Is It Too Early to Push the Yuletide Storytelling Angle?

There’s a yearly tradition of complaining about how — fast on the heels of Halloween — retail stores start pushing Christmas merchandise and playing Christmas music. I get why it’s annoying, too. At least, wait until National Gingerbread Cookie Day! (And why isn’t that tasty holiday an international thing, am I right?)

I don’t want to repeat the same sort of mistake by promoting this week’s episode of Tales Told When the Windows Rattle as part of my effort to revitalize the tradition of telling winter tales and ghost stories around Christmas. Thus, I’m in a quandary of the worst kind: a veritable and verifiable quandary! Should I promote this episode as the second Vera Van Slyke ghostly mystery featured on the series? Is there more appeal in the fact that it’s set is on Cape Cod? The title, “An Unanchored Man,” refers to a crusty sea captain, which is probably redundant because aren’t all sea captains crusty? I guess those are all rather nice, but would they inspire anyone to listen to my reading of this seaside ghost story?

The ghostly phenomenon turns out to be pretty unusual! But if I play up that angle, I’ll creep toward giving away the big reveal. One must never give away one’s big reveal.

Vera Van Slyke (1868-1941) and Ludmila “Lida” Bergson (1882-1958), née Prášilová, a.k.a. Lucille Parsell

Well, all I can think to say is that, with this episode, Season One of Tales Told is halfway over. My earlier readings, including the stories by Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allan Poe, remain in place. In fact, the master plan is to have all ten readings uploaded so that folks can pick and choose what they want to hear once the Yuletide season is upon us.

In the meantime, though, feel free to wander through the Tales Told rec room at this site. You can choose the video or the audio-only version, and even download the latter to transfer to your iPod. (Does anyone still have an iPod? Why, yes, thank you — I still have an iPod!) If you’re more of a YouTubular person, the videos are also there, and I hope you think long and hard about subscribing to the Tales Told channel.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to start making plans for National Gingerbread Cookie Day.

— Tim

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