Budding Writer, 1978: The night before Christmas

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Snow-capped Mt. Mansfield as seen from South Hero, Vermont, December 23,2021. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

About this series: I revisited my journals from my first year as a freelance writer and found they told a story of their own. In this series I get the rare opportunity to give myself and other writers career advice with nearly 50 years of hindsight. Enjoy!

I started my journal entry for Christmas Eve, 1978, with a trite-but-true riff on Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Doesn’t everyone?

It was not worth repeating here, so don’t force me to. I’m even reluctant to share this quote, which comes on a bit strong. But after all, it was Christmas, so give a young writer a little leeway and let him indulge himself.

I read today in the paper the story of a woman who waits up every year for Santa Claus. It seems he needs her as much as the other way around. And she’s never been disappointed.

In a way, she is right. For somehow, on that one day of the year, somehow, men seem to know the meaning of peace on earth, and of love for one another, and of magic for children of all ages. May I live to help bring this peace, love, magic, joy, and Glory of the Lord to my fellow men throughout the full spread of many years to come. What have I to give the Lord? My mind and my words, perhaps. May I use them to God’s glory and the betterment of men.

Howard W. Fielding, “Journal,” 24 December 1978

It’s a tall order, but these things are done in small steps. For now, let me with you and yours a merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful new year!

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