It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – 30 Days Until Halloween

October is here!  October is here!  pumpkin zombie

There’s a faint chill in the morning, and night is
coming earlier.  Bats are flying like mad in the evenings as the summer insects emerge and search for mates. Pumpkins are everywhere.  Flying skeletons and graveyard fences are showing up in neighborhood yards.  I’m late haunting our yard due to my writing conference and camping last weekend, but our holiday zombie has put on his trick-or-treating costume.

This is my first year participating in the Countdown to Halloween, and I’m excited to share this season with you.  I’ll be writing about where I get inspiration for my creepy stories and poetry, my many loves of autumn and Halloween, and other spooky things.  Much of my inspiration comes from remote areas, deep in the woods and marshes.  The muck is deep with layers of death and rebirth out there.

Florida is still having thunderstorms most evenings.  Everything is wet.  The ground is so saturated, it moves under your feet in the low areas.  When we camped, the puddles on the tarp drew dozens of planarians under our tent.  They were glorious little things to see, since they are usually hidden under wet leaves and logs.  And knowing they were squirming beneath us all night was delightfully unsettling.  What other creatures might’ve spent time there, but left before we broke camp?

So welcome, Halloween lovers and spooky kids, and the rest of you who are visiting.  Tell me what grisly details make you shiver in a story.  Or share what you imagine when you are writing a frightening scene.  The best stories happen around a campfire.

Horse – A Poem Poised To Run

Horse
by Victoria Nations

Smooth planes of muscle and bone
grown over with layers of
detritus, lichen and grime
caught
in the corners
spreading
until they touch one another
crusting the surface
beneath
which lies
smooth planes of muscle and bone
and skin
shiny with sweat
wetting the living things who
drink
and cover the
smooth planes of muscle and bone
rolling beneath
hard but for
a rolling eye
wild in its socket
caught
tangled in the
detritus, lichen and grime
smothering the
smooth planes of muscle and bone

Writing Talismans and Camp NaNoWriMo

This is my writing scarf.

It’s my writing scarf because it’s a little spooky and my family gave it to me to wear while I’m writing.  I wore it occasionally, and then put it on for the first day of NaNoWriMo last November – great for keeping warm in the chilly spot where I sit in the kitchen – and by the end of the month it was constantly draped over me or the back of my chair, a fixture like my tea pot.  It became code in our house, that if I was wearing it, I was writing, in my head or tapping on the keys.

I’m quite affectionate towards it at this point.

It’s been getting warmer and I haven’t been wearing my scarf as often.  But Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, so I grabbed it on the way out the other day.  I planned to fit in a couple hours on a short-story while my teen was at a school practice.

Wow!  I managed 1600 words in a couple of hours.  The words flowed; I twisted my magical scarf while thinking.  It was a productive morning.

Whether or not my scarf is imbued with actual magic, I believe our rituals make things slide into place in ways.  The hot tea, the scarf wrapped around me, pulling my computer up to the same spot on the table make everything come together and tell my brain it’s time to write.  It’s comfortable and exciting.

Anyone else going to Camp this April?  There’s one more day to sign up.  Come check it out here.  Come say hi if you do – I’m Leaves and Cobwebs over there, too.

Chicken Purse – A Poem

CHICKEN PURSE
by Victoria Nations

I need a new purse
and I want to find one that looks like a chicken.
It will be life-sized and feathery,
and have little horny feet that stick out of the bottom
because truly elegant purses have feet.
The head will have a pink, rubbery comb
and bright plastic eyes.
And I’ll carry the straps over my shoulder
so I can tuck the chicken purse under my arm.

Everyone will notice my chicken purse.
They’ll wonder if I’m carrying a live chicken
or a stuffed one that’s dead.
I’ll talk to it, stroking its neck
and cooing to it lovingly.
And people will think it’s adorable,
or kind of sad, the way I talk to my stuffed chicken.
They won’t notice how it has a perfectly sized sleeve
for my laptop, and cunning little pockets,
and pen holders inside,
though they really should assume it has those features.
I wouldn’t have gotten my chicken purse if it weren’t functional.

I’ll set my chicken purse next to me when I dine.
And I’ll tell it “stay,” and give it a piercing look
like, “You’d better not disobey me, pet chicken.”
But it won’t really be a pet; it will be a purse.
And I’ll compliment it when it sits obediently through the meal
and reward it with bits from my plate.
And when the check comes,
I’ll pull my credit card from under its wing
and thank it for holding it for me.
But I’ll tap it on its beak when it tries to peck the paper.
It will need to learn to behave properly in a fancy restaurant.

Anyway – A Love Poem

ANYWAY
by Victoria Nations

She has no red hair,
and no gray,
and only a few freckles
peppered across her putty nose,
and splattered down her back.

She’s the tall one,
the strong one
who owns a tool belt, but
leaves the dead opossums
to me, along with the lizards
and big bugs.

She’s a delicate flower,
nearly crushed by a giant,
snuggling man child, and
fighting for space
amongst twenty-five cats,
and unexpected skeletons,
and feet in the freezer.

She just stacks the
bags of heads higher,
keeping it all organized,
and squeezes her wife and boy
when they pile on her,
showing her weird objects,
and she loves them anyway.

Happy birthday – and anniversary – wishes to my lovely wife and Monster Woman.

Doodling

DOODLING
by Victoria Nations

Doodling things with tentacles
And teeth

That’s not right
It should be beaks and tentacles
And suction cups
And delightfully slimy skin

It should be aquatic
And shape-shifting
And fast

ButBuddhaboard1

There it sits
Furry and toothed
A cunning eye turned up
Staring
And tentacles

I can’t see where all the tentacles are attached
Only an odd number are showing
I’m worried
I think I may have missed one