Blog Journal #7 December

A Christmas unlike any other

Dickens and festive reading

Blog Journal: #7 December

24th December 2020

For me Christmas eve is the best day over the festive period. I have always loved this day over Christmas day itself.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’

This year though, Christmas will be unlike any other we have known. Like the year that is coming to an end it has been difficult and worrying and hard on all of us. But saying that we will make the most of the festive period and contact friends and loved ones over Zoom on Christmas day just like we have during the lockdowns. We will all be missing friends and loved ones who should be with us over Christmas.

Many of us will be curled up over the days over Christmas watching Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol in one of its many forms of adaptation. Will it be the old black and white film or the Muppets? Charles Dickens first published A Christmas Carol in 1843 but it was not without its problems. Just how close it was to never being published is a discussion point as Dickens had a few failures before this and was struggling to get the story together and the characters. It was finally published on 19th December with changes to end papers and completed just two days before publication. Dickens paid for the publishing costs himself and even a year after publication the profits were not as good as Dickens had hoped for.

But still imagine a world without A Christmas Carol? He is after all the man that made Christmas. It has never been out of publication since release. A story I have loved since my childhood days and it always makes my Christmas complete.

A Poem for December.

Ring Out, Wild Bells

By Alfred Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

We will all take memories of this year away with us and many of you like me will quite frankly be glad to see the back of this year, on a personal level it has been one of the worst. Good riddance to 2020 I say!

There is a Robin that sings from the garden during the early hours of the morning and is a joy to wake to. I have always thought of a Robin singing during Christmas is a sign of hope. Something we have all been clinging to.

Christmas is always a time to finally switch off and relax, for me I will be busy as I have a few articles to write and amazing books to read. But it is my favourite reading period of the year.

As this is my final blog journal for this year I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for your kind words and encouragement. Books have never been so important to readers they have allowed us to escape these worrying times and so to all the authors who have been writing incredible books and the publishers who have worked so hard this year. Thank you for writing and publishing incredible books through this difficult year.

Have a Happy, peaceful and safe Christmas.

John Fish

The Last Word Book Review