Fall is my favorite time of the year. There’s such a crisp-ness in the air, I want to take a bite out of it and feel its sweet juices flow slowly down my cheeks. Like many of you who enjoy fall, I too welcome the cooling weather and the rainbow of leaves that dress the trees. But for me there are other elements, which make this a treasured time of year. It is October, and in this month alone, I can unpack all those friends of mine who normally live only in the dark recesses of my brain, or within the confines of my stories. In October, they come out into the light of day, and play.
In October they become tangible, touchable things, as they gleefully sit on my mantle, tumble from the windows in my kitchen and greet visitors at the threshold of my door. The vampire nutcracker hides in the vines of my trailing ivy plant. Witches fly from my front porch. Headless bodies recline in my lawn chairs and skeletal bones become wind chimes lulling me into slumber each night. Gone are the classic books that normally line my bookshelves, replaced by titles such as, Voodoo Hoodoo, The Everyday Book of Spells and A Witches Kitchen. In my kitchen, the counters no longer hold the usual fruit or bread. They are now filled with jars of pickled brains, baskets of leathery bat wings and any number of colorful glass bottles with labels such as: Love Potion, Wart Remover or the one most requested this season; Politician Expeller.
I too transform during this month, when I host my annual book club party. This year I will greet my guests as, E. She’s the Day of the Dead Meets Steampunk woman introduced to you in my last blog. Not certain how I will conduct a meeting with my lips sewn shut, but I’ll manage somehow. As you can imagine, my ghoulish menagerie has taken some time to collect. This year, I will be adding yet another friend, he will reside in a 3 ft. coffin (thanks to the skill and willingness of my daughter, Shawnacee). The casket will lie upon my hearth and he will be nestled in its velveteen black folds. He is my Victorian clad, top hatted skeletal muse of the month, his sharp fangs, when caught by light, glisten with tiny drops of liquid crimson. I call him Fred.
I am always heartsick after October 31st, has come and gone and I reluctantly begin packing away my many friends. But, a thought occurs. What if this year, I don’t put away all my friends? What if I keep Fred in the dark corner of my office behind that big potted plant? The neighbors, or the occasional visitor would never look there, would they? Fred, with his sharp-toothed grin and long, bony fingers clutching at a heart that no longer beats. Fred, whose tattered black waistcoat reminds me of genteel days gone by. I sit and stare mesmerized at my new friend and begin to smell the damp earth still clinging to his casket and see the Spanish moss that covered the trees around his ancestral home. Without warning, he begins to whisper into my ear and a story unfolds. Yes, fall is my favorite time of year and once again I find myself wanting to take a bite out of something and have its warm, sticky juices flow ever so slowly down my cheeks…
Friends are so very important in this solitary life as a writer. What friends do you have; things to entice those stories hidden in the dark corners of your brain to come out and play, so they can jump into your story and live on the written page?