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’m so pleased that Marianne Ingheim Rossi interviewed me about the power of journaling on her wonderful site, Journaling For Your Life. You can read the interview and explore her great posts, here.
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
2 thoughts on “Happy Halloween + making room for your darkness”
So true Jill. I remember once when I apologised to a new friend for getting her week off to a bad start on the Monday because I’d been quite glum. She said, ‘You didn’t – and anyway, who ever told you you always have to be happy?’ It triggered quite a big inner exploration of the hows and whys of my ‘Pollyanna’ persona. I like it when I have the occasional cigarette and people are shocked, or I reveal to a close friend that I am in debt and she says, ‘I wouldn’t expect that of you.’ Others can put ‘goodness’, ‘light’ on a pedestal if they like, but I mustn’t do that to myself if I want access to all of me and therefore all of my creativity. I still don’t enjoy or find it comfortable to go digging in my dark places, but I recognise it’s importance. Oh, and make me think of the poem Tyger, Tyger ‘did he who made the lamb make thee?’ Blessings, H xxx
Harula, that is so well said! I love that the comment from your friend triggered an exploration for you. And I’ve had those experiences, too, where I do something that surprises someone who knows me well because they didn’t know *that* aspect of me. No, it’s not comfortable or necessarily enjoyable to meet those dark places head-on, but so worth it. Your mention of “Tyger, Tyger” is so relevant, too. Thanks for giving me even more food for thought, as you so often do! Happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. 🙂
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