The Gift of Story

The Gift of Story

by Natalie Bright

Conversations from the Past

“I can’t believe she bought everyone a present,” my mother said, as Dad eased our car out of my grandparent’s driveway.

My father shook his head in agreement. “She’ll be paying for gifts through next summer.”

So began the conversation my parents had every year following our family’s Christmas. My grandmother bought presents for everybody. The gift list included her four kids and their spouses, plus nine grandchildren. She bought and baked goodies for her mail carrier, her beautician, the pastor and his family, and most of the neighbors on her rural country road.

Giving to Others

My parents never understood why my grandmother worked so hard and spent so much money at Christmas. I think she wanted to make special holiday memories for all of us, and more importantly, I think it made her  happy.

How Do You Give?

A lighted tree, decorations hung everywhere, and seeing my children’s faces when they open their gifts makes me happy. It is indeed a thankful time of joy and giving, which got me to thinking how people give in so many different ways.

You might cook a fantastic meal for loved ones, knit or sew, or donate money to a worthy cause. If you don’t have  extra funds, you probably donate your time. Most of you simply show up: at work and at home again, because someone is depending on you to be there. It’s all giving in one way or another and hopefully, you’re happy in doing it.

As for Writers, We Write.

Writers give by writing. It may sound trite compared to some of the things I’ve mentioned above, but it’s not insignificant to us. In reality, as words fill the blank page, we don’t expect anything in return, although with fingers-crossed we sincerely hope that you’ll buy the book, love the story, post a great review and become a devoted fan. That would make us very happy.

With words we bestow our innermost sadness, hurts, happiness, and fears to you, our dear readers, throughout the year. It’s hard work and we rip our guts out for you. The written word is a powerful gift. Words can change your world view, touch your heart in ways you never imagined, make you laugh out loud, or make you cry.

Sometimes, the gift of a story will remain with you your whole life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody!

Experience the Season


Experience the Season

By Nandy Ekle

Bright sparkly lights. Cold wind. The taste of peppermint. Festive music. The smell of burning wax from candles. The silvery icicles hung from the tree in our living room window. And magic in the air. These are my memories of Christmas as a child. My mother made new ornaments every year from Styrofoam balls and sequins. My dad wrapped presents and made his own bows. We three kids tried a little harder to get along so Santa wouldn’t bring us coal.

A very strong memory I have is of my parents collecting toys and fun things for a family we knew who were having a hard time. Mom and Dad took us shopping to help find little trinkets for the children of the family since we played together. Our job was to pick out dolls and hair brushes and pony tail holders, wrap them in the colorful paper, then be quiet and pretend we didn’t know anything about it. When my friend, the oldest daughter of the family, called to tell me about the sack of presents left on their porch Christmas Eve night, I had to act amazed to hear that such a thing happened, all the while giggling inside myself.

As an adult, wife, mother, grandmother, we have tried to make our own traditions. The endless baking. Sitting on the floor with gifts, paper, tape and ink pens spread out while I wrap presents. Gathering the same addresses every year for the Christmas cards.

I think in the past couple of years a new tradition has started. This one has nothing to do with the rest of the family, but has everything to do with feelings. The last few years I have woken up on a cold morning humming a song that inspires a new story. I sit at the computer as the sun slowly rises over the horizon and the magic of the season makes a new story appear on the “paper.” The best thing to do when that happens is to go with it. Let the memories, feelings and emotions of the holiday flow and you’ll probably find your best story.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.