A Holiday Story

A Holiday Story

Let’s face it, my friends, 2020 has been one hell of a hard year. Can you believe that the Trump impeachment hearings, complete with his dutiful senatorial acquittal, took place only last February? It seems eons ago. Of course, the pandemic loomed over all of 2020 and still does. Reuters reports that one person in the United States now dies every minute from COVID-19; as of last Wednesday, the national death toll surpassed 150,000—the highest in the world, thanks to Trump’s sadism and ineptitude. Furthermore, that number is expected to increase over the holidays. No other country in the world has anything close to numbers.

The pandemic will change our lives for years to come, even decades. But we did begin to turn it all around, although it’s been like attempting a ninety degree turn of a steamship in mid-ocean. We had an election, and by god we won it. No matter how many times Trump denies it, no matter how much hatred he spews, no matter how many lies are bloviated by his aides, no matter how many Republican leaders cower behind silence, it’s undeniable fact: we won it we won it we won it.

So I won’t list all the other miseries of the past year—the wrecked economy, the ruptured relationships internationally, the overwhelming embarrassment we as Americans feel when we look out toward the rest of the world. It’s just too much. Besides, there are also so many small, humble, good things to list—the intrepid medical workers, the little gestures of kindness, the fragile sacrifices, the rare but precious laughter.

So in thinking of what to do for this, my Solstice blogpost, I thought I’d step away outside the proverbial box and tell a story. It’s from my latest novel, Parallax (Spinifex Press), which is about storytelling and shifting realities, about stories nested inside one another like Russian dolls. But this story also stands alone by itself. I thought it might shift our perspectives and give us some relief from 2020, act sort of as a palate cleanser before we move into what we trust will be an infinitely better 2021.

I’ve read this story, “The Handmaiden of The Holy Man,” aloud here, so you can close your eyes and hopefully let it soothe your nerve endings, and perhaps bestow some wry laughter and a bit of inspiration.

May the winter Solstice–the return of light from our star, the sun—on which all the holidays this time of year are based, bring renewed hope and reassurance to your soul.

(This blog will return in January.)