Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Guest Blog — Creative Sparks in the Dark of Winter with Sandra Saidak

Written By: Tracy - Dec• 19•11

For me, the Winter Holidays seem to be an especially good time to gather story ideas. It may not be the best time to write—even as a public school teacher with a nice two week vacation, my writing time usually gets swallowed up by shopping, wrapping, cooking and long drives to be with friends and family.

But the annual creativity surge more than makes up for the lack of actual writing. Religious services (both mine and those of friends), parties, caroling and annual events like craft fairs always seem to come gift-wrapped with magical ideas. I recently went to a Molly’s Revenge Holiday concert, and came home with an idea for a story about a group of dead artists (a dancer, a piper, and a singer) who reunite every year at Christmas. I’m not quite sure what they’re going to do, but I’m guessing it will have something to do with bringing miracles to the living who need them. Dickens Faire once inspired a story about a group of lonely people with nothing to do at Christmas who met at the Faire, left together—and became a family.

Probably my most memorable experience of holiday creativity came in the form of a karmic reward for a charitable act: I brought several coats to a charity collecting coats and blankets for the homeless (my children were young, and therefore outgrew coats and jackets every year—sometimes without wearing them). While I handed over my donations, I looked at the growing pile, and began to wonder about comfort brought, even lives saved, by such simple everyday items. That led to the story of a little girl receiving a beautiful pink fur coat (one I actually saw in the pile) which caused her to dream beyond her life of poverty and eventually overcome it. The story was told from the point of view of the coat.

I guess the really special thing about the Winter Holidays is their common theme: lighting up the darkness, whether it’s with candles, bonfires, glowing ornaments—or hope. It’s about surviving the darkest and coldest time of year—whether we’re talking physically or metaphorically. And really, isn’t that where our greatest stories come from?

Sandra Saidak graduated San Francisco State University in 1985 with a B.A. in English. She is a high school English teacher by day, author by night. Her hobbies include reading, folk music, attending science fiction conventions, researching prehistory, and maintaining an active fantasy life (but she warns that this last one could lead to dangerous habits such as writing). Sandra lives in San Jose, CA with her husband Tom, daughters Heather and Melissa, and cats, Cocu and Oreo. Her first novel, “Daughter of the Goddess Lands”, an epic set in the late Neolithic Age, was published in November, 2011 by Uffington Horse Press. Learn more at http://sandrasaidak.com/

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