Carving Angels - Behind the Wood Shavings
I love a background story.
Just as I love the secondary characters in a movie.
Each adds . . . substance.
And, let's face it, the lead story and the lead characters have all been done to death. The world is looking for something fresh and new.
But who says that fresh and new can't be siphoned off of the old and overdone?
Carving Angels came from just such an idea.
I was looking at a picture of Santa Claus, riding in his famous sleigh.
Pulled by his equally famous reindeer.
And the thought struck me - 'Huh. I wonder where he got his sleigh?' It is such an integral part of the whole 'Santa' story, but no one has ever explained where it came from.
Did he mail order it?
The number of stamps alone would be mind-boggling.
Visit 'Sleighs R Us' on one of his weekend getaways to New York or places south?
Possible, but doubtful. For one thing, I've never seen a 'Sleighs R Us' store.
Even in Edmonton.
I sincerely doubt that one could find a Sears or Costco at the North Pole.
The only other solutions seemed to be either union-made (elves), or non-union 'constructed in someone's shop' (also elves).
I had my premise.
Santa's sleigh was constructed by elves.
Or more particularly, by an elf.
A very gifted elf.
But what kind of gifts?
A metal worker/welder?
I'm sure they have them in abundance at the North Pole. After all, who else could construct the plethora of things metal that appear under our tree on Christmas morning?
Okay, that's one possibility.
Handy, especially when it came to interior bells and whistles.
But, let's face it, a virtual sleigh, though it might look good on the silver screen, really couldn't pass muster when it came to actually carrying the big guy and serving as a repository for the all-important toys and gifts.
Computer whizzes - out.
Wait. What about a wood carver?
We're talking about a night spent in an open sleigh in sub-zero temperatures.
Okay, yes, I know that many of Santa's deliveries are to tropical and sub-tropical locales, but we should plan for the frozen-est, rather than the warm-est, right?
Moving on . . .
Hmm. Wood vs. metal.
Wood is so much warmer than metal.
Anyone who has done the all important/stupid frozen metal-tongue test (and I'm not saying I have) knows that wood, even when frozen solid, simply does not have the sticking power of super-cooled metal.
A definite plus for the wood argument.
Let's go with that.
So. A wood-carving elf.
Now, how can we make him (or her) special.
And at the same time make his (all right, I've decided he's a guy) accomplishment just a bit . . . tougher. Harder to imagine.
We'll give him a handicap.
Something to overcome.
Something that will make his achievement that much more astounding.
And we'll drag in his tiny little granddaughter because she is so sweet and cute and because she is equally handicapped by age.
And because we need someone to help on the rare occasions when our carver actually needs to 'see'.
So now, all we need is a bit of background: A former career as Santa's chief carver, followed by ten years of despair.
And the story is set.
Carving Angels is born.