Friday, February 10, 2017

My Swedish Tomte

I’ve wanted to write a short story with a Christmas theme for quite some time. The closest I came was starting a fairy tale about a tomte stuck in a December snowstorm. It didn’t get very far. For one reason—I couldn’t decide if it was meant for children or adults. I left it be.

When I went back to the tomte tale for another rewrite, I gave my little man more background and Swedish atmosphere. It still wasn’t what I wanted. I left it alone again.

Last December 17th, I was set up to sign books at the Colony Store’s Customer Appreciation Day Sale. Unfortunately, the weather took a turn to the wintery side and the usual crowds of discount shoppers didn’t materialize, so I had some extra time on my hands. While perusing the Colony Store for gifts, I came to a colorful display of the bearded little creatures from Swedish folklore—Jultomten. Lots of them. More than I’d ever seen in the past. It was a delightful treat. I picked up a small handout next to the display that explained the background, history, and references in literature of the little folks.

I have five of Sven Nordqvist’s wonderfully illustrated books in my collection, so his pint-sized tomten were the ones most familiar to me up to that point.

That little handout became quite useful for the next few rewrites of my story and I do believe I finally have my Christmas Story. It’s well ahead of the next Christmas season, but now was the time to get it done.

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