I wrote this little poem during a 15-minute writing session at my school’s writing club last Thursday and felt like sharing it today. 🙂
The Night is Meant for Reading
the evening comes home early
These days that are like gnats
fly freely into the candle of afternoon
and flare up briefly
Then smoke and moon and owl hoots
settle in, purring around your ankles
and filling your pockets with dusk.
These nights are meant for reading,
with the lamp dimmed low
and the firelight warming your socks,
with the half full but mostly empty
(but easily refilled again)
cup of whatever makes your belly warm
resting beside you atop the
book, the one you will dive into
after this one, without even changing
the cross of your legs
on the blue stool with the orange pillow
in front of the hearth
beneath the dimmed lamp
near the window
that watches with its cloudy gray eyes.
This night is meant for reading,
and you—you are nothing
if not obedient.
October is here, and that means one thing: neck aches. Why? Because if you’re smart, you’ll constantly be looking over your shoulder.
October is the month of Halloween. It is the month when spirits roam the earth, and the dead play tricks on the living, and creepy crawlies have their fun.
October is also the month of poor choices. It is the month when people decide to watch slasher movies at midnight during thunderstorms, and hunt vampires at sundown, and say things like, “Let’s split up!” when there’s a madman on the loose and their cell phone battery has just died.
Every year, I spend October scaring my loved ones and scaring my neighbors and (ultimately) scaring myself. Despite my knowledge of October’s wiles and my propensity for carrying flashlights into the dark and peering out windows before opening doors and always, always, always checking behind shower curtains, I too make poor choices during this month of spooks and specters. I often spend so much time looking behind me that I run face first into a spider’s web. Or I wander into the yard at night to bring the dog inside, only to realize that our dog is in the house and isn’t the thing making that snuffling sound in the bushes. Or, sometimes, I get distracted and accidentally trick myself with my own traps. (A hazard of haunting.)
This year, though, I’m taking my October foolishness to a whole new level.
This time tomorrow, I’ll be flying (alone) to Pennsylvania to spend five days in a remote cabin in the mountains with ten strangers who write horror. Oh, and there’s limited cell phone service.
Why would I do such a thing? Because I’ve been given the incredible opportunity to attend the Books With Bite workshop at the Highlights Foundation. There, I will study with authors Nova Ren Suma and Micol Ostow, and that is worth sleeping with one eye open while cuddling a baseball bat.
Still, if you haven’t heard from me in week, send help. Just make sure the person comes alone, at night, in a car that’s low on gas, and doesn’t tell anyone where they’re going first.
After all, it’s October.
* * * * *
October is also my birthday month, and I love giving gifts almost as much as I love getting them, so I’m hosting a giveaway. On November 1st, I’ll be selecting three winners to receive one of the following prizes:
A copy of The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (the first book in my favorite series: Lockwood & Co.)
A copy of Susan Rooke’s debut fantasy novel, The Space Between (Susan is a friend of mine and I’m so excited about her new book!)
Your choice of one of the journals from my Etsy shop.
To enter, just comment on one of my October blog posts OR share one of the posts on social media, and use my contact form to send me a link to it. Each person can enter up to five times, so feel free to share on multiple platforms. Good luck!