I like to celebrate Epiphany. One year Alvina and I celebrated it together with a drink together in Bemelman’s which could be the most beautiful bar in the world – all the walls are painted with designs that look like Madeline (Bemelman made the murals in exchange for living rent free at the Carlyle!).
Epiphany is the twelfth night after Christmas, when (in the story: I’m trying to say this without sounding religious, which I'm not!) the wise men recognized the divinity of that baby. I think it’s a great holiday for writers to celebrate,--James Joyce said that every short story should be an epiphany – a sudden recognition of the divine nature or essence of something. I think of it as having something in your writing that suddenly SHOWS readers something, makes them think or notice something they haven't thought of or appreciated in that way before.....maybe something little but still something interesting and even important (universal maybe is a better word). Reading can part the curtain between the everyday and its meaning, and I hope my writing does, even if just for a minute, even if only in a few places within the whole book. Funny and lighthearted stories can do this just as well (if not better, when you're writing for kids especially!) than serious ones,I think - but that's another topic.
Epiphany or Twelfth Night was also the last day of Christmas in England in the Middle Ages – and that’s worth celebrating, too. Someday I’d like to give a big Epiphany party with a yule log and feasting and dancing and everything(maybe even a Lord or Lady of Mirsule!), but for now I’ll settle for a quiet celebration alone or with good friends, something to mark the real end of the holidays and the beginning of a new year of writing.
More on that new year of writing in my next post. For now, may the New Year bring us all many epiphanies – in our reading and in our writing!