Christmas, Writing and Community

Nativity by Gari Melchser

Julius Garibaldi Melchers (August 11, 1860 – November 30, 1932)… commonly known as Gari Melchers. One artist who managed to capture the Humanity and the Spirituality of the Nativity in one amazing work of art. I will leave you to study the details here and take your own journey through the picture.

So not everyone will be celebrating Christmas. Maybe because they do not believe in the event either the religious or secular versions. Maybe they are going through one of the hard episodes we will all encounter. Maybe they just have not been given the opportunity to take part in any sort of celebration. Maybe in their part of the world it’s a struggle for survival and they don’t see things that way anymore.

Maybe even through one or all of the above, they will still find some space to make some sort of celebration.

It’s not for me to comment and try and bring words of cheer, that would not work. ‘Words of Cheer’ can irritate (Ask anyone with leaky shoes and wondering how they can get just one little gift for their child, while Paul McCartney’s ‘Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time’ blares out from somewhere)

What shall we The Writers do then?

Maybe not today or tomorrow. Maybe we are currently weary and have run out of words? Maybe we’ve just received a rejection for our latest project? Maybe our blog likes and followers are in single or low double figures? Maybe we are wondering (yet again) what is the point of it all?

In the days and nights ahead though.

We will return. For we are writers and we never truly rest or give up and we will take up the challenge to play our own part in keeping the light in the world.

We will weave tales for perhaps only one person to enjoy; it is will be sufficient

We will bring accounts and pictures of places we have been to share with those who cannot make those journeys.

We will reach out to share our experiences with others and they will feel a measure better by thinking ‘Oh. Not just me then. I am not alone,’

We will not give up on our causes even when all seems hopeless, because no Human empire ever lasts.

We will shed light upon those places where injustice and violence looms over the people.

We will bring our humour and our lyricism for folk to enjoy.

We will talk of the natural wonders of the world and beyond that others may be in awe and realise these bombasts who would be rulers are small transitory beings.

Some writers will meld a few or all of the above.

We, the writers have been given this gift, sometimes an onerous one which will not let us rest and gives us scant material reward. We should not care, for it is a Gift and we must fulfil its blessings upon us.

And as I write it occurs to me

In the Christian pantheon….The Nativity commenced with one young woman accepting a joy, a burden and a fate to bring a Light into The World.

Lest I offend anyone by any clumsy words I will leave the reader to ponder.

And Writer never give up on their writing.

My best wishes to all of you.

Candle lights



Artistic Licence. All You Need Is Confidence (or Determination)

Any subject, any genre, any style, no matter how assiduous your research and effort, you run the risk of annoying a pedant (put that mirror away lad and concentrate on the post!) or someone who has delusions on the breadth of their knowledge on a subject, genre, style etc, etc, etc. As these folk will be so pleased they have the chance to go on at great length to you or even better the world about the mistake you made.

Now yes, a writer must make an effort. Having a motorcar in a novel set in the mid 19th century does indicate ‘not trying very hard’. (Steampunk of course gets a free pass these days)  Henry VIII biding one of his wives farewell before riding off to the Battle of Bosworth Field 1485 (he was born in 1491) is just stupid. Whereas you can work an ahistorical scene where Charles I and Oliver Cromwell have a discussion; having Cromwell say:

‘Get real Charles! The people need a democracy! Like now, man’

People will find it lacking something……unless of course you are doing satire or very off the wall humour in alternative Universes.

This does not mean you have to be hemmed into a place which leaves your imagination and general creativity stifled into something narrow and dry. To assist here I give the example of a new high profile film:


The King (2019 Film)

Now this revolves around A Henry V of England ( famous for Shakespeare, Agincourt etc), I write ‘A’ for the reason that both historical and “Shakespearial” as devotees of both might well go spinning off into the higher regions of the atmosphere when they hear about this.

The film has Henry as being a fellow who liked a bit of fun (as did Shakespeare’s Henry) and kills rebellious Hotspur (just like Shakespeare’s). Historically Henry (Then Prince of Wales) followed his dad (Henry IV) around putting down rebellions etc with sword, not frank and open discussion. Hotspur did die at the Battle of Shrewsbury and the winning side got to write the account, so keep an open mind on who killed him.

In The Film the larger than life Shakespearean character Falstaff figures as something of a mentor to Henry and sage advisor when Henry gets to invade France and gets to fight at Agincourt. In Shakespeare Henry IV Part 2 he gets ditched by Henry (now the V) as now a low life beneath him, Henry now being grave and austere. (In the hands of good actors the scene is at one sad and chilling). In the play Henry V he only gets an aside on account of being dead off stage (in reduced circumstances). History records one Sir John Fastolf, who was nothing like Falstaff and got the blame for losing the Battle of Patay against the French, who had Joan of Arc of their side, so you can’t blame the guy really.

In the Film Henry does not want to fight the French in France, he would rather stay at home, doing ‘stuff’, but due to all sorts of pollical skulduggery is manoeuvred into others’ cunning schemes whereby he is obliged to invade France. Here he reluctantly beats the French. In Shakespeare’s Henry V he invades France because it makes for a good plot and lots of rousing speeches. Historically Henry invaded France because he wanted to get back the lands that belonged to the Plantagenets who had been sort of French and he reckoned he should thus be King of France. His invasion and treatment of the civilian population would now qualify as war crimes, but ‘Business as Usual’ in those days.

Now, as you can imagine  Historians and Shakespeareans will be hopping up and down and for once sharing cause at the outrageous misuse of material.  Let us not bother with these possibilities.

Let us look to The Film:

Firstly you will notice it is called THE KING. It’s about A ‘king’

Thus we have a plot when a prince in A land called England becomes A king; the 5th one to be called Henry and gets drawn into fighting a war with A Royalty of A land called France and later on realises he has been suckered into the war.

That’s it. All you really need to know.

I have not seen the film, I may never see the film….actually curiosity makes me most likely to get a DVD to see how it goes. The point is there was a great deal of artistic licence used with both facts and previous dramas to get where the film arrived. And in these terms this is all that matters. Henry does not stab his father to death to gain the throne, (Yes, I know Mr Martin, I’m should you would have made sure he did). He does not ride into France on a fire breathing dragon (cool idea though?). Nor does he meet, fall in love with Joan of Arc, then tragically is obliged to betray then slay her in battle at Agincourt (I bet Marlow would have loved that one). Thus although historical credibility is stretched it is not unto ridiculous lengths. Artistic licence is used and hopefully the average viewer who has no axe to grind with history or classic drama will like the film.

I would thus urge you all the bear in mind this film when you are fretting over whether you should be doing what you are doing with a plot where history or ‘classics’ or ‘facts’ come into play. You are the captain of your own ship and can steer into any harbour you choose. It’s not only people with ‘big’ names who can play fast and loose.

In conclusion when was the last time you saw a film which stuck remarkably tight to the historical facts or the original book/play?

Artistic Licence and also interpretation.

Art and Action

Siberian Fires

Since July these fires have raged across vast stretches of land and it would seem the current government was not as swift to intervene as say in Crimea or Ukraine.

However local artists have raised the issue with some powerful imagery

Siberian Fires 1

Siberian Fires 2

Siberian Fires 3

And this seems to have caused the government to act

Artists and Siberian Fires

Never under-estimate the power of any art.