In the December issue of Brave Wings, we have uplifting and empowering blogs by Michael Lamptey, Amy Henry, Rachel Thompson, and Kyrian Lyndon. Michael tells us a story about kindness and authenticity in his native city of Accra in Ghana. Amy ponders coping with fate, tragedy, and ultimate triumph. Rachel shares her past battle with depression. Kyrian talks about surviving people, life and madness.

Also in this issue, we’ve interviewed much-in-demand editor, David Antrobus, who juggles both editing and writing with brilliance. We have a funny opinion piece by the always clever and endearing, James Gault.

In this particular blog, we hope you will enjoy our Dickens’ Christmas slideshow, a delightful poem by E.E. Cummings, and a couple of excellent book recommendations made by our contributors.

Click HOME to enjoy the rest of the blogs!

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Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never

tires, and a touch that never hurts.—Charles Dickens

Little Tree 

by E.E. Cummings

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

see i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

look the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms

and i’ll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy…

Some book recommendations for the month from our contributors:

4 3 2 1: A Novel by Paul Auster

* * * Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize * * *

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington PostThe New York Times Book Review, 

NPR, The Globe and MailKirkus ReviewsHuffington Post, and The Spectator UK

“An epic bildungsroman . . . . Original and complex . . . . monumental assemblage of competing and complementary fictions, a novel that contains multitudes.”—Tom PerrottaThe New York Times Book Review

“A stunningly ambitious novel, and a pleasure to read. . . . An incredibly moving, true journey.”NPR

New York Times Bestseller, Los Angeles Times Bestseller, Boston Globe Bestseller, National Indiebound Bestseller

Paul Auster’s greatest, most heartbreaking and satisfying novel—a sweeping and surprising story of birthright and possibility, of love and of life itself.

Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson’s pleasures and ache from each Ferguson’s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson’s life rushes on.

As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.

Yella Gal: Queen of the Montclair by Linda M. White

Welcome to Saint Augustine, Florida – 1897! The town is a top winter destination thanks to its large resorts such as Flagler’s Ponce de Leon and Alcazar, an assortment of other smaller hotels and inns, its pleasant temperate weather and proximity to the sea. Birdie Fairfax is a soft-spoken, multi-ethnic young woman who has just been hired on at the new Montclair hotel. Despite her heritage, Birdie has always felt like an outsider among the whites, blacks and even the Dominicans in her family as well as in society. Only the racially colorblind Newt Phillips, a white gardener at the Montclair, truly loves and accepts Birdie for who she is. Unfortunately, social convention as well as the law in the South prohibit them from expressing their love openly and marrying, which eventually brings tragedy and heartbreak. Birdie’s talents at sewing and needlework will facilitate her rise through the ranks in the Montclair and will help her survive the various hardships and adversities she’ll face over the ensuing decades. Set against the opulent and colorful background of the Montclair, follow the lives of Birdie and her friends as they laugh, cry, dream and grow over the years.

Feature photo by Annie Spratt

Dickens’ Village photos by Kevin Dooley

A Christmas Carol – West of Ireland by R. Crap Mariner

Ebeneezer Scrooge photos in Macy’s Christmas Display by Jim, the Photographer

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