Hello everybody! For today’s second post, we have the wonderful Rachel Delahaye, who has written about the new festive traditions she thinks her characters might create. Onto the post!
If my characters were going to bring about a new festive tradition, what would it be?
Mort the Meek
This is easy. Mort would begin the tradition of performing acts of kindness during the festive season. He would probably struggle to convince the citizens of Brutalia to do the same, seeing as so very few of them understand what kindness is. Thoughtful acts in a lawless environment can be a bit of a conundrum: would kindness be polishing his mother’s cutlery ready for throwing at the neighbours, or hiding the forks to stop her getting into a neighbourhood brawl in the first place? But then, she LOVES having a ding-dong with the neighbours! SIGH. Perhaps Kind Time will just be small moments to melt the edges of those cold hearts and promote a feeling of togetherness: joining in a song about stomping in the sewers, sharing a rotten potato pie, or complimenting someone on their new hair style (even if does look like somewhere sea-urchins go to die). The point is: it doesn’t take much to be kind. And Mort would hope that every small act would be a big step towards changing the world for the better.
The King from Mort the Meek
Usually it’s the Queen who does all the talking, so I’m going to let the King have his moment in the spotlight. The long-suffering King is hardly a hero, but although he turns a blind eye to the suffering of his people, he has big melty eyes for his Queen. He loves her with all his might. If only the feeling were reciprocated… Poor love-struck King! So his tradition is a very much one of self-interest: a day to appreciate the people who appreciate you. He’s invented this as a way to force his Queen to spend twenty-four hours considering his feelings. Appreciate Me Day could involve refraining from insults and belittling, leaving the toilet in the state you found it, not purposely undercooking chicken, and definitely not crushing your favourite pet cockroach because you like the crunch it makes under your foot. Small things to ask in return for a lifetime of devotion.
Cam Solomon, from Day of the Whale
As the story ends on a note of hope, Cam would want to carry this sentiment forward – involving community, cooperation and democracy, of course. So, during the festive season he would declare one day ‘Whalewish’: a day when every citizen of Cetacea is encouraged to write down a suggestion of how society on the island could be improved, with every comment to be carefully considered and voted on in the New Year. Whether it be innovations for cleaning the seas, better division of labour or simply fresh recipes for the Canteen, there’s no such thing as a bad idea for a new beginning. So long as freedom, truth and wisdom are at the heart of every decision.
Banjo, from Day of the Whale
Banjo would definitely start the tradition of story-telling. For him, stories are the building blocks of belonging – and (as Gavi Duncan, a Darkinjung elder told me), stories are for everyone. Indeed, they are gifts: parcels of history and maps through landscapes and existence; shots of inspiration and shows for entertainment; verbal decorations that brighten life and thoughtful packages that heal and mend. Banjo knows this and he would declare Storyshare a day of no work, only connection. This can be done by passing stories to neighbour or within a group, during meal time or sitting round the campfire at night as the stars explode above. This would be Banjo’s tradition.
Fliss, from the Little Animal Rescue Books
Fliss wants to be a vet, and rescuing animals in need is her passion. Her festive tradition would be to have a Festive Rescue Day. She would stock the kitchen with all the goodies any creature could want or need and fill the rooms in her house with soft beds. There would be hay in the garden and bird perches in the hallway, cosy dens in the bedrooms and rugs by the fire. It would be an open-to-all animal hotel for waifs and strays. Although she’d probably have to think carefully about putting the foxes near the chickens, or the owls near the mice, or the … yes, it would be complicated. But Fliss is no stranger to tricky situations, and she’s extremely resourceful. She would definitely find a way to make this fur-and-feather hostel a success, and she would encourage everyone to do the same, so that creatures great and small have a place of safety during the coldest, longest nights.
Maxine, from Don’t Pet The Plants
Maxine isn’t allowed a pet. It’s a solid NO. But she wants something living to look after… Aha, there is something her parents will allow… Before long, she is filling her room with plants. Only, plants have as many needs as some pets, and she must set about learning everything there is to know. After her experience, Maxine would invent the tradition of giving a stranger a plant with instructions on how to keep it alive. Plantmas represents selflessness; a sweet way to concentrate on something other than yourself. Keeping it alive, watching it grow, understanding that the oxygen it gives and the carbon dioxide it takes creates the perfect symbiotic relationship between humankind and the planet… It’s the perfect gift of ‘giving and receiving’.
Have a great festive season, everyone. Keep appreciating and caring – and keep telling stories.
Thank you so much for reading! What festive tradition would you invent, if you could? Which of Rachel’s do you like best? And have you read her books? I’d love to have a chat in the comments!
Speak very soon,