I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Friday, December 03, 2010

waiting for Krampus at the Christmas Village


We went to the Christmas Village at City Hall and had roasted hazelnuts and a nice conversation with a merchant who was also a Sufi mystic, and author of a book called Journey Through Ten Thousand Veils. The mystic, divining my pessimistic view of human nature, urged me not to grumble, but to replace what is bad with what is better--which she said was a paraphrase from Islamic scripture. I resisted enlightenment--it may be better to light a single candle, but it is easier and sometimes truer to curse darkness. Still, I was nearly persuaded by the mystic's demeanor, which was serene and powerful. I have to entertain the notion that some creeds may be more than just self-delusion when I meet someone who genuinely appears to have risen above angst, by means of belief--

But then I remind myself that personality is powerful, and charisma alone should not persuade a curmudgeon from his saturnine outlook. When will the good forces in the universe desist from sending their emissaries of light after me?

I kept scanning the Christmas Village for Krampus, Santa's European companion and diabolical shadow, who is becoming my favorite part of the Yuletide. (Our local, Pennsylvania Dutch Krampus is Belsnickel, who needs a better publicist). Rattling his chains at the pious, flicking his tail at sentimentality, and birching the extravagant, Krampus is the antidote for the more sickening aspects of the season. This helpful video explains Krampus with a song, this one will give you nightmares, and in this one the Krampi are mainly interested in birching strapping guys...

(Some of the shots in that last Krampus clip suggest a "running of the Krampus," similar to what happens in Pamplona with the bulls. This would be a great tradition for Philadelphia to adopt, and if something like that takes off, you heard it here first.)

The Christmas Village made us feel like we were at a real christkindlmarkt, and I plan to go again--despite the lack of a Krampus sighting, and not being able to get so much as a Krampus ornament. (Krampus's day is December 5th, so Sunday may be a good day to return). I plan to console myself with wearing a Krampus T-shirt as part of my annual quest to find a little of the true, ancient, dark, spooky Yuletide duende--most of which, in the U.S. at least, gets squashed beneath one of Santa's immense buttocks.

durham museum, carboro, boylan soda 109

Though, now that I think of it, a Krampus shirt may be unnecessary if you keep the spirit of Krampus alive in your heart all year.

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