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Suggestion Saturday: December 15, 2018

Happy Holidays to those of you who have already begun observing them! Here is this week’s list of comic strips, poems, and other links from my favourite corners of the web.

Christmas 1931. A Yuletide of Hunger via harryslaststand. This brought tears to my eyes.

The Vegan Vulture. In no way do I judge people who have to be careful about what they eat due to allergies, intolerances, medical conditions like diabetes, etc. (I’m part of this group!) This is hilarious, though.

Christmas Past. Various holiday-themed links have taken over Suggestion Saturday this month. Rather than fighting this year, I’m accepting it. Also, this is the perfect thing to read for anyone who loves Charles Dickens.

Carrots and Whiskey via SDJackson85.  This is the perfect short horror story to read as Christmas looms in the near future.

From 6 Awkward Holiday Conversations You’re Dreading:

Hopefully everything for you will be hugs, warmth, light, and reconnection with the people you love. But if you are dreading dealing with that one jerk relative or bracing yourself for an onslaught of intrusive questions and and awkward topics, here’s a guide to keeping your cool and choosing your battles when everyone around you is making it weird.

From You’re Damn Right There’s a Santa Claus via tjtherien:

There will be time enough to crush the hopes and dreams of a person. Leave children alone. Let them believe. The magic of being a child is in believing anything is possible.

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry About Winter Holidays

Readers, we need to talk about the fact that there’s such a thing as science fiction and fantasy poetry that’s written about Christmas and other winter holidays.

Seriously, how cool is that?

I discovered this niche by googling for something I wished might really exist: Christmas poems written for adults that have a science fiction or fantasy twist to them.

I do these searches a few times a month on various topics for the sheer fun of it. The vast majority of the time, they turn up nothing. (They probably amuse the heck out of whomever might have access to my search history, though!)

This time I was in luck, and something amusing turned up on the very first page. That lead me to try different combinations of words to see what else I could find. This list is the sum total of everything I found that I thought was well-written and didn’t fall into the sentimentality that most Christmas and winter holiday poems resort to.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying that sort of writing, but I have a strong preference for poems and stories that take other approaches to their subjects: humour, allegories, pragmaticism, and even a little bit of sarcasm at times.

1) 12-Word Christmas Sci-Fi Poem.

Published: December of 2016

Author: syd7t5.

That is all I know about this poet and their poem, but I do love the UFO reference.

2) Sheep, Aliens, and Curry.

Published: 2017

Author: Lee Leon.

Imagine what the nativity scene would be like if it were viewed through the eyes of sheep who neither cared about nor understood human concerns. Now double your expectations of delightful oddness and start reading.

3) bad santa, bad santa.

Published: 2018

Author: Allan Terry

This is a side of santa I don’t think anyone has seen before. That’s all I can say about that without giving away spoilrers.

4) Waking in Winter

Published: 1960s

Author: Sylvia Plath

While this poem doesn’t directly reference any specific winter holidays, it felt like it was written at that time of year to me due to the cold weather and the narrator’s descriptions of ordinary life. I could easily see this being set during a post-nuclear Christmas when everything is terribly uncertain and yet some people still hold onto every shred of hope they can.

5) Lifelong Hermitage Denizen Enjoys Spiritual Freedom

Published: 2018

Author: matthew harris.

I don’t know that the audience was actually supposed to like the speaker of this poem, but I did. His rough exterior seemed to be mostly a facade to me. I’d bet he’d relax pretty quickly if he was told what the rest of us were doing on Christmas and then given complete freedom to participate in all, some, or none of it without any pressure in any direction.

6) Re-Assigned Sugar Plum Elf

Published: 2018

Author: Caren Krutsinger

If only this one could have kept going. Since when are Sugar Plum Elves this small? I don’t remember reading that before, but I’d love to know more.

Did you know that there was such a thing as science fiction and fantasy poems about winter holidays that are meant for adult audiences? Have you run across any other poems that could be added to this list?

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People Watching and the Holidays

Like many other places, Toronto’s malls, subway system, and other public places are bustling with activity at this time of the year. No matter when someone might use or visit them in the month of December, there will be far more folks there than will be the case in January when the new year has finally arrived and everyone has settled back into their usual routines.

One of the things I like about this point in the winter holiday season are the opportunities it gives for people watching. I will be returning to the usual subjects for this blog soon, but I can’t stop thinking about this topic and thought it would make a good one for today.

There are so many folks out and about now that all of the stories they tell with their body language, facial expressions, and the occasional, accidentally overheard conversations provide endless scope for the imagination. You can learn so much about them by paying attention to how they behave when they think no one has noticed them.

I love seeing how people and animals interact with strangers, loved ones, and everyone in-between. You can learn a lot about someone based on how they present themselves and how they behave in public.

Dogs wiggle in excitement when their favourite, or sometimes any, human walks around the corner and into view. The occasional pet snakes, parrots, rabbits, and cats that I’ve seen folks carry around don’t seem to have a strong opinion about our species either way. Small children stare wide-eyed at the holiday displays, decorations, and advertisements in stores. Friends reunite, families figure out what to eat for lunch, couples embrace, and a million other interesting things happen simultaneously wherever large crowds of people gather.

There’s nothing like watching strangers live out these fleeting moments in their lives. The writerly portion of my mind can’t help but to make up stories about who these individuals are and what might happen to them after they’ve finished their to-do list and gone back home.

Not knowing if my guesses are actually correct or not only makes me more interested in continuing to play this game. Everyone that I’ve ever met has portions of their personalities, identities, and interests that aren’t easily or immediately noticeable when you first meet them. I love it when I notice little hints about these parts of themselves however those hints might be shared.

To be perfectly clear, this isn’t about stereotyping anyone or assuming that because they’re X they must love/hate/be indifferent to Y. (Let X and Y stand for whatever your imagination desires. I did not have anything specific in mind when I typed that sentence).

Instead, it’s about seeing how real people behave on a perfectly ordinary day that stands a very good chance of being neither the worst nor the best one they’re ever going to experience. In fact, they might not remember anything about it at all six months from now. They’re simply a regular person (or, in some cases, animal) going through the routines of their lives.

It’s the patterns that interest me the most. There are certain behaviours that just about everyone seems to share, especially when they’re feeling happy, hungry, or tired. On the other hand, I love seeing glimpses of the things that make each person unique.

I’m still looking forward to the quieter days to come in January, but in the meantime I’ll keep a friendly eye out for all of the things you can learn about strangers by noticing how they behave in public.

Do you like people watching? If so, when was the last time you did it?

Suggestion Saturday: December 8, 2018

Here is this week’s list of blog posts, comic strips, and other links from my favourite corners of the web.

Festivities and Kindness via ‪gemmaorton‬. One of the things I love about the holiday season is how it encourages people to perform random acts of kindness and look out for one another. This is an excellent example of that.

Getting Into the Spirit. Okay, this was pretty funny.

Effigy. Today I’ve decided that the term effigy should apply to non-humans, too.

Sleep Training a Jerk Russell via KittyDeschanel. Normally, I don’t share links from the same site two weeks in a row on Suggestion Saturday posts. Part of the reason why I bent this rule today is that I’m a brand new reader at Kitty’s site and I wanted to give all of you another taste of the humorous content she publishes. She has quite a way with words.

How to Find Holiday Happiness via cynthiaharriso1. This blogger has an interesting approach to dealing with painful holiday memories. I thought some of my readers might like it.

From Suddenly Santa:

Suddenly, towards the end of the film I’m approached by a woman so sweet looking that she can only be described as a young Ms. Claus in street clothes. I’m told that they have a Santa costume, but no Santa. I’m also told that they have been planning this event since approximately 1952, but that somehow things are just coming together at the last minute.

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