrote the letter (and, yes, she was a real person) achieved by a simple question an ineradicable place in history, a place any number of kings and queens, politicians and generals might have envied. For the question was not glib… and neither was its response.

This response was written by veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church, and you can find the complete text in any search engine; the message can be read profitably by all good people though well over a century has passed since it was penned.

Its essential message is found in these lines: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exits as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/yes-virginia-there-still-is-a-santa-claus-and-he-needs-you-more-than-ever-before/

 

Scrooge_cartoonHow to keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the year.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

“and it was always said of Ebenezer Scrooge, that he knew
how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the
knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so,
as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

The words, of course, are from Charles Dickens’
masterful “A Christmas Carol” published in 1843,
a present the world gratefully rediscovers each and
every year. They remind us that Christmas, to be
Christmas, must be about magic and memories,
remembering both those who are with us and (especially)
those who are not..

Christmas this year, as every year, began for me
by unpacking my little electrified tree. It is battered
now and bears its many bruises proudly if carefully.

All at once, I give way to memories insistent,
vivid, one tumbling over another. The box opens
and recollections of one year of my life after another
pour out. First, I remember the day my grandmother gave
me this marvelous present and how she solemnly
told me to take good care of it, as she had done.

I agreed to do so, little knowing the significance or the
power of what I promised. Now I know, for this year I am older
than she was when she gave it to me… and I now ponder
who, in due course, I must present this tree to and who will
keep the faith of generations with me. You see, I have
arrived at the stage of life when Christmas is far more
about who I shall give to… rather than who will give to me.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/how-to-keep-christmas-well-in-your-heart-throughout-the-year/

 

Dr._Lants_benefactorMy most memorable Christmas, delivered by hand, changing my life. Now my time

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. One of the most marvelous things about the Internet is that wherever you are the riches of the world are just a few keystrokes away, and this is never more true than at Christmas, when you can, wherever you are, remember, access what the most fertile, inventive, and creative minds crafted to celebrate the birth of our Messiah. It is a feast, a banquet, an embarras de choix that never palls, even if you do have distinct touches of Scrooge about you.

One of my favorite Christmas carols never fails to exult, thrill, and cleanse. I always feel better hearing it… and if you know it, I suspect you feel the same. It’s called “Carol of the Bells,” and if you don’t know it, it’s my pleasure to introduce it to you. You’ll be glad to have it. Either way, go to any search engine to find it. There are many fine versions.

Play it now… turn it up and up again. This is no pallid anthem but a stirring declaration that something of transcendent importance is about to occur… and the bells are ringing out to ensure you don’t miss it and are not late.

It is of Ukrainian origin; a 1904 choral miniature work by Mykola Leontovych, set to the words of an ancient Ukrainian pagan chant. It tells the tale of a swallow flying into a household to proclaim the plentiful and bountiful year that that fortunate family will have. Given the rocky road we’ve all traveled this year, I am sure you hope that swallow visits you… as I do.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/my-most-memorable-christmas-delivered-by-hand-changing-my-life-now-my-time/

 

 

HerodCambridge senior citizen releases stunning manuscript of Herod, King of the Jews. Astonishing revelations from the man accused of ‘The Slaughter of the Innocents’ and intended murder of Jesus The Christ.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s note: I have held this story privily unto myself for over four decades now. Not a day goes by, not an hour, that I have failed to examine this manuscript, touch it, venerate it, until I have come to know each sentence, every word, indeed every smudge and discoloration.

Since the very day this story begins, so many years ago, this document has determined the course of my life. Instead of merely discovering perhaps the most important of historical documents — the apologia pro vita sua of Herod, King of the Jews, archetype of majesty, I have found a master… for whatever role I have played in this matter, it has always been Herod who has called all the shots, just as he called them every day of his life, as much a King in death as he was most assuredly King in life.

This papyrus clearly marked with the royal seal of Herod, King has held me in thrall. I have wondered, indeed dwelt on the matter with near manic intensity, whether I was right to withhold notifying my dissertation advisor of a find I knew almost instantly was a matter of the first importance, a certain wonder to the world, significant to people everywhere.

I was, however, just a second-year graduate student at the time and was as such unsure of my way; of no consequence or standing whatsoever. I decided then, and have lived with the consequences of this decision ever since, that when I was “ready” I would release the fateful document I have always known would make my career, guarantee a plum academic appointment, respect and admiration my certain portion…

… along, of course, with the jealous denunciations, painful abuses, and hurtful execrations of those who were determined to bring low anyone who threatens, as I and this seminal document would most certainly threaten, the version of events they had propounded and rested their careers, well being and reputations upon.

I was convinced then that I was not ready to withstand such abuse, which I knew was certain and so made the far-reaching decision to be silent and maintain this silence. Each time thereafter I determined I was at last “ready” for the world to know and take my rightful place amongst today’s Sadducees, I paused knowing the first query I would be universally subjected to was “why?”…. why had I waited even a single minute for revelation, the fateful query which even I recognized would undercut my case and make its acceptance even more difficult than I knew it would be.

Thus from the moment I determined I would not inform my advisor, would not inform anyone, my fate was sealed. Herod gained a loyal servant… I gained a boot on my neck, for I lived no longer my life; I lived only the life Herod, King permitted me. Here’s how it all began…

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/cambridge-senior-citizen-releases-stunning-manuscript-of-herod-king-of-the-jews-astonishing-revelations-from-the-man-accused-of-the-slaughter-of-the-innocents-and-intended-murder-o/

 

 

 

man_in_Santa_hatFor the lonely at the holidays.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. There are about forty days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, depending on just when the first holiday falls… and for millions these can be the most painful days of the year, a time of acute loneliness, isolation, and despair. All you want to do is put on a brave face… and get through them as quickly as possible, wounded and sore just as little as possible.

But this year I want you to have the best holidays you’ve had in years, maybe decades… I want you to get more, far more, from them, enjoy yourself and spread the maximum joy to the maximum number. In other words, I want you to be the impresario of happiness, expecting nothing in return, just the real point of the season: giving joy to the world.

Let’s start with music… One of the things that depresses folks at the holidays is the endless renditions of unbearably chipper, even nauseating holiday ditties, you know, of the “Frosty the Snowman” variety. So much sugar and fructose is sure to set your teeth on edge. Luckily you can fight back, at least at home by identifying some non-holiday songs you like and filling your abode with loveliness, just the things to please you.

In this connection, I selected “The Shadow Waltz” from “Gold Diggers of 1933.” It’s a pre-code Warner Bros. musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy with songs by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics), staged and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. It’s the perfect film, with the perfect music to take you out of your sad state and self-pitying condition and set you… dancing. In an instant your feet will start an insistent tapping that means you must get up and whirl a pillow around the room.

“In the Winter let me bring the Spring to you/Let me feel that I mean everything to you/ Love’s old song will be new/ In the shadows when I come and sing to you.”

One after another, Hollywood’s most popular male vocalists (Dick Powell, Bing Crosby, Rudy Vallee) had a go at this haunting tune and its lilting message,

“Let me linger long/Let me live my song.”

Go now to any search engine and see which version you prefer… they’re all wonderful.

Now let’s get started crafting the holidays you want and which will make you as happy as possible.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/for-the-lonely-at-the-holidays/

 

 

gift_‘Hush, little baby, don’t say a word, Papa’s gonna buy you…’ The minefield that is the ‘perfect’ gift and why the person getting it will never forgive you.

Author’s program note. Over the course of your life, you’ll give a cart load of gifts. Gifts for people getting engaged, gifts for getting married, even gifts for getting divorced. There are gifts for going away and gifts for coming back. There are gifts for job promotion and gifts upon retirement. There are gifts for Christmas… and gifts for birthdays…. gifts for lovers… and, of course, the gifts you give yourself for coping with the utterly thankless responsibility of ensuring that this mountain of gifts arrives on time and always with the thoughtful consideration expected, required… and no doubt given!

Yikes!

Just reading this (very) partial list of gift giving occasions and events makes me fatigued and anxious. So many to give to… so little time… and as for the bucks required… Daunting! Exhausting! Downright intimidating! It seems like an awful lot of work for the fleeting “pleasure” of seeing the recipient’s beady eyes bore into your hapless offering, the entire future of your relationship hinging on what you’re giving and the terrible scrutiny it’s certain to receive by not only the closely inspecting and ultra finicky recipient… but also by every single person who will receive (whether they like it or not) the recipient’s staggeringly detailed report (in triplicate) on every aspect of what you gave.

It’s enough to drive a body to drink. I wonder whether there’s anything left in that bottle of cheap schnapps Uncle Ernie palmed off on me last Christmas.

Basta!

Well, I want you to know that I’m not going to take it anymore. I mean, I’ve been bled enough, raked over the coals enough, embarrassed enough, chagrined, attacked, insulted, berated, demeaned, degraded, excoriated and humiliated enough by the whole stinking business which you and I both know is a conspiracy cooked up by a posse of shameless, rapacious robbers, like the owners of catalogs selling overpriced and completely useless bibelots along with licensed marauders who sell wilted flowers and low grade chocolates with high fallutin names sporting princely prices.

Everyone knows these criminals are mostly aging gay men, precious hair strands (fewer by the minute) arrayed in flagrant pompadour, wearing too much bling and an ocean of cheap scent with names like “Passionate Embrace” and “Te quiero”, not merely perfume but an eternal wish.

They have to sell tons of this egregious bric-a-brac to get the bucks required to give endless presents to their much younger boyfriends who demand gifts, then turn up their perfect aquiline noses at what they get, while demanding still more. Oh, my, what a muddle!

That’s why I am setting up something you and I both need. I call it Gift Givers Anonymous, and it’s a place we can hie to whenever a gift is given or received and we need to sound off. The first meeting is hereby called to order. Since I invented this baby, I get to go first.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/hush-little-baby-dont-say-a-word-papas-gonna-buy-you-the-minefield-that-is-the-perfect-gift-and-why-the-person-getting-it-will-never-f/

 

Another in the www.writerssecrets.com Christmas Bonanza Series

Xmas_stamp‘God rest you merry, gentlemen’. At my home that means preparing everything for the visit of the Prince of Peace. It’s a true labor of love.

Author’s program note. Please note the date: Saturday October 13 for this is the opening of the Christmas preparation season for 2012. Archeologists and cultural historians will be grateful to me in years hence when they get their government grants and write their learned tomes about the whys and wherefores of Christmas in this our particular era. Yes, I say they will be glad to have each salient fact, observation and deduction gathered by yours truly and herewith shared with the world.

For we are talking about the most joyous event of the Christian year, Christmas, and its preparations, staggering for some, meagre and tardy for others, but all acknowledging that this is and continues to be an event of significance to each of us.

How was October 13 selected as the commencement date for this event? Easy! It was the first day when your observant author was assailed by not one but a series of “the Christmas season has commenced” portents, signs which might easily be dismissed were there but one or even two, but which in their concerted numbers make it clear that the great count-down to Christmas, with its traditions, meanings, songs, poems, foods, displays, sentiments, travels, resolutions, friends, observances has now commenced in earnest and for the next 71days until the day itself your life will be affected, influenced, shaped and to a greater or lesser extent determined by what our fellow travelers do or don’t do, buy or don’t buy, wear, stand in line, decorate… or don’t wear, stand in line, or decorate.

In other words, because of the birth of a child you may or may not believe was the Son of God your life and all its prosaic concerns and tasks will be hi-jacked; weeks of your life will be less yours, significantly influenced and directed by others you don’t know, will never meet, but who are nonetheless powers over you, determined you should listen to them… or else.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/god-rest-you-merry-gentlemen-at-my-home-that-means-preparing-everything-for-the-visit-of-the-prince-of-peace-its-a-true-labor-of-love/

 

Another in the www.writerssecrets.com Christmas Bonanza Series

GrinchChristmas from another point of view. The Grinch has his day… astonishing revelations from his first-ever interview exclusive to me exclusively here.

Author’s program note. You just never know what impact the printed word is going to have, and this tale of The Grinch proves the point. Thanksgiving Day, The Grinch (he insists upon the use of the capital “T” ) was sitting at home having polished off last year’s holiday left-overs as his wont, when his eye happened to see a corner of an article used to wrap the garbage. It was my report on “Squawk”, the valiant leader of the “Young Turks” fighting for the freedom of turkeys everywhere.

The paper was greasy, ripped, noisome from the remainder of The Grinch’s favorite morsels which stank to high heaven…. in fact, he could only finish the article by searching online for it at www.writerssecrets.com. He liked what he read… and at that moment (as he later told me) he determined to break his lifetime of media silence. He wanted his story to be told, and he wanted me to tell it.

Within the hour, his invitation was en route to me, never mind that it was the middle of the night, 3:22 a.m. Eastern. The Grinch knew his man. You can sleep anytime; but such an interview comes but once in a lifetime.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/christmas-from-another-point-of-view-the-grinch-has-his-day-astonishing-revelations-from-his-first-ever-interview-exclusive-to-me-exclusively-here-2/

 

 

 

Vera_Lynn‘ … in all the old familiar places.’ The insistence of memory… any time, any place, in an instant, there, never alone or unaffecting.

Author’s program note. I was ruminating about my next article this morning when it happened. I was thinking of doing a piece on the bookstores we all grew up with… inviting places you could go to get out of the storm, and sit and read for a bit, even if you had no money that day to purchase. That was my intention but things got away from me, as they often do these days… and I was remembering. No, not merely remembering… but being there… on Clark Street, Chicago, where special stores for second-hand books catered to the bibliophiles of the Windy City… folks who discovered these stores like an archeologist the layers of ancient Troy or Babylon, eureka!

But then, fleet-footed memory ran fast ahead… and it was not just the place I was recalling but why I was there and who I was with. Then, there she was. It was my mother; I was 13 or 14 or so and she was young and beautiful. She was telling me, and I did not just remember the words; I heard them, just as she said them…

… an admonition she had told me every time we visited such a place of leather bound and folio’ed addiction that I could have as many books as I could carry, but not one more. I would nod sagely, signifying agreement… then run rampant through the shelves, brainstorming strategies to break the treaty and emerge into the late afternoon light with more than I had agreed to. Sometimes, if a title moved her, she’d even concur… while making it clear this was no precedent.

And then there were tears in my eyes… and I missed her and that smile which was as vibrant this early morning as it was those long years ago… Songstress Vera Lynn knew this feeling and made it the signature of an entire generation, the World War II generation. The minute “I’ll be seeing you” (music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Irving Kahal) was released (1938), it was clear this was not just or even mostly a song about the people you would indeed see again… but, as war engulfed Europe, far more poignantly about the people, literally here today, gone tomorrow — that you would only see again in your mind’s eye… with fond recollections, love, tears, all ingredients of memory which works its potent alchemy so sharply in “all the old familiar places.”

Thus, go now to any search engine to find this well-loved number; there are many fine renditions, but Vera Lynn’s is my own constant selection.

Read more at: http://writerssecrets.com/2016/01/17/in-all-the-old-familiar-places-the-insistence-of-memory-any-time-any-place-in-an-instant-there-never-alone-or-unaffecting-2/

 

From the scribblers at www.writerssecrets.com

Longfellow“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day…” Christmas Eve 2015. God is not dead,
nor doth He sleep. Cambridge, 1:17 a.m. 69 degrees Fahrenheit, 9 mph,
humidity 94%.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s Program Note.

I am sitting at my desk in one of the most beautiful rooms on Earth, the Blue
Room. Here on my well laden shelves reside the thoughts of generations of
my peers and colleagues through all the lands and ages, each one necessary
for the value and impact of the whole. We gather here, all of us, to refresh
ourselves in the peace and serenity of this place, for I insist that here peace
and serenity, diversity and tolerance shall reign supreme.

On this day, Christmas Eve in the morning, we are thinking of our dear friend
and Cambridge neighbor, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882). I can tell you a
great deal about this great lyric poet of the Great Republic. A thousand miles from
where his swiftly moving pen enlivened each page, in prairie Illinois, he brought me,
through the magic in my young mother’s voice to “the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the
shining Big-Sea-Water,” thence to “the wigwam of Nokomis, daughter of the Moon,
Nokomis”.

She and Longfellow, reader and author, are so intertwined in my mind, that
remembering the one necessarily reminds me of the other. They are irresistible together.

See the complete article at: http://writerssecrets.com/2015/12/29/i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day-christmas-eve-2015-god-is-not-dead-nor-doth-he-sleep-cambridge-117-a-m-69-degrees-fahrenheit-9-mph-humidity-94/

A most beautiful article I hope you will listen in to Dr. Lant’s beautiful reading and be moved!

 

 

About the Author of these articles, Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Now with near seven decades of a successful writing career, Dr. Lant is, he likes to say, in the prime of his prime. Thus does the “scribbling” life he commenced at age
5 continue. Twenty books. Thousands of articles. Untold radio and television programs;
worldwide recognition and enthusiasm, all of which culminated in the publication of
his autobiography, “A Connoisseur’s Journey, being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck and joy”. It was a book that screamed “classic!”, and he has
delighted in the several awards that followed.

To get your copy go to www.writerssecrets.co. You will also want to join his writing
course and learn from this master communicator just how you can improve everything
you ever write. www.writerssecrets.com

Get a year of insights and tips like these in Dr. Lant’s extraordinary online course where critiquing of your work is done LIVE with your reading and working on your rewrite!

Come visit Dr. Lant and the Writers Secrets team in the Live Meeting Center – a place to gather and be listened to!
For fellow scribblers, writing peers, appreciators of literature and those who like good conversation!

Go to: http://www.TheLiveBusinessCenter.com/?id=27538

 

 

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