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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Father Christmas Adventures

Father Christmas Adventures, which carries the sub-title, Unexpected Tales of Christmas Magic, is the second of my Christmas books. Here I want to explain how I came to write it and its relevance to contemporary civilisation.

Father Christmas Adventures is a piece of experimental writing. Consisting of three short tales, all involving Father Christmas, they all have one thing in common: they are unexpected, and for this reason I will not tell you what happens in each story, lest I spoil the surprises!

The first short story is called William’s First Christmas. It is the story of a little boy whose parents do not believe in Christmas and who never engage in celebrating Christmas. The story is based on what Father Christmas does to help this poor child, and, what he does is, unexpected! The story also involves a surprising twist at the end, which is characteristic of the nicely weird things that appear in my writings. Being experimental, my interest here was exploring the unexpected, and what one might expect from such a theme (a poor boy denied Christmas and Father Christmas coming to his aid) is not what happens!

Of the second tale, which is called Father Christmas and the Wolf, I will say that, what I wanted to do was to write a story based on prose only, without resorting to dialogue. And of the content, this addresses how Father Christmas is concerned about environmental matters and sets about rescuing a wolf, which humans want to kill because it is, in their eyes, a pest. Here in this tale you will also discover that Father Christmas has enemies, and the nicely weird part of the story is when one of those enemies tries to rid the world of this jovial character, but of course, fails. Once more these are quite unexpected elements to find in a Father Christmas story.

Finally, about the third tale, which is titled, Encounter with a Wise Man, this tells of a meeting between Father Christmas and Balthazar, one the three wise men who appear in the nativity story. Here I wanted to write mostly in dialogue, and this is story is based on Balthazar recounting to you, the reader, what was said during that encounter. What you will soon realise is that Balthazar is still alive, two thousand years on from the meeting – see, I did say that I write nicely weird and unexpected things! This story also involves something that I call entanglement, by which I mean that I have entangled this tale with my first Christmas book, A Father Christmas Story, which was another aspect of my experimental writing.

So what of the relevance of the book to contemporary society? The first tale is a commentary on the stupidity of a certain attitude that prevails in the modern world, that the only valid way to understand and engage in life is through the rational. One can say this story is a response to stupid statements made by supposedly intelligent people, which go along the lines “there is something insidious about believing in something for which there is no evidence”. This tale explores the possible outcomes of such madness.

The second tale is actually a critique of the damaging attitude that European-oriented cultures display towards the natural world, and the tacit belief that we, as humans, are not part of nature, and somehow (in ways that no-one can rationally explain – see the rational is not the norm!) we can survive without it. Here you will encounter another belief that needs to change: that we as humans have a right to decide which of our fellow inhabitants of plant earth, will live or die. You see, humans not only like to impose their will on other people, but also upon the natural world. But be careful, for one day the natural world will strike back! This tale hints at how we need to change our attitudes and in what way.

And finally of the third tale, which is an observation about the lack of wisdom in the modern world, and the growing tendency for people to become ideological and live their lives within the framework of a dogma. Specifically the tale mentions three such ideologies: science, religion and capitalism, and how the three, acting together are creating a world more like a prison, and one from which there will be no escape. The point of the story is to highlight this matter and the need to stop and to reflect upon how these ideologies are damaging all we hold dear, and to think about how we could begin to create a different future where people believe but without falling into the ideological trap.

So to summarise, I used this particular Christmas book to experiment with my writing and also as a way of further exploring many issues that are of interest to me, including the development of an author centric business model, and also the themes that increasingly find a place in my writing, which are motivated by the madness to be found in the modern world. And, the good news for you, the reader, is that the book is available open access, which means that you can read it for free, online, via my web site – FatherChristmas Adventures: Unexpected Tales of Christmas Magic.

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