Much of writing involves discipline—sitting at the desk, day in and day out, and working even if you aren’t exactly filled with inspiration. I believe this is called discipline, and it is essential not only for writing but for many other things, too.
However, once in a while a writer gets lucky, and a story seemingly drops out of nowhere, practically whole cloth with only a small amount of fiddling. So it was for me this November with my short story “The Dog Angel,” with two things coming together to inspire me.
First, there was Aimee Man’s melancholy but lovely Christmas song “Calling on Mary.”
Then there was this ornament, which I featured in a previous post.
Actually, there was a third inspiration, and if you look closely through the glass table, you can see Rumer Godden’s The Story of Holly & Ivy, one of my favorite Christmas tales. Do read it if you haven’t already. Anyway, “The Dog Angel” is a sort of homage to The Story of Holly & Ivy.
In my imagination, I saw a little dark-haired girl and her dark-haired mother, two drifters in the snow, homeless. They were in Waterville, Maine, in the 1970s, in the South End, the Franco-American section of town where I lived when I was very young. Because I like fantasy and folderol, I added a dog angel.
And the rest, dear readers, I will let you discover for yourselves if you are in the mood for a Maine Christmas story. “The Dog Angel” is a free online read available on our Hinterlands Press website. It’s a longish story—about 7,000 words—but it pops along, and you can certainly read it in sections if you like.
Happy holidays to all! May the spirit of generosity be with us not only now but throughout the rest of the year, too.