Reading and Traditions
What does this have to do with tradition? And Carson Ellis?
I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk and signing of Carson Ellis’s at our local bookstore. She is a favorite of ours- from the hanged print we have in the place of honor (a.k.a. seen from the couch and table) to inscribing her book “Home” as a way to reveal Maeve’s name to our family. I find it nerve racking to meet authors and artists I really admire: never meet your heroes and all that, but I’m happy to report that Carson Ellis is thoroughly charming. I particularly loved how she answered a question about the struggle to get what you imagine in your head to look like what you actually create. Basically, she said she works until she achieves it. I love that.
The book she just put out, “The Shortest Day”, is beautifully immersive. It’s a poem written by Susan Cooper (of The Dark Is Rising series fame) and I love how Ellis draws us into its timelessness and the fear and the joy of the Winter Solstice. Reading the book and listening to Ellis had me immediately wanting to begin a Winter Solstice tradition of our own. What should we do? Obviously there will have to be a roaring fire and lots of candle. We’ll be reading this book, with the joyful shouting of “Welcome Yule!”, but what are your thoughts about music? Food? Anything else that would make this a special tradition?
Other books that have or will become part of tradition:
I mean…that hot chocolate scene in “The Polar Express”. The stuff dreams are made of. When she’s older, I’m planning on taking Maeve on our local train into the city with an extra chocolate-y cup of hot chocolate and following in the footsteps of my beloved Betsy, Tacy, and Tib, by going window shopping and then finally choosing an ornament at the last store we go to.
Felicity by Mary Oliver
I read this book over breakfast every New Year’s Day. It’s short, powerful, wise, and full of…felicity. Just the way I want to start each year.
The Harry Potter series
I make rock cakes every year on Harry’s birthday and we’ve also started baking treacle tart and sticky toffee pudding thanks to all the mentions. I’m sure that maaany more traditions will come from these family favorites, including a big deal out of the initial presentation of the books. I’m thinking beginning with a Hogwarts letter and ending with a Great Hall feast.
Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan
I don’t even remember what the specific prayer was, but I was inspired by a prayer that Corrigan’s friend who passed away used to say with her family over their meals. “Thank you for the food in front of us, the roof above us, and the love all around us.”