Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eight Days

Wow - this is a hard question for me. First off, because I'm a gentile - actually I don't know if I'm a gentile, I hear that term bandied about a lot but I think it actually refers to people who live in Europe.

At any rate I'm a Christian and the only thing I really know about this holiday is Adam Sandler wrote a great song about it and as a kid my best friend was Jewish and he celebrated it. Now, we did do a sort of cultural exchange - I traded him some Easter Eggs for Matzah - you may think he got the better end of that deal but that flat saltine cracker like bread tastes pretty good after days of nothing but sugar. But that was actually at Easter and Passover

So not knowing much about this week's question I did what any good writer does - I looked to see what other people wrote - I mean I researched.

Um hmm... uh huh... okay... Well that was no help - something about vampires singing a Christmas song (kinda catchy Jeannie - you might want to talk to Adam Sandler's people) and uhh, well... I'm not even sure how describe Josh's entry.

Okay so that didn't work. Next writer resource after trying to borrow from your fellow scribes: Wikipedia - which by the way, they need money. You guys know we're all screwed if that site goes down so everyone needs to pony up a few bucks.

Once arriving at Wikipedia I realized problem one - I don't even know how to spell Hannukah/Chanukah. Seriously, its almost like a Hawaiian word except instead of all vowels its all consonants.

Alright figuerd it out... um hmm... okay... So the Festival of Lights aka Hanukkah began in 165 BCE after the overthrow of a guy named Antiochus who tried to outlaw Judaism in... Israel - or as it was called at the time Judah. Okay I have to read on but... I'm thinking this was a bad idea. Yep...yep there it is, he was quickly overthrown and the Temple taken back into Jewish hands.

And then something wonderful happened - discovering that all the oil for the lamps had been desecrated except for enough to keep the menorah lit for one night. But that the oil then burned for eight straight days. It was declared a miracle and from then on the eight days was celebrated as the Festival of Lights.

Pretty cool. But none of this tells me what kind of presents my characters should be getting. I do remember my friend getting gifts including a dreidel . I thought it was fun to spin it but I'm not sure that is going to help any of my characters. Although the dreidel is imprinted with Hebrew letters on each side that stand for the phrase - "A great miracle happened there" and in thrillers like mine, the characters are often in need of a miracle. Though I don't think a scene where guys are chasing them with machine guns down an alley would end well if they stopped to spin the dreidel - and also there is no mention of the dreidel creating miracles just commemorating one, so perhaps not.

But what do they need? Well, y people often need guns. Lots of them. But is it any more right to ask for a UZI submachine gun on Hanukkah than it is to ask for a Strum and Ruger Mini 14 on Christmas? I'm thinking not but then this is the kind of stuff my people need.

Then again, maybe there is one more thing they could use. One thing we can all share - Peace on Earth. Maybe if we all ask for it, in every language, religion and nation it might finally actually happen. I know that sounds corny - but we should still keep asking.

Happy Hanukkah everyone.


Kelli Stanley said...

We should never stop asking--or trying to achieve it! Thanks, Graham. :)

P.S. Any Uzis under your tree this year? ;)

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Corny or not, I'll ask too. Let's have peace on Earth. And I don't care what holiday it comes for, Hannukah, Christmas, Arbor Day.

What about a gift card to Mercenaries R Us? That might fit into a steel-toed stocking!

Nice post, Graham!

Reece said...

Good post, Graham! I'll join in that wish for peace on Earth -- although getting it might put us crime/mystery/thriller writers out of business!

Graham Brown said...

Hey guys - no Uzi's for me this year, nor gift cards to Merc's R Us - I must have been very bad.

Reece - you might be right - on the otherhand it might be like Westerns - no one rides around on horses shooting guns anymore but we all love to read about them.

ALl the best. Graham