Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beggar's Night

Tonight, tonight is beggar's night. Don't be stingy and give them a bite -- or two.

I added the "or two" and changed it to them, but that is the rhyme Dad taught me when he took me out on my first Halloween a half-century ago. Sounds like a long time, but those memories are still as fresh as the night we dressed up and went on our first rounds.

This year I didn't buy candy because last year I ended up with too much candy and quite a few caramel apples when no one came. My porch light was on, but I haven't seen a single ghost, goblin, ghoul or princess since I moved here, or anywhere in the neighborhood since I moved to the Springs. Parents take their kids to shopping malls and schools to do their trick-or-treating or to parties where I doubt they still bob for apples; they don't take them around the neighborhood. How I miss that.

Someone sent me a Halloween gift, a coffin from the vampire club, and I'd like to thank them. Whoever you are, thank you. You made my Halloween brighter and a little bit more special.

As the moon rises full and bright in the dark sky and passes towards the far horizon, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead thins and ghosts pass into our world. Treat them gently and feed them well, but let them go before the morning sun rises to dispell the dream. They are only here for one night. When we feed the apparitions who come to the door, we honor the dead and feed them.

Tonight I honor my father who loved Halloween as much as I and imparted a joy and happiness every day of the year with his stories and jokes and his ever present smile and laughter.

Happy Halloween, Dad.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Treading memory's waters

Snow a couple days ago and snow again this morning, off and on under such a dirty gray sky the sun cannot be seen. It's probably hiding or taking a vacation or just isn't strong enough this morning to clean the celestial windows. Whatever the reason, I am grateful for the soft white fall of autumn's ashes softening the ragged edges of the summer's bounty that drags the remaining ragged flags of brown, desiccated leaves from the skeletal trees. Like most men going bald, the trees look better clean and trimmed of delusions of summer. That's what evergreens are for with their year-round proof that the world is sometimes green.

A faint scent of coconut milk and jasmine tea lingers in the house this morning and an empty bowl sits on the nightstand why I write this. I've been up since before five and have spent most of the morning lingering among people I haven't seen for almost thirty years, remembering and adding insights from a distant where I am sufficiently divorced from the fear and feelings of hopelessness that I can see what I was hidden and overlaid with chaotic emotions. I've added things I didn't know at the time and used things I heard after the fact to springboard back into the deep end of time's waters to make a better story. Although the book could be considered memoir, I've decided to let fiction carry the weight of memory and experience and set myself free to imagine what was and could have been.

Mary Ann reminded me that I should be writing and finishing this book so I can submit it to the publisher anxiously and patiently waiting for me to get on with it. She's made her first submission and is feeing quite vindicated that it ended in rejection, but there's nothing to feel vindicated about. Try the same publisher in a few months or a year and the response could be very different, acceptance instead of rejection. Rejection is such a hard and hurtful word to the writer dipping a toe in professional waters. Don't take it personally. It could have been a bad day and everyone got rejected without a reading or the editor or editor's assistant decided that everyone gets a rejection without being read because they were tired from too much Halloween candy that will never make it to the beggar's bowl. Editors are people and rejections subjective. It's no reason to quit writing or submitting. Remember all the best selling authors who couldn't even get arrested for flagrant grammar violations before someone took a chance and published their work. Now they're free to promiscuously pad their word counts with adjectives, dangling modifiers and split infinitives to their hearts' content.

Oh, well, c'est la vie écrire. Such is the writing life. And to my writing life I shall return to wallow in companionship and alienation and abandonment just like the real thing. It's one of those weeks.

That is all. Disperse.,