A bleak unhappy Christmas story? How could I?
Well, you don’t have to read it! After all, I wouldn’t tell a child that there’s no Father Christmas. And I don’t mean to upset anyone who is already in the Christmas spirit, or getting pickled in Christmas spirits. So be warned. The writer makes Scrooge before his epiphany seem positively magnaminous.
Here’s a link to the story, The Big Wheel . It’s one of a forthcoming collection of stories around the theme of addiction.
I’ve no intention of ‘defending’ the story or commenting on its content and style per se but it raises some points for me in general that may be of interest to other writers.
Firstly, the invisible author (no, he’s not the Spirit of Christmas!) is not me, the guy who’ll doubtless be going a-waissaling and merry-making over the ‘festive season’. It’s true that parts of ‘me’ are as bitter and twisted as the next depressive realist but the story is not a personal rant. As with a first person narration in which the narrator is a character not to be identified with the writer, so too an author can adopt an omniscient perspective and ‘voice’ peculiar to a ghostly character, an ‘imagined writer’.
Secondly, in fiction generally the ‘acid bath of cynicism’ approach can dissolve a lot of mawkish sentimentality leaving intact only what may to the reader be metals (or mettles) of basic value. In doing so a writer has often observed and distilled aspects of his or her own life and others, and hopes readers may identify or recognise themselves and others.
Finally, most important of all, it’s taken for granted that each reader will complete the story in their own way. Whatever the writer means or intends is not relevant here. A story has to be taken ‘as you like it’ (or as you don’t like it).
Anyway, enough of this solemnity. Best wishes and HO HO HO!