At Erudite Scribe Writing Editing and Publishing, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and the very best for the holiday season. We look forward to being of service to our clients all over the world in the coming year, 2013.
For Christmas reading, Erudite Scribe recommends the Irish poet Paul Durcan’s Christmas Day (Harvill Press, London, 1996) http://literature.britishcouncil.org/paul-durcan. Erudite Scribe had the pleasure of meeting the poet, and reading with him on the same bill, at the Queensland Poetry Festival in 2007. Throughout this book, a work of mourning for loves gained and lost, Durcan impresses with his capacity to face the bleakest winter day with warmth, compassion and self-deprecatory humour, as in these lines that conclude the first section:
‘At Holy Communion
I pour hot coffee from my flask –
Bewley’s Medium Roast For Filters –
Into my mug inscribed PAUL.
It was a nun in Rome
Gave me a mug with my name.
I swallow it with my eyes closed.
“Do this in commemoration of me.”‘
While in the northern hemisphere it is Winter, and in many places, icy winds are blowing, and the snow is beginning to fall, here in Australia we are in the midst of Summer, sweltering in the heat. Today, December 21st, is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the Australian year. All that aside, Erudite Scribe once was caught in a blizzard on New Year’s Days, hiking along the shores of Lake St Clair in northern Tasmania.
Another reason to celebrate this day is that it is the first day of the Hindu festival Pancha Ganapati http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancha_Ganapati. This Winter Solstice festival continues until 25th December, the same day as Christmas, not by co-incidence, but because when Ancient Rome was Christianised, Christmas replaced the pagan Winter Solstice Festival, the Saturnalia http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/saturnalia/a/saturnalia.htm. To all authors, poets, teachers, readers and lovers of writing, Pancha Ganapati should be a festival of special signifance, because it celebrates Ganesh, the elephant-headed god who is the patron of writing, the god of all scribes, and also the guardian of learning and of culture.