Halloween Reflections

I like the honoring the dead idea, and have lit some candles tonight to remember mine. There have been small interesting signs that have made me smile and reflect.

I know it’s not really seasonally appropriate in Australia. My son is gathering his friends and they are having a bit of a small night here. It has the feel of a spring carnival though, as they dress up, laugh and eat together.

I explored the origins of Halloween in my classes today. The year 7 novel ‘Remote Man’ makes some references to the way it’s celebrated in the US.
We shared with each other what we find scary. The year 9s discussed scary stories written by well known authors, and the retelling in other media of scary stories. The favourite example was “The Simpsons” doing Poe’s ‘Raven’. My favourite of course is Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, none of my students had heard of it!
The students wrote some of their own scary stories and read them very well to the class. There were some treasures. I was delighted that they heeded my comment that violence and destruction did not necessarily make scary. They even went sparingly on the gore.
Halloween elsewhere :

Crackpots Unite

Today I received one of those email stories and I loved it. It went well with Tuesday’s excursion. It came with a disclaimer that the person wasn’t sure if it was really a Chinese story or a woman for that matter, which also made me smile. I felt a bit like that leaky container today :

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived
only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman
bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course,
the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made
to do.
After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to
the woman one day by the stream.
“I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”
The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?”
“That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day
while we walk back, you water them.”
“For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You just have to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them. So, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

White Time by Margo Lanagan

I have read Margo Lanagan’s stories in a different order to most probably. I began with her second book, “Black Juice”, I then read her latest short story collection “Red Spikes” and I am currently reading “White Time”. I enjoyed every story and have had favourites but mostly loved them all amongst the stories. This book, so far, will be even more difficult to select a favourite. I don’t want to finish it. She says she was experimenting with a variety of styles in this first book. I have enjoyed them all. I especially loved the story about the kid with the weight problem caused by withholding his emotions. There feels to be some truth to that.