I can’t imagine a world without Octobers. It is one of my favorite times of year. There is just something about the leaves turning gold and the wind whispering in your ear and thrill of Halloween around the corner that makes it feel so magical to me. Like there is something waiting to be found just where we can’t see in October. I live for that.
I also live for the fact that I got to go Salem, Massachusetts this month for a weekend. Oh, what a time to be alive.
Work on The Lowell Saga. Fail.
Maintain my healthy habits. Fail.
Have fun. WIN
November (the month where I should be writing) Goals:
Get my priorities straight, again. I kind of fell of the wagon in a lot of regards to my life’s goals this month. I got to do better. But… I did have a lot of fun in October 😉
What I Read:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I don’t know how many times I have reread this book… but it has been many. Something about the autumn always has me craving the midnight diners, the Ice Garden, and the love story interwoven all throughout. This book is one of my favorites of all time. Like The Raven Boys. I know I bring up those favorites a lot in this section but that is only because I have a constant need to keep rereading them, haha! That is proof of how much I love them. And The Night Circus is something I love dearly.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks. This. Was. Adorable. The perfect fall read. I breezed through it because it’s a graphic novel and I can’t believe how wonderful it was. A nice slice of life is something we all need in our lives from time to time and this hit the perfect autumnal spot.
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. Wow. What a BOOK. Read it. That’s it. Just READ IT.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Soooo, I might have mentioned that I went to Salem this month and of course I had to reread The Crucible. I read it in school years ago and though I did not appreciate it then I love it so much more now. Especially in context with the real life historical event that took place in 1692. It’s scary how easily it happened and it frightens me how easily it could happen again.
What I’ll Be Writing:
Poetry- posted every Wednesday
Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
Snapshot! Monthly Recap- posted the last day of every month
Announcements- posted as needed
If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.
November. Oh, November. I honestly… have no idea what is going to happen this month. But, life is weird like that isn’t it? We can plan and plan and plan…. then the rains pour down (or the sun comes out!). Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
Currently listening: “Season of the Witch” – Lana Del Rey Currently watching:The Haunting of Bly Manor Currently playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons Currently reading:‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
Cloudy skies and misty air are lingering outside my window as I type this, and it fits. October and I have been on the same wavelength all month and I am here for it. A lot of fun fall activities fell into my life these past few weeks and finally I feel good. My life feels like it is starting to come together, and honestly perfect timing because NaNo is right around the corner. Or rather by the time this is posted… knocking at the door.
Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! Check! My word count is up and I am so happy!!! I don’t want to jinx anything because I’m superstitious like that so I won’t share too much but… that first draft is getting WRITTEN. Mark it, guys. Making history over here, lol 😀
Become more interactive on social media! Check! I’m doing it! I’m doing it!
Continue making submissions with my writing! Failure…. but I’m working on it. I did more than I did last month at least! (like opened one new tab, lol…) It will probably be a failure next month too if I’m being real with NaNo going on, but not giving up!
Read & finish three books! Check! Not exactly all three books that I planned but I finished my two re-reads Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. As well as Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. All fantastic reads that I highly recommend! I’m about a third of the way through reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King and enjoying it so far! Waiting for those twists!
Rewatch The Haunting of Hill House, and revisit Supernatural S4 and Gilmore Girls S1! Check! Supernatural and Gilmore Girls are like my mac and cheese and buttered biscuits. I also finished The Haunting of Hill House and loved it just as much the second time around! The Haunting of Bly Manor I’m more than halfway through and can I just say, I love Victoria Pedretti? Like, I really do. I hope by the end it hits me as much as Hill House did and right now I’m expecting it too.
Watch Halloween movies! Check! Halloweentown, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Over the Garden Wall, and Corpse Bride, among others. Even Hocus Pocus. Okay, okay I relent. It’s a classic and I’m a little less bitter about Binx now. (SPOILER) He’s happy in heaven and now that I’m no longer seven I accept this conclusion. (SPOILER END).
Go apple and pumpkin picking! Check, check! Even though I got EATEN and I mean EATEN by mosquitos (my ankle swelled up like a balloon and got infected, yuck!) it was so worth it. I had a blast! I posted some pics on my Insta if you are curious!
Make Halloween cookies! Check. And they were delicious.
Eat healthier! Mostly check. I had three bad days this entire month, but that is less than September. The other 28 days I followed the moderation plan so this is a win. Building healthy habits never felt so gooooood! One day at a time. One cookie at a time. One brussel sprout at a time!
Look at the ocean one last time! Check and it was magical ❤ (I also had pumpkin spice ice cream for the first time and damn, it’s good! )
November (the month where I am alive and dead at the same time) Goals:
Continue researching, world building, prewriting, plotting, outlining & WRITING my WIP! OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH IT’S ON NANO. I’M CALLING YOU OUT. My username is JLynn047 if you want to be friends and cheer each other on!
Become more interactive on social media! My handle is @jaiiiilynn4 for both Insta and Twitter if you want to connect! I’m gonna try to rage on Twitter all month about my writing frustrations (and hopefully victories!). Feel free to commiserate (and revel hopefully!) with me!
Continue making submissions with my writing! I’m calling it now, this probably won’t happen cause I’ll be busy with NaNo but I don’t want to forget this goal.
Continue to eat healthier! Moderation and NO stress eating. (Even though I will probably be emotional and stressed all month but I will resisttttttt through mindfulness and sheer force of will.)
What I Read:
–Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Everyone needs to read this book. I don’t care if it’s not your genre. I don’t care if your TBR list is huge. I don’t care if you don’t read. I don’t care if you are a nihilist. This book is bigger than us. It should be on the essential reading list for humanity. Everyone knows the Holocaust. It’s THE most iconic tragedy in the history of civilization. Dr. Frankl, the author of this book, experienced this terrible blight on humanity first hand. He had the option to escape, but he chose to stay with his parents who couldn’t leave and in turn all of them ended up in a concentration camp. A lot of us, thankfully, today will never know those horrors first hand. But he did. And he survived. His experience shaped the motivation and learnings in this psychology book. The main point that I took away was that man needs meaning to survive and he finds that in either 1) his vocation 2) a person or 3) courage in the face of an unimaginable situation. Meaning, meaning, meaning… what is the point of this life? Why are we here? Nihilists will argue that everything is random, there is no meaning. Some think the point of life is to chase happiness. Some think power is everything. But Dr. Frankl alludes the more you chase those things the harder they will be to find. If your life has meaning then you have the will to go on, and the success and happiness will follow. If you think everything has no point and that all is random what’s to stop you from bringing about another Holocaust? There’s no point right? Deep down we all know that not to be true. We are human, we feel, we live, we suffer. We suffer and suffer and suffer. Would it make you happier to reason it towards nothing, or everything. I only glazed over the key points here and there is so so much more. If I haven’t said it already, just read the book. –Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. This one was a reread, one that I hadn’t exactly planned on but one that happened anyway. This book just screams October. I read it for the first time last year and you can read my original review here. Looks like I did end up re-reading it like I mentioned in my review last year, haha!! I didn’t disappoint my past self. Maybe I will just end up rereading it every year. Who knows? Pretty much all the same feelings, but what is different this time is that I think I understand the book even more. Its nostalgia, its structure…. and its view of the universal personal conflict of being human. There is just something about this book.Something… Maybe next year I’ll be able to tell you what it is when I probably end up reading it again. –The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I love this book, so much. My soul and this book …. I can’t even articulate it. I just love this book, so much.
What I’ll Be Writing:
Poetry- posted every Wednesday
Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update- posted in the middle of the month
Snapshot! Monthly Recap- posted the last day of every month
Announcements- posted as needed
All of my fiction writings are independent of each other andstand alone so no need toreadanyof the previous work to understand. If you want more information about any of the above, you can check out the About page on my site or just click here.
I might do another discussion post… depends on how much time I’ll have (not much…) but we shall see. Never say never and inspiration might strike again!
My WIP post this month will also be very heavily NaNo related FYI just so you guys are forewarned! I might check in with mini updates for NaNo every now and then too besides my big monthly WIP update but I haven’t decided yet. (More like anxiety rearing its ugly head that I am taking on too much and perfectionism screaming DO IT ANYWAY…) Well…
Happy October!! Only one of the greatest months of the year, only one of the most pleasant weather months in the year (at least where I live), andddddd the ONLY month in which we celebrate Halloween… you see where I’m going with this?
I’m back with another discussion post this month! This time I want to hear all about your costumes!! I want to hear from everyone. Those who have been planning their costumes months in advance, those who decide to dress up very last minute and even those who don’t like Halloween and definitely, will not, in no way dress up. I want to hear from you all and your reasonings behind why you don’t wear a costume (if you don’t) and why you do wear a costume (if you choose to!) and how you pick who you want to be. I’m honestly really curious about this and can’t wait to see your responses in this lovely autumn, candy induced coma, magic of a month’s discussion post!
The origins of Halloween reach all the way back to nearly 2,000 years ago when the Celts walked the earth, and celebrated the end of the year with their festival of Samhain as summer was coming to near death and winter coming to near breath. The Celts believed that the boundaries between the living and the dead were very blurred during this time and therefore they lit bonfires, burned crops, sacrificed livestock and wore costumes all for their gods. At least according to History.com. Winter marked the start of their new year and prophecies were told and fortunes read. The spirits that were said to walk on this night tended to cause trouble and mischief but their presence made it easier for the priests to predict the future of the coming year. The Celts wore costumes to revere the spirits and also to dispel or ward off the more undesirable ones.
To Costume, or To Not Costume?
So that leaves us today in the modern world. I know there are plenty of people out there who don’t celebrate Halloween. Maybe it’s too childish for some or maybe they just don’t like spooky stuff or maybe… for any other myriad of reasons. Everyone’s opinion is valid!!
Then that leaves the rest of us. Those who wake up, feel the disturbed magical air, and decide to put on the costume.
Now this is where I can get super philosophical and argue that there are those of us humans who put on the mask everyday no matter if it’s October 31st or not. Those who hide their true selves anyway. Those with uniforms of ties, lipstick and shiny polished shoes that don’t match who we are on the inside in the slightest. Does that make Halloween any different then any other day of the year then if you think about it that way?
Everyone of us has worn a mask at some point in our lives. Everyone. Halloween though is the only day when it is outright encouraged.
Now this is where it gets interesting. I’m curious as to how everyone chooses their costumes. I know for me the last four years I have been Jessica Jones. No. Lie.
And I’ll tell you exactly why. Now I know Jessica is far from the true blue hero that is Captain America. (Trust me, I know and I love him too.) But Jessica is in no way true blue, she’s black. She doesn’t have an optimistic, can do attitude, in fact she is much more on the pessimistic side. Not to mention she is most assuredly, undoubtably, an alcoholic. Despite all this though, she is a character who impacted me deeply.
The core of the reason why I have chosen to be her for the past four years is because when I dress up for Halloween I pick someone who I resonate with. Despite all of her flaws, and she has plenty, Jessica is one of my heroes. Someone with qualities I wish were my own. (No, not the alcoholism or the pessimism or foul mouth or lack of self worth). Those flaws though are what make her relatable and make her human. Without them she probably wouldn’t’ have hit my soul as hard as she did, and make her other more favorable qualities shine. So what did sucker punch my soul about her? When I pick my costume I always make it personal.
Jessica had a rough upbringing. A traumatic childhood accident in losing her family at an early age, the rough experience and isolation of having super powers through her life, and, of course not to mention, all the strings attached to Killgrave and what he did to her. Despite that though Jessica, for the people she loved, found the will to have courage and face her fears. That to me is truly inspiring and is one of the greatest marvels of humanity that I will never get tired of. The power of love to make us rise above ourselves and have courage to face something near unfaceable. It gets me every time.
Also, growing up on the shorter and tinier side I’ve had my own fair share of experience of being overlooked. Then you have Jessica, a skinny smallish woman, who can fucking lift an entire 16 wheeler over her head. I mean, GOALS. Never underestimate us so called little girls. We are so much more powerful than the world will give us credit for, and when I saw Jess back in 2015 I really started believing it.
Not to mention, her tough personality. Jessica Jones sees your bullshit and looks right through it. I love that. Her personality has no hold for your mask, your lies. She is a private investigator and her job description is to legit find out all the dirty little secrets of who you are.
Jessica Jones is my hero. She is someone who has qualities I admire and hope to one day incorporate into my own personal being. The courage, the strength, the no time for your bullshit attitude. These are all characteristics I wish I had more of. So every year, I try to harness her energy for Halloween and I’ve come to find each year I get a little closer to being the person I want to be. That’s how I decide on my costume, at least.
What about you guys though? If you don’t dress up, tell me why. If you do dress up, tell me why. Do you pick your costume on someone who inspires you (like me)? Do pick a character arbitrarily? Do you pick a costume based on humor? Do you pick a costume for the scare factor? Do you pick someone or something that has no resemblance to you whatsoever?
I’m really so curious!! To each and every one of you, thank you for reading my ramblings haha! May Autumn’s reign be long this year and may you each have a very happy, or haunted, Halloween!
Never a day passed that I didn’t think about Milkweed Manor.
Yellow Carnation Lane was older than old and younger than young. It had been around as along as there were houses with people to live in them and yet, no matter how much time passed, the homes never seemed to sully or gray or chip, chip away. Except for one, the largest of them all, waiting always waiting at the end where the concrete ran dry.
Milkweed Manor was tall, but only in the sense that it was big. It was wide, but only in the sense that it was squat. When the seasons turned to fall to winter to spring to summer its siding seemed to shift and shrink without changing shape at all. Whenever I looked down the end of the lane I never saw the same picture twice.
Shutters blinked open at the whims of the clouds. The front door, painted dried red, was the only thing that ever seemed to ever stay closed. At nights in the heaviest heat the chimney chum, chum, chummed. Autumn winds blew from its windows no matter the snow, or rain or sun. Lightning had struck the gabled roof 13 times and never a mark had been left undone.
Weeds grew and some black roses filled in the front lawn spaces too. The iron gate was double my height and half my sight. It never ended, no matter how many times I tried to count the bars the number never stopped climbing and climbing. Nevertheless I could always find the 666 of the house number carved into the black, bone shards splintered to cut the number inside.
To this day I have noticed and watched. The neighbors come and the neighbors go but little do they know. Little do they know. I guard the gate, older than old, and a face young as nine. I, alone, bear the secret of the keeper of Milkweed Manor. If you ever come to see 666 Yellow Carnation Lane do not be confused to find yourself turned around back once you came.
No one was there for me ever so long, so long ago. So I guard the gate. Therefore to keep the demon inside never to wake.
Be grateful for those unknown, who protect you when you are alone.
Currently listening: “This Is Halloween” – The Nightmare Before Christmas Currently (re) watching: Over The Garden Wall Currently reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Boo. (Sorry I couldn’t resist!) Happy Halloween! Thank goodness for October. After the harshness of September, October never fails to cheer me up. Pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, orange leaves and sweater weather. Also, (*cough*) CANDY (*cough*).
My October goals were (*drumroll, please*):
Rework my WIP, which is a check. I definitely changed things around a bit and now have an idea for how I’m going to handle NaNo!
Post 1 Living Life vignette, HAHA CHECK! I posted two.
Go pumpkin and apple picking, check check! This one was easy since I go every year.
Heading into (NANOWRIMO) November this is the plan:
Write 25,000 words for my WIP. I’m a slow writer I’ve learned, so I set a more realistic goal for myself this NaNoWriMo.
Post at least 1 Living Life vignette again this month. Honestly with NaNo I’ll be lucky if I have time for just one. But I’m going to try!
What I Read:
Books Read: –The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I don’t think I can do this book justice. It just needs to be read to be understood. Wow. It’s dark… but the characters are alive. They breathe just like you and me. So many connections to the classics. CHARLES, OH BABY . And Henry, I don’t even. Honestly, (*beware, spoilers coming*) I expected more people to die at the end the way this story was going and Francis even comments on it somewhere at the end that Henry should have just killed them all. Enthralling story that no matter how dark it gets you just need to see it to the end. Very dark… can put you in a black cloud/ endless dark tunnel mood. SO WELL THOUGHT OUT AND WRITTEN. Julian, and the depiction of evil in him (as something that seems good on the surface). I need a mental break. –Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I was meaning to read this for a while and then someone mentioned it at work and I took it as a sign to just BUY IT. This book is a TRIP. Whoa baby. In the best possible way. An October book, true and true. I’m going to read this again next October and maybe the October after that. It’s a great book, not necessarily one of my all time favorites but it’s a GREAT book. It’s simple (the moral) but haunting and well played. Out there prose that paints a definite picture. The story will stay with you long after you finish it. –The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson- The story ends the same way it begins and I got chills after reading the last paragraph. I see where all the inspiration for the show came from. Good bones. Chilling and atmospheric. The show goes a lot more in depth, and that is what I knew first so my impression may be a little skewed. But I enjoyed reading the book. Nell, poor baby, and the house is quite the character itself. Madness. Loneliness. Theo was my favorite and Luke grew on me. But Nell, Nell, Nell still lingers in my mind. The foreshadowing all along makes it so clear from the beginning of the story to the end. –Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I’m only three chapters in but I can tell that this book is amazing. I’m sold. Next Snapshot! I’ll go into more detail but right now I’m LOVING it.
What I’ll Be Writing:
This month, no lie, my WIP and NaNoWriMo is my main priority so my posting will be sporadic at best. I’m going to try to post 1 Living Life vignette, and of course any poetry or tags that cross my way but not much more than that. I’m still debating on whether or not to post weekly NaNo updates… would you guys be interested in hearing about that? And of course at the end of the month you can expect my ever consistent Snapshot! post.
I watch Over The Garden Wall every Halloween, and right after I post this I’m going to go grab a Twix and head into the Unknown. October was fun and I’m hoping to have just as much fun in November. That pesky WIP of mine that has been haunting my mind for years is going to get written!
Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are your stories about? I’d love to hear about them!
It was just like a drum that was picking up the tempo. My heart, that was.
“Can you see him?”
Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. A rising crescendo I couldn’t get a handle on. “I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.” The most I could make out was an outline. The slope of the stairs with the creaking last step, the lamp with the twisted metal where I had scraped my shoulder, and the barricade of wood nailed to the door. There were only traces of light trying to find a way in through the cracks in the boarded up windows. It had to be nearly dawn by now.
“Not for long.” Dmitri leaned back against the surface of the overturned dining room table, brushing his shoulder against my own. The contact pushed my already frayed nerves more on to the edge, making me wince. He didn’t seem to notice, as he continued “We have to hold out.”
That was the goal… but the longer the music played in the background, the harder it was to control my breathing. That drum in my chest and the phonograph were marching a perfect beat to the classical music that hadn’t stopped playing the entire time. In an empty mansion, with no one around for miles, I guess even monsters needed something to fill the silence that too much solitude brought on.
I almost felt bad, for a second. The smell of blood was too prevalent for the feeling to last any longer. It was dripping down my arm, faster than I could stop it and Dmitri was no better off. The monster had stabbed its nails into his side.
“He’s going to find us again.”
Dmitri grunted, guttural and low, and in hindsight it might even have been a laugh. “Beyond all doubt.” Between the smell of blood and the creaking last step it was a matter of moments.
The music was getting louder by the second and I knew that it was getting closer. It seemed to follow wherever it went. In the library it had been overwhelming, like trying to fight with an entire orchestra bowing in your ear. Not ideal circumstances for a hunt.
Behind the fallen table, I stood up. The hiding spot would not hold forever. Nothing could. Not even immortals were entirely safe. Dmitri looked up, but he didn’t say anything. I sidestepped carefully over his long legs but he caught me quick, with startling strength, and squeezed my ankle. Then just let me go… as quickly as the gesture had come. I nodded, but in the dark who knew if he saw.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. BANG.
Exposed and hesitant, I stepped into the center of the foyer. The strings were getting louder from upstairs so there was only so much time. Dodging any pointed furniture and watching for any debris on the tile floor I edged my way closer to the window. It was just planks of wood covering the light. All I had to do was rip one away. That would be enough.
Anchoring my fingers around the edge of the board, I pulled.
And it didn’t budge.
“You are not strong enough for that, Love.” My heart stilled. At the top of the stair, his shape was clear. Skinny like a scarecrow and his silhouette edged like barbed wire, a shadow moved taking one leisurely step after another easing his descent down. Splinters hooked into my fingers the harder I struggled and the music, despite my rush, became deceptively slow. Mellow even. Nice, soothing…
His hand was at my shoulder in barely any time at all. With almost no effort, he turned me around. In that little glint of light his fangs seemed almost beautiful. But then again all vampires were beautiful. And humans couldn’t help but be entranced by pretty things. But the wound on my shoulder put me in no mood for pretty.
At the opposite end of the room, Dmitri ripped off a board from a different window and the sun came streaming in. The music hitched as the vampire hissed and with sudden, brutal clarity the world slowed into focus again. I stabbed the monster through the heart.
Then the music finally stopped.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.
There was sunlight streaming in. Groggily, I opened my eyes to the window.
Bang. Bang. Bang-
With a thump my alarm abruptly went silent. I placed my phone back on the end table and sat up slowly. It was morning… one day over and another beginning. I threw the covers off of me, and then cringed.
“My shoulder…” I massaged it, squeezing the muscle to relieve some of the tension but not even that made all the pain go away. Rolling my neck, I blinked still not quite awake. “Must have slept funny… what was I dreaming…?”
But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember any of it at all.