Yes, Virginia, there is…

Yesterday, or at some point before December 25th, you may have been reminded of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s 1897 letter to The Sun, a New York newspaper.  Her father told her that if she saw that there is a Santa Claus in that paper, then it was so.  Previously, her friends had told her that there was no Santa Claus.  She wrote a four sentence letter to the editor, and the paper’s response became a pivotal reminder of the essence of this Holiday Season.

At aaduna we still believe in inquiry, joy, discovery, belief, faith, imagination, creativity and embracing those emotions that cannot be manifested in a concrete shape right in front of your eyes.  aaduna takes you on a journey where you explore the nooks and crannies of your mind; experience feelings that were lying dormant waiting for a jolt of inspiration to spring those thoughts into life, and help motivate you to discover your creative skills and manifest them for others to observe and enjoy.

Here are snippets from the work of aaduna contributors from our new issue coming at you in a few days: 

Laurel Speck (photo provided)

Laurel Speck’s non-fiction piece, “My First Love” unfolds with a youthful exuberance and serves as testimony how first loves never dissipate.  Here is how her story opens,

Lullabies sung by my mother’s magnificent voice coaxed me to sleep when I was a young child. I grew up hearing the untrained, yet impassioned, voices of my family around the house as someone played piano, cooked dinner, or sat at the computer. All three of my older sisters practiced the piano or guitar at one point in their lives, and participated in one of the choirs at school. Needless to say, I fell in love with Music at a young age.

Janice Winkler (photo provided)

Janice Winkler does not settle for bringing aaduna one gift, but she finagled two since she has work in the fiction, as well as non-fiction genres.  What a holiday present!  Here are snippets from “My date with a deer,” her fiction piece followed by an excerpt from “What if I lost my right hand?” her creative non-fiction story.

            The Open Season had broken out like the plague it is. Shots rebounded in the wind. I was walking through the woods, looking downward, checking for snakes and spiders. I had read a pamphlet on how to react after a snake bite: you have to rush to the hospital, what a surprise!

There I was, eighteen with a crossing-borders-permission signed by my parents and a district attorney, strolling in the unfamiliar woods —no, wandering actually, had no aims (in life) or direction —, when I saw him. He had appeared out of nowhere and was only a meter away. I hadn’t heard him coming. He probably had been super cautious not to stomp his hooves against the springy grass and the soil beneath. We froze and stared at each other. I, with teenage pimples, he with white dots gracing his powerful brown-furred body.           



And they would feel sad and sorry for me, and they would all look at me as if I were a stray cat caught in a killer storm, and I would feel angry and sorry for them for not understanding how happy I am for having lost my right hand, for having gotten, out of the blue, the most amazing opportunity to exercise my left hand, asleep for such a long time, and to exercise my brains and to become more original, more creative from the lack of my right hand which is now a silky stump.

Jonathan Beale (photo provided)

Jonathan Beale, an internationally recognized poet, is a gentle and caring soul.  You can feel that in his work and see that in his photos.  He has two poems in the forthcoming aaduna issue.  Here is a brief excerpt from “Lost alone at night.”

Finding hollow space – invisible pressure

On my head - all ideas extricated

Face up: face out against the window –

That chill air, that glass holds so well.

Night in the park among the sculptures

Raphael Chim (photo provided)

Raphael Chim is, well, Raphael Chim.  No pretense. Honest. Willing to explore terrains in his writing that challenge us.  Here is an excerpt from his work, “A Highly Animated Segment,”

            We both knew we were at once lying and confessing to one another. It was the first time I realized it was possible, despite all the Hegel I had read, how both must coexist, how one must stem from the other, and how their reunion was at once destructive and constructive. The synthesis of our voices ended in silence, and neither of us for a brief moment could bring ourselves to say anything.

            Misaki Misaki said at last, “I’ve been reading a book. Do you want to hear about it?”



Back in the day, when I lived in Toronto, Canada, the day after Christmas was another holiday called Boxing Day. Here is an explanation from the “TIME” blog posting: 

The best clue to Boxing Day's origins can be found in the song "Good King Wenceslas." According to the Christmas carol, Wenceslas, who was Duke of Bohemia in the early 10th century, was surveying his land on St. Stephen's Day — Dec. 26 — when he saw a poor man gathering wood in the middle of a snowstorm. Moved, the King gathered up surplus food and wine and carried them through the blizzard to the peasant's door. The alms-giving tradition has always been closely associated with the Christmas season — hence the canned-food drives and Salvation Army Santas that pepper our neighborhoods during the winter — but King Wenceslas' good deed came the day after Christmas, when the English poor received most of their charity.

King Wenceslas didn't start Boxing Day, but the Church of England might have. During Advent, Anglican parishes displayed a box into which churchgoers put their monetary donations. On the day after Christmas, the boxes were broken open and their contents distributed among the poor, thus giving rise to the term Boxing Day. Maybe.

But wait: there's another possible story about the holiday's origin. The day after Christmas was also the traditional day on which the aristocracy distributed presents (boxes) to servants and employees — a sort of institutionalized Christmas-bonus party. The servants returned home, opened their boxes and had a second Christmas on what became known as Boxing Day.

So which version is correct? Well, both. Or neither. No one, it seems, is really sure. Both the church boxes and the servant presents definitely existed, although historians disagree on which practice inspired the holiday. But Boxing Day's origins aren't especially important to modern-day Brits — Britain isn't known for its religious fervor, and few people can afford to have servants anymore, anyway. Today's Boxing Day festivities have very little to do with charity. Instead, they revolve around food, football (soccer), visits from friends, food and drinking at the pub.

Boxing Day has been a national holiday in England, Wales, Ireland and Canada since 1871.

So enjoy the aaduna contributors’ excerpts as we recognize “Boxing Day.”

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aaduna - a timeless exploration into words and images - is a globally read, multi-cultural, and diverse online literary and visual arts journal established in 2010.  Visit us at where we put measurable actions to our words.

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