Sixth Day of Christmas: Away in a basement (part one)

New Times2012 Holiday Guide was undeniably my favorite. We took a serious departure from our typical “10 Ways to Flock Your Christmas Tree” approach, opting to give our insanely talented editorial staff license to construct their own holiday fictions. What they came back with was mostly quite dark, which took me by surprise until I began to evaluate other mainstream holiday fictions. Melting snowmen, bullied reindeer, suicidal bank owners, murderous Mouse Kings. It seems we have a more complicated relationship with the holidays than bubbly wrapping paper and oh-so-cheerful spiked hot chocolate might have us think. And I kind of think that makes the holidays a little bit better. To me, they are a call to arms of sorts, for us to be our better selves, to be kinder, softer, a little more willing to give, a little more willing to trust. And you can’t have that without some serious reflection. If we’re going to be our better selves, then we have to honestly evaluate our darker side–the part that not only walks by that homeless person without offering any food or change but actually has the thought that you wish they weren’t there cluttering up the sidewalk, making you feel guilty for not giving them something, for having a home to go to at the end of the day.

I’m so incredibly proud of what the writers produced that I’m not going to vomit it all into a single blog post. It’s much too good for that. Instead, I’m going to post two stories at a time, accompanied by gorgeous artwork from local artists. And, as a special treat, I’m also posting podcasts of the writers reading their stories. Several of them were sick when they made the recordings, and I’m the sap that volunteered to edit them all so I apologize if the production falls sadly short of This American Life standards. But there really is much to love here.

For the first installment, here is Shredder’s letter explaining the concept for the Holiday Fictions (read by Steve E. Miller); Maeva Considine‘s dark tale “Merry Christmas, You’re Dead” also illustrated and read by her; and Colin Rigley‘s “The Unseemly Tale of Dudley and the Fat Man” illustrated by Neal Breton and read by Colin. My recommendation is that you listen to them whilst sitting around a roaring fire and roasting chestnuts with the people you love best. I’d order a special delivery of snow as well, and egg nog, if you can manage it.

Also, fair warning: Both tales contain obscenities.

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Away in the basement podcast read by Steve E. Miller:

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Podcast of “Merry Christmas, You’re Dead” read and written by Maeva Considine.

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Podcast of “The Unseemly Tale of Dudley and the Fat Man” written and read by Colin Rigley: 

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  1. […] That time she wrote a heart-breaking Christmas story about a guy working in the morgue on Christmas […]

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