Halloween has long been my favorite holiday, and fall my favorite season.
There is something about the fact that nature is in a beautiful process of going into a dormant state for the long winter months during the fall that reminds me that transitions are inevitable, and full of light and dark. And we need to honor them and make room for them.
Halloween reminds me to invite and bring awareness to any “dark” places within me.
I grew up believing I should be nice, upbeat, “positive.” Occasionally when I write fiction, I realize I’ve created a character who suffers from this “nice syndrome” (it’s usually a female character, but not always). It can be hard to create a juicy, complex story around a character like this unless I open her up and and take a good look around to find her dark places.
Once, in a writing class, I had a “nice” character write a letter to a friend. When I was finished with the letter, I read it aloud to the class.
“Well, what do you know?” my teacher said. “She’s not so nice after all.”
It turned out the character had a history in which she had done something she was very ashamed of, and she went around being “nice” in order to make up for this misdeed. Suddenly she was vulnerable, complex, and even a little bit dangerous. My story began to fly.
I love how my fiction serves as a metaphor for my life. My characters sometimes need what I need (or, they need exactly the opposite). When I feel “stuck” in life, it’s often because I’m not allowing anything I perceive as “dark” within myself to come to the surface and inform me about who I am and what I need. Dark and light must co-exist; in fact, one only exists because of the other.
So perhaps that is why I always relish and welcome Halloween, and why I have a penchant for horror movies. It all keeps me in touch with my own dark, my own creep factor.
On that note, Happy Halloween!
And: Today is the last day to sign up for one of my Mini Unsticky Sessions. Do you have a creative project you just can’t seem to move forward, or to start at all? You might want to try a Mini Unsticky. I will be retiring my Mini Unstickies after today, but you can still sign up through midnight Central Time tonight. Check them out here.
Good stuff this week:
I love this Halloween poem by “Monkey the Cat” at Cats at the Bar.
A few writers I know are on the fence about participating in NaNoWriMo. If that’s you, you may be helped by this post I wrote quite a while ago: “Are You Stretching or Pushing Yourself? How to Tell the Difference.”
Image © 2014, Jill Winski