In yesterday’s post, I came up with 10 statements to recap the holiday season just passed.
– My Aunt Shirley died on Pearl Harbor Day.
– I feel that I hardly saw my youngest niece and nephew this season.
– It was snowy and very cold almost the entire month.
– Downtown Cincinnati on a gray Sunday before Christmas didn’t inspire much spirit.
– The Christmas season whisks by even when you’re not working regular hours at a full time job.
– My mother and I had two great outings: one to an antique mall in Springfield, Ohio, with lunch at Young’s Dairy; one to Lebanon, Ohio, just to shop hop.
– We had a very interesting, enjoyable time at my niece’s first grade Fine Arts Night at her school.
– I had some quality moments with my young great-nephew, whom I hardly knew before this year, examining every one of my mom’s Christmas houses and figurines in the living room.
– When we did get together, I got to put up Mom’s tree with my niece and nephew and watch part of the Wizard of Oz together; and later in the season, we had a great time making Christmas cookies.
– I fell in love with the way my decorations looked in this first year in my bedroom at Mom’s house.
What do I do with these statements next?
I write. Depending on how much detail I want to go into, I could present them as-is in either a journal entry or blog post as a seasonal overview. I could present them as a “top 10 list” of overriding impressions, add to them and edit them to come up with best moments and worst moments, or use a repetitive device to begin each statement and build on it. Here are some examples using “This was the season…”:
This was the holiday season when I lost my Aunt Shirley. She died suddenly on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. She would have been 76 in January. The image of her photograph on the mantle surrounded by red and white floral arrangements at her memorial followed me through the rest of the season, not frightening like Dickens’ spirits but heart-breaking in its own way.
This was the holiday season that was snowy and cold almost the entire month of December. The shadow of a weather advisory or storm warning seemed to hover over every event. Long lists of canceled school pageants, choral programs, and holiday meetings crawled across the bottom of the television screen every other day. Dreaming of a “white Christmas” lost its significance; we were having an entire white Christmas season without having to sing about it.
This was the holiday season we had a very interesting, enjoyable time at my niece’s first grade Fine Arts Night at her school. She entered the gym hovering close on the heels of her best friend, Hailey, wearing a goofy expression on her face and refusing to look at us in the lower bleachers. Hailey almost caused a commotion trying to force my niece to look at us. The two girls were wedded to each other throughout the performance, hardly dropping their hands to rhythmically lift a multicolored parachute in time to the music. Neither one ducked under the parachute when they were supposed to…
A repetitive opening phrase is also useful for coming up with statements in the first place. “This was the holiday when…” or “This Christmas I…” begs for additional words—an ideal nudge for when you can’t get your thoughts together to put them in writing.
Since I haven’t written as much poetry as I’d like this year, what I’d really like to do is pick one of the original 10 statements and use it as the basis for a roughed out poem. In Part 3 I’ll show how to build on the original statement with additional statements that will help flesh out the poem.