Halloween, early 1970’s, I was always a witch. My mask was made of plastic and attached with a long rubber string tied behind my head. Equally shiny with synthetic materials was my dress, not unlike the mask, tied behind my neck. The designs of the fabric simply printed on, to give the illusion of different fabrics and textures.
I’m wondering now if the illusions of fright during Halloween time give me a much-needed break from the fears of real life, especially as a writer.
I think I was a witch until my 6th grade year of school, when I switched things up and dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I have always loved Halloween, although even I find it ironic that at the same time I hate horror. In no realm of existence would you find me watching a scary movie or reading a spooky book (I don’t care how fake it all appears, I can’t handle it).
Give me vampires, but no zombies, thank you. Give me witches, but no ghosts please. Although I have many friends who love to be scared, find joy in screaming, and exhilaration creeping down the halls of a haunted house, I have many conditions on my levels of acceptable scare (for example an escape door so I can wait alone in the parking lot while my friends finish their full haunted house experience). But, still, I love it!
Becoming more reflective in my older years, I have thought long and hard about this subject. I haven’t solidified on any one solution, but many ideas have come to play. The biggest being that real life is sometimes more of a nightmare than Halloween could ever be. And that, my friends, is a genuine scare.
Several years back, my writing pulsed under my skin so wildly I had to pay attention. I filled up documents on my computer with poetry, half-written stories, and picture book ideas. Then my computer crashed. The damage far beyond the wisdom of “The Geek Squad” who said it would all likely be gone, but for $2,000… maybe they could salvage some.
The real loss? I hadn’t shared any of my work. I hadn’t even told anyone I had begun writing. Why? Because I was terrified. What if my writing was bad? I’ve read reviews of books I’ve loved and heard people (usually only readers who have never written a word) trash-talk the author’s work. No way was I putting myself out there for that.
But, the list of fears goes on when I think about querying my work along with thousands of others, only to be rejected. The thought of that is enough to keep my work neatly locked away on my brand new cherry-red external hard drive.
My long and winding story of getting myself to finally share my words with others would likely fill another page, therefore I will save it for another post. However, the fear is real. I get stuck somewhere between yearning to write and fear of failing in the writing world. Perhaps Halloween is a break from this real-life fright. Maybe the thought of goblins and ghosts coming out of hiding for a short spell replaces the anxiety taking up full-time camp in my abdomen. A time I can focus on the fun of fear. The surprise in suspense. An open uneasiness from the unexpected.
November 1st I will store away my Halloween decorations, hang up my costume, and investigate new paths to share my work. I’ve created this blog, joined writing groups, slowly built up my social media connections, and am creating a poetry series on Channillo. I am also openly talking about my novel rewrite (which may or may never see the light of day). For eleven months out of the year, I am putting myself out there… in full and utter fear! This is my typical, daily life.
I guess Halloween time, in my own way, is my scare break. Maybe this is why my inner-scaredy-cat finds relief every October. Perhaps I never truly removed my witch mask from early childhood, and that rubber string is still tangled somewhere in my hair. It provides protection from a world far scarier than monsters on All Hallow’s Eve. And I suppose, it allows me to keep writing.
Writing Advice: Dig up a buried treasure, write from some ancient inspiration.
In honor of Halloween, I am working on some research about the holiday. Hopefully, I will have a poem completed for my Wednesday Whims of Poetry page (on this writing blog, Steps In Between).
If you are a poet, perhaps you might find a topic of interest and dig up a few bones. I love creating poetry based on real learned facts. So, give it a go!
If you are a novelist, then see how you might incorporate your research into your story. Perhaps casually, in the background, simply reminding your reader what time of year it is. Or make it a past memory of your character.
Let’s keep some history alive in the current work we do. And maybe knock on a few doors to beg for soul cakes wouldn’t hurt the night before All Saint’s Day. ***You’ll have to look it up!
History is fun… include it in your writing repertoire when you can.
By Celaine Charles, October 28, 2018
https://4hdwallpapers.com/happy-helloween-wallpapers.html (Happy Halloween)
http://positivewriter.com/hardest-things-about-writing/ (writing is hard)
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/492722015453437871/ (Halloween Chalkboard Sign)
https://www.costumecraze.com/c/decorations-and-props (hanging bat)
https://www.pinterest.com/desertglitter/halloween-vintage/?lp=true (witch costume 1970s)
Categories: Thoughts on writing...
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