Christmas Carols Make Me Feel Stabby, and Other News for December

Quill fans, you know me. Every year, around this time, I remind you of my rabid dedication to the holiday season with a blog post full of holiday-themed nostalgia. But friends, I have a confession. All is not twinkle-lights and (finally seasonally appropriate!) peppermint mochas.

I heard my first Christmas carol yesterday, and it made me feel … well, rather stabby, it must be said.

jousting knights

Me, whenever I hear Christmas music.

This auditory assault registered faintly at first, deadened by other distractions. It took a moment for me to realize what I was feeling was not good cheer but its exact opposite. The emotion quickly turned into surprise and slight shame. How could this be? How could a hot chocolate swilling, sugar cookie baking, snowflake watching, card-carrying Christmas addict not enjoy the soundtrack of the season?

I have since performed some soul-searching, and have come up with several explanations, including the unrelenting repetition of these songs on the radio beginning December 1, as well as the unconscious association of said songs with periods of acute stress AKA holiday shopping at the mall. But I’m wondering now if one of the reasons I dislike Christmas music so much is that it offends my literary tastes.


What is music if not poetry? But the poetry that I like is not cutesy couplets ending with uninspired rhymes. It’s not clichéd images and predictable sentiments covered by a glossy veneer of saccharine-sweet merriment. The poetry I like is more nuanced, more real. It can still be warm and cozy, inspire nostalgic reminiscence, evoke feelings of love and laughter. But for me, a little originality, a little character are needed to bring those feelings to life.

And so, a proposal: instead of Christmas carollers in period costume, send round the poets to spread joy. I’d pay to listen to that!


What’s happening this month…


The sound you hear? That’s the presses a-humming! This month, you’ll be treated to Triptych, P. K. Page’s short stories. Also on the press is the latest issue of the Devil’s Artisan, number 81. I’ve just seen it, and it looks amazing!

In Toronto.

The Bound Book Arts Fair is a brand new book fair that will be held on December 2 at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. Meant to fill the gap in the month of December left by the end of the OCAD U Book Arts Fair, this event will feature books, prints, broadsides, cards and other bookish delights.

Check out the visual art of Quill friends Joe Rosenblatt (The Bird in the Stillness) and Leon Rooke (The April Poems) at yumart’s 5th Annual Holiday Salon. Get some culture this holiday season! The exhibition runs December 2 to 23.

Also, catch PQL author Shane Neilson reading from his book of poetry, Dysphoria, at knife | fork | book’s upcoming reading. He will join Chris Banks, Cornelia Hoogland and Jim Johnstone at the Orbital Arts Gallery on December 7.

In the World.

December 14 is Roast Chestnuts Day. I have never consumed a roast chestnut before, but I imagine that it is festive and delightful.

A Rogues' Crossword Puzzle
December 21 is Crossword Puzzle Day. Test your mental muscles. We have a crossword of our own over on the Devil’s Artisan if you’re game.

And finally, December 30 is Bacon Day. Everyone’s favourite holiday. Unless you’re a pig. Or a vegetarian. Or keep kosher. OK, so basically, it is the favourite holiday of a subset of the population that is none of those things.


From the porcupette’s corner.

I’m not going to beat around the bush. You’ve made it this far through all my blathering thus far, so you totally deserve it. I’ll tell you what you really want to know.

Announcing the Porcupine’s Quill’s Holiday Giveaway!

We have four—count ’em, four!—great giveaways planned for the month of December. Giveaways will be announced on Tuesdays and the prizes vary each week, so be sure to check in and see if the week’s giveaway is of interest to you. I highly recommend signing up for our handy dandy newsletter so you don’t miss an announcement.


PortraitThank you so much for taking time out of your hectic schedule to see what’s new with the Porcupine’s Quill. Keep calm, keep warm, and keep reading!

All the best,Steph

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.