In the fog of Christmas, my writing chum David Hartley kindly posted a story of mine called And This Is My Mother on his advent bog Merry Gentlemen.
It was a rather harsh story where I was cruel to the characters and there wasn’t much redemption. Which is what I feel about Christmas. It astonishes me how a season filled with lights and glitter can feel so dark. Anyhoo, you can read the story by clicking on the big 22 here.
I wanted to convey the theme of disappointment in as surreal a way as possible, yet using a recognisable festive occurrence: visiting a partner’s parents at Christmas.
Sometimes there are things that come easily in a story. They tend to be images. (I should warn you of spoilers at this point so read the story first.) In this case:
someone scrunching their face into screwed-up paper;
his intensely annoying childishness;
the subversion of Christmas things (crushing a bauble, punching carol singers);
his “making it snow” moment happening ‘off-camera’;
her feeling of existential angst while driving;
and finally, the reveal in the hut, which was the first thing I came up with when writing the story.My next story? Something about a hangover, I think. That sense of losing who you are and everything being terrible. A bit like Christmas.