This is the 1st week of the “First Frost” season for Colleen Chesebro’s #TankaTuesday challenge based on the 24 Japanese seasons.
Although we don’t have a first frost in October ever in Arizona, and some years no frost at all, there are other aspects of the season that we do share with the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, as Colleen points out. She mentions Halloween and All Saints. I, of course, think of Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Two years ago I created a nicho to celebrate the day and the lives of my kitties who had passed over the rainbow bridge. https://writersite.org/2021/10/06/making-after-loss/
This year I bought a Count Dracula costume for my black cats. I wanted to capture Meesker’s little white fangs, but unfortunately, he is not a model. My daughter had to add in the fangs for me. Meet Count Meeskula!
My old lady Kana, on the other hand, is quite the ham. She loves dressing up. She does not have fangs, though. Meet Countess Grannyula!
So when I saw that black cats for luck is a kigo I knew I would write about them!
I used to love Halloween. When I was little it was the costume selection/creation, school party, and trick-or-treating. When my kids were young, I had a great collection of decorations and loved to take them trick-or-treating with their friends. When they didn’t need my company any longer, I sat on the porch with plastic pumpkins brimming with candy and waited for the little ones to come around. Now I live in a neighborhood where children rarely come by, so I am less enthusiastic.
Maybe it’s the pageantry that attracted me because I am not a fan of horror. Mystery cozies, yes. True crime shows, yes. Disaster movies, yes. But not actual horror. And it’s surprising how many horror movies are always showing up on my TV screen. If the gardener wants to watch, I try to read, but it’s hard to look away from true horror. Still, I’m not a fan, just like I’m not a fan of vampires.
But I do like photos of dead people. For “postmortem photos,” check out my Pinterest board: Still Life After Death. I don’t know why I find these so fascinating. I didn’t even know this stuff existed until I studied Huckleberry Finn and met the character, Emmeline Grangerford, who is dead, but lives on in her family’s stories about her–and in her own maudlin poetry and art. She is obsessed with death and the macabre. My teacher theorized that Emmeline might represent the Victorian obsession with death, when postmortem photos and brooches made of the hair of the dead had a secure place in pop culture. I found that pretty darn interesting.
On my family history blog, I post a lot of antique and vintage photos that belong to my family. I have quite a collection since I’ve been the recipient of photos from several branches of the family. My family didn’t seem to go in for postmortem photos, but there is one photo I’ve always wondered about, especially since the Victorian flower sign for death was an upside down rose and sometimes the freshly-dead body was propped up amongst family members as if she/he were still alive.
On another note, the memoir writing lessons have done their job; I am working on my memoir 30 minutes a day (except for one day), and while that is not a lot, it is much better than not at all. There are still tons of lessons left in Goldberg’s book, so think of picking up a copy. I might be back with more exercise results–or not–in the future.