Early December is a turbulent time. Looking back at the historical record it’s marked that a lot of wars and invasions have been initiated in December, giving whole swathes of people a miserable existence over the so-called festive season.
What’s that about? Is it just man’s innate inability to learn from past mistakes? But it can’t be that or the human race would not have progressed so far. Is it that we have a tendency to put idiots in positions of power? Could be, but why?
Governance is no easy task. Maybe it’s that governing whole countries is too arduous, energy-sapping and thankless for anyone with their wits about them to take on. Thus the shysters and the ignorant rush in to fill the gap. People with integrity sometimes cry that enough is enough and dive in to do their bit, but it seems the tide of ignorance and corruption runs too high. It simply overwhelms anyone who genuinely tries to stop it. Just look back over the dirty tricks campaigns that have been waged against people, and see how many are shown by history to have been absolutely right.
What I really wanted to find in the historical record was a woman in the creative arts doing something special at this time of year. I found Margaret Hughes. She was an actress who played Desdemona at the Vere Street theatre in December 1660. This makes her possibly the first professional actress to appear on stage in England. Quite a landmark.
[Some sources quote Ms Norris as being the woman who played this role. I don’t know if Margaret Hughes and Ms Norris are one and the same, it seems unlikely, but the Ms Norris quotes all seemed to emanate from a single source that was itself unevidenced, so on the grounds that repeating something a lot of times does not make it true, I’m sticking with Margaret Hughes]
One of my short stories has been recorded for audio release. That’s a huge December landmark for me, even though it won’t make a ripple on the world in general. The bit at the end is going say - and please forgive the uncertainty here; I haven’t heard it yet - something like this:
The 93-E Contradiction written by Melodie Trudeaux, read by Penelope McDonald. Post production by Simon Woolcott. Executive producer Dan Grubb. A Red Room production for Fantastic Books Audio.
Last word to Alan Wakeman who sums up life so concisely in his wonderful Hamun & Giben:
“Truly life is a wonderful mystery,” said Hamun as he contemplated the early morning sun. “Aren’t you sometimes overcome with admiration for it?”
“I can’t think about that today,” said Giben. “I’ve got stomach-ache.”