It isn’t that I am bloody minded. I am- I did, after all, just advise a friend whose husband was dropping dramatic hints that he might be starting the flu YET AGAIN to just smother him with a pillow. But that is a useful thought any time of the year, yes? And I love the original dark and violent Grimm’s fairy tales, Disney will never compare, and I love Angela Carter’s fairy tale collection The Bloody Chamber, and… and…
But no, it isn’t pain, gore, fear, Freddy, Jason, murder, mayhem, angry spirits back to exact revenge.
I love Halloween for its sense of possibility. The light is changing, the weather is changing, the dark folds its arms around us for longer and longer each night… there’s a funny energy of ‘not quite the same’ or ‘something may happen’ or perhaps even ‘not quite right’ (of course, ‘right’ isn’t always good…) Who knows what one might see or dream up and be able to create and share if one were only paying attention!
Every year Halloween sneaks up on me. This year I vow to enjoy the season, starting the very late summer day the light began to slant and the shadows to lengthen as autumn came on, to let my imagination run wild over the emotional and visual landscape of the possible.
So many wonderful literary works are available to light up the dark corners of our imagination in the most delicious ways.
Share a shiver, would you? What are some of your favorite reads, chilling, yet full of possibility? Here are some that for me evoke that sense of loss, longing, wonder that is particular and peculiar to a time of year set aside for pondering the thinning of the veil between the worlds.
Goblin Market, with its sense of being trapped by our own desires- try illustrating that in your mind!
The intertwining of fate, romance, and a shiver of the supernatural of Halloween by Robert Burns, the sober observations of Poe’s Spirits of the Dead and the lovely dramatic longing and grief of his Lenore, even the Princess books by Mac Donald – The Princess and Curdie is available free on Project Gutenberg, hurrah!!
A. Conan Doyle’s fairy books, and other Victorian era books on magic or spiritualism- Aleister Crowley, Edgar Cayce anyone?
Share a shiver, would you?
We might branch out and move on to the tricky, angry demons and other wonderful beings of world religions and mythology, or perhaps the eerily almost-true scientific and biological landscape of the most wonderful series I have ever read, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.
The possible, the possible, the possible… don’t shy away from the darker works. They invite us into the closet of our imagination, where we hide our creative vision and sense of wonder.
What about the doors Neil Gaiman’s books or Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits (lightweight compared to, say, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, yes, but soulful!) open in our imaginations to how these many creatures and spirits must look? What about the droll, dark Roald Dahl stories for kids? Why didn’t I read more carefully that copy of Vampires, Burial and Death I sold a few weeks ago?
I will re post this next year, with the same question- what, to you, is the most delicious read you can think of, related to other worlds, unknown creatures or beings, magic? Inquiring minds want to know. Today, next year, share a delicious shiver, would you?