There is a certain wonderment in Christmas. A magic in celebrating this holiday in the darkest days of winter, snow preferable but not essential. I have always loved Christmas and the stories and songs that revolve around it.
Living in New Zealand and celebrating Christmas in the summer has required quite an adjustment. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to singing Christmas songs around the BBQ and having a pre-present swim at the beach while waiting for Santa to arrive on a surfboard. And then, to cap it off, waiting until it is dark enough to see the Christmas lights adorning people’s homes. That happens after 10pm.
For New Zealanders, this is Christmas. For Americans living in New Zealand this is…um…not quite Christmas. Give me sleigh bells and sunsets by 5pm and heck, give me Christmas decorations on every street corner and Christmas carols in the mall.
One year I decided to take the Christmas Spirit into my own hands. I missed it. So I started drawing. And drawing. And drawing until my colored pencils were stubs. I decided to design and draw Christmas cards. When my dad saw the first image, a young figure entering a forest lighted by the Christmas star, he said, “Oh, it’s a journey.” I looked at that picture and realized he was right. That cloaked figure was on a journey. This image was only one of what should become many. But what journey? And where would it lead her?
My journey in creating The Quiet Path was underway. That original drawing evolved into a children’s wordless Christmas picture book—a series of thirteen drawings that follow the child as she follows the Christmas star.
I worked on The Quiet Path over the New Zealand winter months, June, July, August. It was cold and fell dark early. I cranked up the Christmas music and drew, bringing to life a new kind of Christmas story, one with a surprise ending that I hesitate to reveal. Those months felt more like Christmas to me than any other summertime Christmas I have spent in New Zealand.
I used Prismacolor colored pencils. I love the softness of the lead that allowed me to really burnish the images, to really create a dense and vibrant color. I drew on watercolor paper. I like the sturdiness of it.
When I finished The Quiet Path a friend saw it and seemed truly moved by the simple story. He told me that he wanted to help the world see this story and he offered to help me publish it as a Kindle version e-book on Amazon. The Quiet Path is now available for download. You can read it on a Kindle or a Kindle Fire. Or you can download the Kindle app onto an iPad or smartphone or aMac and read it there.
Please enjoy The Quiet Path with your children and your family and be sure to drop m a line and let me know if it evokes in you the true Christmas spirit.