Fear and Hope

In 3 days I’ll post my 2022 Advent Ghosts 100-Word story. It probably won’t change your life or be a big deal to anyone but me.

But it’s a big deal for me.

Last year’s was, too.

Last year I wrote about a surreal drive I made to my hometown to try to rescue my father. Note for the rookies: Rescue drives are a bad idea, most of the time. Misguided.

This year, my story is inspired by a Christmas song that has always had a note of fear in it for me, and it was interesting to me to read about the song’s origin.

O Holy Night” (original title: Cantique de Noël) is a well-known Christmas carol. Originally based on a French-language poem by poet Placide Cappeau, written in 1843, with the first line “Minuit, Chrétien, c’est l’heure solennelle” (Midnight, Christian, is the solemn hour) that composer Adolphe Adam set to music in 1847. The English version (with small changes to the initial melody) is by John Sullivan Dwight. The carol reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity’s redemption.

As a writer myself, I’m ashamed to say that I don’t research song-writing the way I do other forms. But that is going to change.

This is a scary song. I respect that and I feel that every time I hear it or attempt to sing it.

So this will be a ghost story. It will be about fear, But it will also be about faith.

Because as much as this song scares me, because it does, it walks me into hope. I think this is how it goes, a journey of faith and connection to something beyond our understanding and outside of our power. You agree to take another step. You agree to not know. You trust.

And you agree to keep singing.

Shared Storytelling: Advent Ghosts 2022

Image from “Rattle,” my story for 2018

Via my friend Loren Eaton:

Dear writerly friends, welcome to Advent Ghosts 2022, the thirteenth annual shared storytelling event at ISLF. Thirteen may not be an auspicious number in genre fiction, but it represents something of an enduring tradition for this humble little blog. Over the years, a group of us have celebrated that peculiarly British tradition of telling spooky stories right before Christmas. Smithsonian Magazinehas an informative article about the practice, and you can learn more yourself by reading selections such as Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Old Nurse’s Story,” Algernon Blackwood’s “The Kit-Bag,” or E.F. Benson’s “Between the Lights.” To get more of an idea of what we do here, though, check out Neil Gaiman’s “Nicholas Was …”This little story clocks in at exactly 100 words — which is exactly what our tales do as well. We welcome anyone, and the rules are simple:

1) Email me at ISawLightningFall [at] gmail [dot] com.
2) Pen a scary story that’s exactly 100-words long — no more, no less.
3) Post the story to your blog on Saturday, December 17, and email the link to me. Hosting on ISLF is available for those without blogs or anyone who wants to write under a pseudonym. (Don’t worry, you’ll retain copyright!)
4) While you should feel free to write whatever you want to, know that I reserve the right to put a content warning on any story that I think needs it.

If you’re new to the group and would like to see some examples, give last year’s stories a gander.

Search tag “Advent Ghosts” to read all of my 100-word stories for this project over the years on Esse Diem. Then join us!

UPDATE: My 100-Word Story links:

2011 The Escape
2012  For Later and Unwanted
2013 Vacancy
2014 The Last
2016 It's Not Mama
2018 Rattle
2019 Slide
2020 Listen
2021 Presence