Looking Glass Language

a word bird reflects on life & language

Belatedly: The Mysteries of Christmas…

Sestude by Chris Bird

26 Stories of Christmas

The mysteries of  my Christmas 2013 include…

  • Why I thought it was a good idea to eat my own body weight in turkey & trimmings
  • How I imagined that, after all that turkey, some Christmas pudding and a glass of port might be a good idea
  • How, after combing my sister’s house for our possessions, and doing a thorough sweep under the bed and behind the sofa, I managed to leave behind the bag of presents she gave me for the children
  • And how I could have forgotten to post up a link to 26 Stories of Christmas , on which my sestude, The Mysteries of Christmas, written in response to a wonderful picture drawn by a young cancer sufferer, was  featured on Chrsitmas Day…
  • The advent calendar was produced in support of wonderful charities, It’s Good To Give and The Teenage Cancer Trust, and if you’d like to see the site in action, and donate to these worthwhile causes, the Day 1  plus donation link still works… As the Christmas Day one no longer seems to, I’ve included my poem and the great drawing that inspired it, at left. I’ve also included some background on the project, below…

The story behind the idea

At the beginning of September 2011 Sam Gray had an idea. What if we, the writers’ collective ’26’ challenged our members to create an online advent calendar of words and images? In its first incarnation 26 Stories of Christmas paired writers with design students, inspiring 26 short stories.

How the idea grew

In 2013 we wanted to build on what we’d achieved. During our 26 Treasures exhibitions of 2011- 2013 we piloted a new literary form – the sestude. This comprises 62 words written in poetry, drama or prose. We decided this year to write our Christmas advent messages in this, shortened form. As it’s Christmas, we wanted to add an emotional core to what we were doing so we teamed up with two worthy charities – Teenage Cancer Trust and Its Good 2 Give – who asked some of the sick children and young people they help to draw us 26 inspirational Christmas images. As it turned out, the children and young people themselves proved as inspiring as the Christmas trees, snowmen, elves, reindeer, stars and even Santa submarine they came up with. And we added the ability to donate to the charity of your choice to make everyone’s daily dose of 26 Christmas stories feel even better…

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