‘The Night Before Christmas’ and mindful creativity

Published 11:05 am Monday, December 10, 2018

Whether you are into, trying to escape from or searching your feelings about the holiday season, next week, the library has a couple of programs to get you into the holiday groove and keep you feeling merry.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, I’ll be leading the December evening reading group’s discussion of Clement Clark Moore’s epic (in terms of influence, not length) “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” or “The Night Before Christmas.”

Those 28 rhymed couplets are some of the most unforgettable and influential lines of verse ever written.

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What is it about that poem that brings people back to it year after year, generation after generation now for 197 years?

It appeared at a time (1822) when the celebration of Christmas was changing from a public to a domestic holiday, and the poems motifs and setting created a template for how American society thought about Christmas.

I’ll use the first 15 minutes of the program to reveal the cultural background of the poem and talk about a group of people who helped shape its ideas and images, including Santa.

After that, we’ll discuss why we love the poem and what it means to us, because it is an integral part of so many Christmas memories, and that’s where the fun is.

“The Night before Christmas” has been illustrated by just about every famous illustrator of the past two centuries.

If you have a favorite edition, bring it along.

If you need a copy of the poem, you can pick one up at the circulation desk. Please register to attend.

At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, library ambassador and all-star elf Lisa Johns presents a mixed media workshop called “Leaving Your Mark.”

In a technology-driven world, we often move from one thing to the next, one place to the next, and never really slow down to find that one place where quiet and creativity meet.

Lisa’s workshop is an exercise in writing and painting, in creativity and in finding the quiet in our busy worlds.

Participants will work together to create a collage that will be displayed in the library.

This workshop is limited to 12 adults over the age of 18.

Lisa insists all participants must turn off their cell phones before they enter the workshop, or better yet, that they leave their cell phones in their vehicles. Anyone who has a cell phone go off during the workshop will be asked to leave.

One of the purposes of the workshop is to give participants some space from the constant demands of digital devices. Listen to yourself and not for your phone. What a lovely idea. Santa Claus likes it.

If you have questions about the reading group or the workshop, call the library at 744-5661, ext. 110.

Other events next week:

— At 11 a.m. Monday, Pageturner’s book group discusses “Dear Mrs. Bird,” by A.J. Pearce, a charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist. A warm,

funny and enormously moving story for fans of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” and “Lilac Girls.” Books are available at the circulation desk.

— At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Internet 2, Learn more efficient ways to search, how to print, copy information from the web and paste in a Word document.

— At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Kentucky Picture Show presents a 2018 film about a father and his 13-year-old daughter who are living an ideal existence in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, when a small mistake derails their lives forever. Rated PG.

— At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jeff Gurnee presents peerless Trivia puzzlers at the Engine House Pizza Pub.

— At 10 a.m. Friday, Write Local meets for elite critiques.

— From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Outside the Lines Adult coloring, a group more sparkling than the courthouse Christmas tree.

Have a very merry week.

John Maruskin is director of adult services at the Clark County Public library. He can be reached at john.clarkbooks@gmail.com.