This month's topic for the Forward Motion Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is Holidays. I've been struggling to think of an angle to write about that connects with my writing, but I really couldn't come up with anything that seemed appropriate. Then I reflected on all the Christmas lights in my neighborhood and remembered when my now 18 year old son realized that most people in our area were a different religion than we were.
I think this has relevance to my writing, particularly in terms of working with characters who feel outcast, different in any way.
I am not a deeply religious person. With a last name like Cohen, it's pretty apparent that I am Jewish. I do celebrate the major holidays, Rosh Hashonah, Yom Kippur, Passover, etc. We light the candles for Hanukah. I don't often think about living as a minority in a larger community of people who believe in a different faith except at Christmastime.
And it's almost always either in relation to seeing all the lights and displays or the insanity at the shopping malls
I actually love this time of year. The lights make everything so lively and bright as the days get shorter and shorter. I have always enjoyed helping friends decorate their Christmas trees. I do have a problem with the relating of Christmas to Hanukah simply because they occur at the same time of the year. Hanukah is a minor league holiday in the Jewish calendar. It has little actual spiritual significance, at least not in comparison to the high holy days. Certainly not anywhere near the importance of Christmas in the Christian faith.
When we lived in Southern Illinois many years ago, the people I worked with couldn't understand why we weren't going home for the holidays. I couldn't explain to them that our holiday wasn't really that important and not one where families traditionally gather. it was as if i was speaking an alien language. They were only satisfied when we told them we would be able to get home for New Years.
The message for me as a writer is to understand how it feels to be a minority believer in a majority culture. Holidays and cultural beliefs are a place for potential rich conflict and emotion and these are the elements that enrich stories.
Go to the Merry-Go-Round site for other FM Writers' interpretation of this month's holiday theme.