Posted by: Ken A Locke | September 17, 2018

Advanced Craft Retreat

I returned yesterday from an Advanced Craft Retreat at a monastery in Conception, MO. I went to get help with my writing. I have ALL these ideas, and have read a lot, but still had a murky idea of what my good/great/successful writing would look like. My ‘point of view’ writing, ‘tense’ writing, and character voices were all over the map. Undisciplined, unfocused, scatter shot. I KNEW this, but had no clear way to work past or through those limitations.

The fine people at Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators hosted this Retreat and found a fantastic professor to anchor the weekend of critique and focused writing sessions. Most of the other 7 writers in attendance were much farther along the path towards excellence in writing (it’s possible I ignored the “Advanced” part of the retreat title – wishful thinking, maybe).  They all had stories of editors, agents, and publishing to tell. I listened in fascination because all of that is still ahead of me.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. How many times have YOU heard that? Lots, is my answer. I realize, now, that I can’t ‘turn in’ this novel of mine like I turned in the majority of my papers and essays in high school and college. I have to work at it. Success has usually come easily to me, but this ‘writing thing’ is going to take some effort. Some skin. Some blood, sweat, tears. Now I know.

The privilege is that I get to keep working at it. I get to meet my characters (one of the attendees said ‘take each one of them out on a date – get to know what they really think and who they really are’). Being a ‘people-pleaser/golden retriever’ personality, it is scary to think that I am the only one who chooses my setting, my time period, my character motivations, my good guys and bad guys.

It’s liberating to know, though, and I thank each and every writer who found new ways to tell me that last weekend.

I GET to be the storyteller.

Posted by: Ken A Locke | March 20, 2018

Actually Reading Re-Tweets – the Brilliant Anna Quinn

It took me awhile to get around to reading what I re-tweeted the other day.

My guess is that most of you literary people already know of the Anna Quinn. She owns a bookstore in Washington state, and is a writer with a long pedigree of insight.

I just caught a phrase from her interview that was included in the tweet;

“The thing I need to tell myself often is to stand by my writing – to write what I want and to write it without apology. I used to apologize often.”

‘I bet that’s a good interview,’ I said to myself. ‘I should read that whole thing one day.’ Today I made time to read that – I’ve included a link to the interview here which, by all means, I recommend you read.

THEN, there is a link in her interview about the day she got word that she’d gotten a book contract and the sheer joy that follows it. Immediately chased by fear and doubt. I suggest you take a minute to read about that here https://wp.me/p4SZKy-6l.

It’s better than finding money in a pocket! Reading re-tweets, that is.

Have a great day!

Posted by: Ken A Locke | January 19, 2018

Snapshots of Life

I had an epiphany the other day. We were watching the movie “Crazy Heart” – the one with Jeff Bridges who is a country singer named Bad Brad. He’s an alcoholic, but continues to barely function as a ‘has-been’ country star who is now reduced to performing in bowling alleys and crappy clubs. Of course, halfway through, he meets the next love of his life, ruins his chances by being drunk, and asks for help to get sober. He does get sober and turned around, but the love interest never comes back to him. They meet and find peace and closure with each other, though, and he continues to be a creative musician when the end credits roll.

I am usually unmoved by stories of addicts beating their addiction. I accept that type of storyline as a good vehicle for storytelling, but it doesn’t reach into my soul and tear me up with its struggle.

My epiphany is THIS: do addicts feel the struggle of their own journey when they watch movies or read stories about other addicts trying to beat their addiction???????

It honestly had not occurred to me that this might be so. And why wouldn’t it be so? When a person relates to the main character, they FEEL the pain. I learn something new every day.

New topic – some snapshots from the last week or so of fascinating people:

  1. The cold sore on the lip of the earnest young woman serving me my brisket sandwich at a BBQ place in town. She could have been a teenage bride, or she could have been helping her parents out in the family-run cafe. She had a homemade knit cap on, even though wasn’t that cold in there.
  2. A grandmother in the library, smiling at her two grandchildren listening intently to the librarian explain all the privileges they get with a new library card. Grandma had kept her scarf and coat on.
  3. the Latina grandma (abuela) smiling at me, murmuring ‘hola’, while the family walked by us on the sidewalk. The child in the stroller kicking his feet with a serene glee.
  4. In a bookstore, a young lad wore his Batman outfit. He muttered ‘about face’ as he made an abrupt turn in the aisle. And he held the door for us with exuberance, happy to be serving his community.

All four of those people caused me to stop and take notice of the variety of life that moves all around me ceaselessly. Each image brings a smile to my face. This world is a great place to be. (And I dodged the bullet on the cold sore).

Who have YOU seen lately?

Posted by: Ken A Locke | October 9, 2017

I Saw A Man Today

I saw a man yesterday.

He stood at a gravestone. In grass, at an angle to the front of the stone. So he could read the epitaph, but did not have to absorb it head on. The pitiless truth of death a glancing blow.


He had a yellow trucker’s cap on. Bright yellow, with mesh around the back. Printing on the cap in cheery white letters. One size fits all.


He had on velcro walking shoes, tan slacks, and a blue windbreaker. It was a warm day. The sun did not reach him.


He stood in mourning. He stood in confusion (he knew WHY he was standing there – I don’t mean that).


I mean THIS: he was confused why he hadn’t gone WITH her.


‘What am I going to do with the rest of the day?’


His handlers stood a respectful distance away; midway between the grave and the sedan. As if he had asked them before to leave him alone with grief.


Sometimes he wants to feel the full dose of sadness. Sometimes others standing close don’t actually help him take the pain. The unalloyed concentration of feeling. The hammered, throbbing thumb before the numbing ice. Keening.


A purity of searing solitude is the only song he can hear.


Who of us knows that pain, or that loss, or that grief? I only know enough to not speak, especially to a man in a yellow cap and tears in the creases of his face.


The tear gets hung up on a few stray whiskers before it tracks off his jaw, down his loosened neck, and into his frayed collar.


Why should he? Wear a new shirt, that is.


He hopes he won’t be around long enough to need a new wardrobe.


And yet…


And yet, he still visits the grave. He puts his hand in his pocket. Resolutely jangles his change. Adjusts his cap. Roughly brushes his nose with a clubbed hand. Allergy season. Not despair.


There is a nobility there. Easier to stay inside. Watch the television (even though there are no good programs on anymore) (And he can’t watch their favorite program, either – she isn’t there to laugh with him).


“Noblesse Oblige” – The art of doing the right thing because people are counting on you to set the standard.  Even when, especially when, it is hard.


He is a member of the royalty of the wounded. The only way in is through suffering. The doorway to the club appeared after his first gallon of tears. It opened after he stopped counting the mornings that he threw half a pot of coffee away. After the creamer (only she drank it) went sour.


Do they sell butter half a stick at a time?


I saw a man yesterday.


I saw a noble man.

Posted by: Ken A Locke | September 12, 2017

Well done, Writer, well done

Ian McEwen wrote an astonishing book called Atonement. We find out that he has created an author who needs to make atonement for a sin early in her life. It’s one of those ‘stories within a story’. But the kind where, when you realize it, you have to put the book down and close your eyes for a second because your world just changed. Like after All The Light We Cannot See or Me Before You or Behind Her Eyes or Bel Canto (all books that I have had to put down because they completely changed my reality).

The MOVIE gets straight to the point of the shattering betrayal by younger sister Briony (pronounced BRY-uhny) (could we BE any more English? I love it). Briony sees the servant boy, Robbie, apparently impose himself on Briony’s older sister Cecilia, first at the fountain outside where the vase gets broken, then in the library where she sees them joined in sexual congress. She has little idea what sex is, of course, because she is young, and protected, and aristocratic, and these sorts of families don’t talk about those sorts of things.

The BOOK takes a certain amount of patience and focused time to see what McEwen would like to unpack for the reader first. He is brilliant at setting the scene, providing context, introducing smaller characters (who have a huge impact), exposing variables and tendencies. Because they all matter, in the end, to the characters he creates. No one is made hero or scapegoat in a vacuum, at least not in a McEwen novel.

We find out, later, that Cecilia and Robbie are indeed in love and burn with a pure passion that both brings them together and ruins them (mostly because aristocratic lips curl at the thought of a servant boy and a woman of class being together).

The deepest and irrevocable betrayal comes when Briony sees someone assault a different house guest – Lola. Lola can’t tell who is trying to rape her, and Briony only sees a retreating male form. Briony makes the connection with Robbie, from earlier, to this attempted rape and says it was Robbie also – she is sure of it.

He gets sent to prison, then the war starts, then he gets to join the army as a conscript (his other choice was to stay in prison forever). Cecilia ends up as a trained nurse, as does Briony.

The betrayal is this: Briony loved Robbie for herself and did NOT know it was Robbie who tried to rape Lola. In fact, Briony later remembers it is a different guy who does the raping (a perfectly foppish, yet sinister Benedict Cumberbatch)(who, near the end, marries Lola). Since Briony couldn’t have Robbie, no one could have Robbie.

She (played masterfully by Vanessa Redgrave as the older writer Briony) writes the book to give them the life and happiness they deserved.

“I like to think that it isn’t a weakness or evasion, but a final act of kindness, a stand against oblivion and despair, to let my lovers live and to untie them at the end. I gave them happiness, but I was not so self-serving as to let them forgive me.”

What really happened is that Robbie died the day before the evacuation at Dunkirk, and Cecilia died from a German bomb on her subway station/bomb shelter. And then I remember that these characters have been made real in my mind because of the excellence of the writer. It didn’t really happen. But how could they NOT have existed – it turned all so real in my head. Well done, writer, well done.

All these tears, mostly mine, over a made-up story about the rich English. Isn’t that the essence of storytelling?

Posted by: Ken A Locke | September 5, 2017

Our Son Marries and We Gain A Daughter -A Glorious Weekend.

Picture a two pieces of driftwood, first in an ocean, then finding land. Together.  Picture two strangers growing into friends… then best friends… then into the love of each other’s life.  Surround those two with freshly-met, new family (for, indeed, EVERYone that shared this is now family) that swells the celebration with a riotous gout of joy, happiness, love, and depth of feeling.

Thus did we, Ken and Angie – the groom’s parents – find ourselves. An idyllic estate outside of Parker, CO, hosted both family and friends for the three-day weekend. Little did we know that, although we knew it would be cool, this would be a time filled with such profound emotion, abiding confidence, and an honored pride in knowing and sharing with all these people.

A lovely invitation that gives little indication of the glory and perfection to come.

Part of The Estate where Ethan and Amanda married each other.

Amanda and Ethan sharing their hopes for the weekend.

Angie and Ken (that’s us) – so proud and moved to be part of Ethan and Amanda’s joy.

Profound and total joy and commitment on their faces. Many of us weep.

Angie, Mark, June, and Ken – the pure privilege and happiness of new family.

Jacob, Cassidy, Ethan recreating a childhood picture pose. Our hearts flood.

The benediction of a sunset on the day.

I’ve never seen a happier mother or a happier groom. Dancing in the evening.

The women of the wedding all showing their team spirit. Three generations filled the party and gave us reason to stop worrying about anything; we’ll be fine. The posing of this picture, in real-time, was hilarious and joyful.

Ethan’s long-time group of friends traveled from all over the country to come and welcome Amanda into the club. What started as a rowdy group of boys playing “Risk” and chess in each other’s basements has grown into the next generation of brilliant people who will look after stuff so we don’t have to.

At the meeting in which Amanda and Ethan shared their hopes for the weekend, we all took a turn naming ourselves and sharing a favorite wedding memory. What, at first, seemed like a logistical job assignment meeting turned into a heartfelt time of generational sharing and blessing and recognition of the unique measure of the weekend. We knew we were gaining a daughter – we didn’t realize how rich the experience would be.

Remember how ‘mithril’ was a gift beyond price? Remember the packed days of summer that Calvin and Hobbes lived through? Remember your excitement at seeing seeds sprout into a perfect garden? Think of the majesty of the sequoias, the untiring determination of a ruby-throated hummingbird, the thundering roar of Niagara Falls, the whisper of a breeze through the your favorite forest. Remind yourself of the smile of grandparents, who love us always and no matter what. Remember the pride of parents when they see a kid find their path. Feel your face crackle with beauty at the rising of the sun, or the perfection of a song, or the rightness of a well-written poem.

All of that.

Ethan and Amanda gave ALL of that to us this weekend.

Posted by: Ken A Locke | March 15, 2017

Shattered By This Story

Do you count the blessing of every day?  I thought I did, until I came across this story as I casually perused the local violin shop’s website.  In considering selling my viola, I looked up the shop’s website, McHugh’s Violins.  He has a sterling reputation and did some excellent repair work for me a few years ago in preparation for my return to the concert stage (my return was not nearly as dramatic as it sounds).

As I blithely wend my way through my retirement and into my second career as a writer, I consider passing on my wonderful musical instrument, the viola that my parents had gifted me upon graduation from high school.

I spent my years at University of Northern Colorado playing for hours – in chamber groups, in a practice room, in at least 3 different symphonies.  I loved those days.  The gift of serenity through classical music came to me as a 4th grader, playing “Barcarolle”, and continued through all the years I played.  Even though my practice hours were on the low side of the spectrum of music majors at UNC, I did still spend hours in Fraser Hall on that campus.  My wife and I fell in love in those hallways and practice rooms and rehearsals and concert halls.

I recently tried a revival of my career in the viola section, but, due to a series of realizations, the largest of which was I didn’t want to practice the hours I needed in order to excel again, I now count myself as a listener rather than a player.

I have different ambitions and dreams now yet no less hopeful that when I wanted to be an actual viola player in a professional, full-time orchestra.  I am creating a different kind of art but I love that I write best when I run endless classical music through my Bose headphones.

Back to the violin shop.  I got no further than the first sentence on his website (“My sweet wife Susie passed away peacefully on October 18th, 2016”) when I clicked on this link, “Our Journey”, and read his faithful, loving, heartbreaking, shattering account of their loving battle with her cancer.  I can’t imagine.  His and her story stopped time for me as I read from the beginning entry to the final one.  Please, take a few minutes and read.

Another friend of ours has blogged her entire journey through cancer.  The short answer is, in her words, “cancer sucks”, but that friends and family deeply matter.  You can read her journey right here in Michelle’s Blog.

 

I realize that today’s the day.  Make your move; make your memories; make your love known.

Posted by: Ken A Locke | February 12, 2017

Brothel Tokens and Cartography

The Delano District of Wichita, KS, used to be for cowboys.  Did you know that cowboys weren’t “cowboys” until they crossed into Oklahoma?  They were “drovers” because the men in question didn’t like to be called “boys”.

Cowboys could drive their cattle all the way into Wichita, which meant across the Arkansas River and to the stockyards, but they had to go back to Delano for whoring and drinking.  Cowboys were NOT ALLOWED TO STAY in Wichita because they would cause too much trouble looking for drink and women.  Plus Delano was a separate place.  Now it is merely a historic district of Wichita.

Have a look at the gold coin in the pictures.  That is a”brothel token”.  A real thing that cowboys or drovers used to get upon completion of a cattle drive.  “Good for one dollar in trade in girls, whiskey, or food” is what it says on the front.

In a little under 65 minutes yesterday, I learned an astounding amount of Kansas cattle history at Westlink Library, in Wichita, KS (Wichita Public Library).  Westlink staff had invited Tom Averill from Washburn University and Mary Lou Rivers from the Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversary Celebration (Chisholm Trail 150th) to come speak to a select few readers who had an hour (plus 5 minutes) to spare.

We had all agreed to read this book.  I happened to see it in a stack by the librarian’s elbow a few weeks ago and asked if I could attend the book talk.  As is their wont, the library happily said yes and set me up as an attendee.  Free.  No charge to come hear living history.

The book centers around an ‘eastern’ Kansan, Leo, who goes out west (near Hays) to teach and both get away from bad decisions back east and start over in the west.  He meets up with a cowboy/rancher and another, older cowboy who have always worked cattle and the land.  The ‘executive summary’ of the book is (and there will NOT be a test) that Leo learns enough to be a cowboy and help drive cattle all the way into Kansas City to the Stockyards back in the 1970’s.  Nice little story, right?

It was only after the expert treatment and discussion from the Washburn professor that I realized how deep the comparisons to life’s complexities the story ran.  As we discussed characters, archetypes, foreboding, and allegory I realized how many books carried similar themes in them.   I thought of Cold Mountain, Lord of the Flies, Lonesome Dove, and the movies City Slickers and The Graduate.  Those of you who teach will already know this.  Those of you who read will have already seen this.  Even though I read quite a bit, the profound truths that we polished took me by surprise during those 65 minutes.  I left the library grateful for the discovery of a vital geographical landmark in my personal map of understanding.

I’ll explain.

As I write, read, interact, absorb, understand, and share with my world (that is, the people I come in contact with), I see myself standing on a particular spot of earth.  Sometimes it is a ridge, sometimes a valley, sometimes a shore, sometimes a cave.  My clearest understanding places are the ridges and peaks of the map – I have a fairly good understanding and can explain lucidly what the situation is.  Air Traffic Control is one of those – I mostly “get it”, and can talk a person through the basic systems.  20th century fiction is another; I’m conversant in a lot of what has been written in the last 70 years.  The valleys, shores, caves are topics in which I have little understanding or data of background to help me out.  The whole refugee situation, for instance, feels like a shore for me.  I know there is a huge problem, but I have little empirical, experienced data to make super decisions with, other than to say ‘we ought to be helping find a solution’.  Clear as mud? OK, on we go.

The joy of adding landmarks to my personal cartography made that book session a gift.  I simply grinned at each person who added a story yesterday.  One of the ladies had a relative (he was a ‘several greats’ relative) who actually remembered how the cattle drive went and how much the pay was – passed down so she knew it.  Another expert marveled at how many people said the Chisholm Trail passed across their land.  She described how the trail moved around a lot – the dry seasons it had to follow water more closely; the wet seasons it had to stay higher to avoid soggy ground.  One point of discussion was how NYC people thought the entire state of Kansas was full of hicks and cowboys, but to cowboys you didn’t have to go farther than Kansas City to find city people (and yes, several of us DID say ‘everything’s up to date in Kansas City’).

Angie and I stopped in The Monarch, which is in Delano (where the cowboys could go, remember?), the other evening to cap off the work week.  The corner signpost, out the window, had a sign that said “The Chisholm Trail”.  We sat in the literal place where the cowboys came to recover from the long drives they’d just finished.

Discovery.  We are built for it.  We often stumble on it.  I certainly do…  it’s like opening the ‘junk drawer’ and realizing it is full of priceless memories.

I’ve got no real idea where we are headed, and I have precious few answers about what is going on today, but it sure is nice to look back over the ground we’ve covered.

Get to the ridge, set your load down, take a deep breath, and look around a little.  Let us know what you see.

Posted by: Ken A Locke | February 4, 2017

The Era of Milk and Laundry

I’ve been noticing lately, a change in our quantity and inventory.  A profound difference in quantities.  Normal items like milk, ground beef, laundry detergent, dryer sheets.

I remember a time when we went to the grocery store, to the dairy section, and put 2 GALLONS of milk into the cart.  No question.  We often wondered if we should just get 3 gallons so we didn’t have to come back midweek.  In our family’s heyday (not HayDay the tremendous phone game that I love to play – find that game in your app store) we would drink the crud out of milk.  2%.  Not whole, not skim.  Our kids would rush in from whatever middle or high school activity they just finished, grab the milk, and just glug.  Milk with dinner, milk before dinner, milk with cookies after dinner.  Angie and I would stand and marvel at their capacity.

Now that all three kids aren’t kids anymore, and are out of the house on their own, we find ourselves visiting the dairy section only now and then.  As a matter of fact, Ang drinks fat free 1/2 and 1/2 (fat-free half and half?  I’m not sure how to type that), and I mostly use whole milk for a cappuccino once or twice a week at home.  I USED to buy whole milk in (and here is my point about quantity) ONE QUART bottles until I had to pour over half down the drain because it spoiled in the three weeks it took me to drink it.  Now I buy ONE PINT.  And I hope that I use it before it goes bad.  Angie buys ONE PINT of “fat-free half and half” that lasts a week of morning coffee.

I know.  It’s not earth-shattering climate change data.  It’s not nearly the drastically different political change we’ve recently been experiencing.

Still.  Quantities.

Examine the change in quantities of a thing, and you can often demarcate a new era.  A new epoch.  A different time.  A season.  Of course, “for everything there is a season; there is nothing new under the sun”.

And, always, “Sunrise, Sunset”.

I trust there are still families buying milk in two-gallon trips to last them just a few days.  I’m sure the dairy industry has a steady supply of kids for whom “milk does a body good”.  I merely note that our family is now no longer leading the milk quantity consumption chart.

The other thing I am always amazed at is how little LAUNDRY we have to do.  We each do our own.  That way, we have clean what we want and when we want it.  “What do we want?? Clean Laundry!  When do we want it?? Uh, NOW, I guess!”

It used to be that, if we wanted to run a load or several of laundry, we’d have to get in line.  There was always an assembly line in front of the washer, the toilet next to it, the sink next to that, and sometimes (when we all had stuff to wash) out the door of the combo bathroom/laundry room.  5 people with either sports clothes or workout clothes plus work or school clothes – holy cow.  Go pee somewhere else cuz the door won’t shut until some more laundry is done.  Now, listen, when the kids were tiny, Ang usually ran the laundry.  But as we all grew, we each tried to do our own and take some responsibility.  It never fell to “only Mom” to get all that washing done.  We (mostly Angie) tried to get the kids to do their own, take charge, etc.  So when I say piles of laundry marching out into the hall, no one takes the blame.  It is simply a reality of QUANTITY.

Which brings me back to my point.  I can do a load of laundry literally whenever I feel like doing it.  I have two shirts I just bought that I want to wash before I wear them (and doesn’t EVERYone have to wash new clothes before you wear them??) and I may just throw them in here in a minute.  No waiting.  Plenty of laundry detergent.  Plenty of dryer sheets, too, for that matter.

It’s this kind of thing that marks the changing of the family season, even more than writing a new address for the kids in the address book (or typing a new address in their “contact”, as it were).

I love when the kids are home and I need to buy THREE pounds of ground beef for TMR (taco meat and rice).  TMR is just boring with one pound.  Oh, sure, a guy still makes it – it is just more fun when there a whole pile of people at the table (or in front of the TV watching “Big Business” or “Dumb and Dumber” for the millionth time) to eat it.

May I simply wish, then, that you enjoy the quantities that your season calls for.  Soon enough, those will change, and leave you wishing for more.

Posted by: Ken A Locke | December 24, 2016

Oysters, Potatoes, and Candles

I find myself remembering, with great fondness, Mom and Dad’s tradition of potato soup and oyster stew on Christmas Eve.  We did this as early as I can remember; always after we got back from church.

The Christmas Eve service is the one where you can play with fire, even if you are a little kid.  Because you ‘Pass the Peace of Christ’, you see.  Each person gets a candle upon entering the sanctuary, which, at the end of the service, you tip towards the lighted candle to light your own wick.  It is very important NOT to tip the LIGHTED candle.  The person with the lighted candle holds the flame straight up, and the ‘new candle’ tips toward the flame.  I loved this candle business because this was before the days of Boy Scouts where we were SUPPOSED to (reSPONSibly) play with fire.  The wax that managed to drip onto my fingers, through the paper candle holder, was merely a bonus to peel off and inspect for fingerprints.

With the heady responsibility of fire stewardship successfully carried out for another year, we returned to our warm home with the promise of two different kinds of soup.   Oyster crackers, all we could eat, made an appearance with Christmas Eve soup, too.  Take a moment and remember dropping those round crackers into soup; then slowly dunking them for a swim.  Although a simple meal, I now realize that potato soup takes quite a bit of work.  Fresh potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces, are not instantly ready.

Oyster stew, even with canned oysters, also takes a lot of preparation.  I dearly hope that I said ‘thank you’ to my mom for always having this traditional meal ready soon after our return from church.  I have only eaten oyster stew on Christmas Eve at my parent’s house in the middle of Nebraska.  I truly love the memory of this meal.  I imagine it is made other places in the world, but I have not tried it.

Imagine for a moment, having the luxury of choice.  Which pot will you fill your bowl with first?

Also, we got to open ONE present on Christmas Eve.  Only one – so the torment of choice dominated my very being, WHICH ONE FOR NOW??? What if I missed the best one?  Or more dire, what if I OPENED the best one on Christmas Eve – what would I do in the morning with no ‘good’ presents left??  Of course, it never came to that.  And we never got “bad” presents.  My over-active imagination at work, I guess.  I still have a ‘delayed gratification’ mentality about many things, gift-opening specifically.  If there was a way to NEVER open a gift, but still enjoy the feeling of having it to open, I would bottle that and sell it.

Gifts, of course, are for giving and opening, not for hoarding.

I do hope, this Eve, that you have a gift.  I hope you have a warm home to share.  I hope you have food to share.  I hope that your traditions are still alive, and that you have loved ones to whom you can pass these traditions.  Now that I am older, I realize how vital the message of Christmas Eve is; Jesus, on His way to save us from ourselves.

I wish blessings on you, your family, your tribe, and your efforts to bring light, peace, life, and love to this world.

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