Friday, December 11, 2009

Feelin' Christmasy

1) A rather excellent Patricia Highsmith article in the NYT: "To all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace."

2) Ghost stories. I've been into them lately. Today I had a marvelous experience at the Brooklyn Public Library after a wondrous wintry walk: I got The Hours After Midnight (J.S. Le Fanu, who I've been loving recently) and The Lottery (which I've been dying to re-read; I may love Shirley Jackson even more than Highsmith). So this kick I've been on, it started with the ghost stories of Dickens, moved on to M.R. James, and in the past month has expanded to Le Fanu. I am completely entranced by his "Ghost Stores of Chapelizod" and "Dickon the Devil" (which I have the unfortunate habit of referring to -- in my head -- as "Dikon the Radish," which just makes it kind of cute instead of scary). What am I getting at with all this?

The Point.

3) It's Christmastime (almost) and apparently, in England, telling ghost stories is a Yuletide tradition. Now I reckon there's about two weeks to Christmas, and I really want to write some ghost stories, so here's what I'm proposing: a story or two every couple of days until December 31st (I need an extension on my deadline already!) in rough form, right here, the best of which I shall revise and post on my website. Hopefully I'll get a few good tales out of it. Then again, in England they drive on the wrong side of the road, too.... so....

4) ... oh yes, punch. In Le Fanu, his protags are always drinking "punch." By the fire. With booze in it. Warm and wintry, indeed. In an attempt to be more ghosty, I have made a rather tasty punch of my own, currently simmering on my stove. Which means I stop typing.... now....

3 comments:

Levi Stahl said...

Looking forward to reading your ghost stories--I've been feeling somewhat the same way, my usual October enjoyment of ghost stories having bled all the way into December.

When I think of ghost stories and Christmas, it's always Andy Williams who comes to mind: "There'll be scary ghost stories / and tales of the glories / of Christmases long, long ago."

Andrea Janes said...

Ha! I love that song! It makes me think of Will Ferrell's "Mark Jensen's Family Christmas" where he's on that rotating platform and it rotates too fast and he just starts barfing! That is PURE GOLD!

Also: when I think of Andy Williams I think of that episode of The Simpsons where Bart drives to Knoxville and Nelson makes everyone watch Andy Williams when they ride through Branson, Missouri.... "I didn't think he was going to do Moon River but then -- BAM-- second encore!"

Pour of Tor said...

Ooh. I am intrigued to hear you mention Le Fanu. I have been meaning to sink into "Uncle Silas" for some years now....