I can just hear everybody going "Ga-what-now?" It's Latin, it's pronounced "gow-DAY-tay", and it's the plural command form of the verb "to rejoice". So everybody, be happy! In Roman Catholicism, it's the name given to the third Sunday of Advent, on which the priest wears pink robes and we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath.
Technically, the candle and robes are rose, but it's fun to tease the priest by calling them pink. Fortunately most priests I've known have active senses of humor. However, having said that, I'm also referencing "Gaudete" today as the title of a Christmas carol, covered by Celtic Thunder on their album "Christmas Voices".
My enjoyment of Celtic Thunder's music should not in any way surprise you, O readers, especially not if you've been around long enough to remember what sparked the ideas that became A Widow in Waiting. Thus, "Gaudete" is the perfect lead-in to today's post, because with its style and full Latin text, it probably existed in 1786.
Now granted, I've taken quite a few liberties with the musical styles and songs I've used in the Chronicles of Glenscar, but when it's not directly related to my source material, I try to stay period-appropriate. This can be a challenge; it's surprising how many songs we consider "traditional" date back only to the nineteenth century.
This is especially true of Christmas carols, because the modern celebration of Christmas is just that: modern. Christmas has been a hotly debated holiday long before our time, as to whether it should be celebrated quietly as a religious date, or boisterously as a time of fun and good cheer, or even with some elements of both.
Whichever category you fall into, though, it's an inescapable fact that most of the Christmas carols people like best today -- like "Joy to the World", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", and "Silent Night" -- weren't written until well after the time I'm depicting in the Chronicles. What's an author to do?
I did come up with a few strokes of luck. "O Come All Ye Faithful", with its original Latin text of "Adeste fideles", is within my time period, as is the French "Noel nouvelet", often translated as "Sing We Now of Christmas". Also, I placed Glenscar in County Wexford, Ireland, before recalling the existence of the "Wexford Carol".
Now, with "Gaudete", I've got yet another piece of the sounds which might well have filled the air in Christmas 1786. What will I do with these sounds? What I always do... write stories around them. Specifically, this time, I plan to do some more explaining of a plot point which was purposefully not covered in A Widow in Waiting.
Anyone who's read Widow will remember the Christmas dream-sequence, in which Eleanor faces and defeats an old enemy, with John's help, and they get to spend Christmas Eve night together. John mentions in passing that he shouldn't be able to share a dream this way, that someone has given him extra magical power to do so.
The identity of that "someone", where the power came from, and why it was passed along as it was, all will be central to the Christmas scenes in Playing with Fire, and the soundtrack to which I write one of those scenes will be "Gaudete". After all, the enemy in the Chronicles is an entity of evil. What better way to fight it than with joy?
All of which is a really long and roundabout way to say that yes, I am working on Playing with Fire once more. I'm still iffy about Chapter Nine, and a couple of scenes earlier on will need to be revamped now that I've done a little more research, but I started rereading and the story drew me back into it. So yes, Fire is burning again!
This weekend may be a bit different when it comes to blogging, as I will have far more free time on Saturday than on Sunday (our Lessons and Carols concert is going to be huge. Here's hoping it's good!). Thanks so very much to everyone who has purchased one of my originals lately. Your contributions really do help, every one.
Thanks also for reading, and for responding if you happen to feel moved to do so! I'll always be a fan fiction author at heart -- the enjoyment my readers get from my work is far, far more important to me than any monetary gain I may make, and I hope that comes through clearly. Enjoy the latter half of the week. More from me on Saturday!