In the north of the world, it is a time of transition. The moving from the light of summer to the dark of winter. The time where the “death” of the crops in the fields yields up the grain we eat. We cull the herds for winter meat and pick fruit from the orchards before the sap runs back into the ground. It is a time when death and mortality are especially close.
And so, our ancestors marked this time with Samhain, Halloween, All Souls Day, and The Day of the Dead to honor the in-between time; the time between the long days of summer and the cold nights of winter. Of course, we seem to have forgotten the wisdom of our ancestors. We don’t believe in ghost and goblins anymore or the need to dress up and frighten them away, so we party and dress up in all manner of fun things, which is wonderful, because who doesn’t need a party? But what of the dead, are they not still with us?
Our loved ones still die. Modernity has not ended this. It has not given us a salve to ease the raw pain of grief, nor should it. One of the interesting things about humans is we are storied creatures. We define ourselves, our families and our communities by the stories we tell. Often these stories are acted out in the form of ritual—a form of sacred drama. But have we forgotten the stories? Lost the rituals? I think what’s happened is we’ve become a death denying culture. We can’t ignore it, but we try to sanitize it and sweep it away as fast as possible. We’ve forgotten how to properly remember the dead. We’ve forgotten how to live with death and our dead. And that, I believe, ultimately cuts us off from life.
My point? Winter is coming and that is a good thing, because without winter there can be no spring. Without death, there can be no new life. Pause. Just for a moment. Take a deep breath of the crisp autumn air. Remember the ones that are not here. Invite them back into your life, your home, if even for a day. Tell their story. Put out an offering and live. Live with the dead, for they are part of you and will make you stronger.
Well I finished another first draft. I’m starting to overwhelm my editor and beta readers. I need a few more beta readers to spread the load around. Anyone interested? The Bear, the Witch, and the Web, the sequel to Dark Love is done and with a first reader. I’m starting its sequel Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf soon for the National Novel Writing Month, which is always fun. So that makes three books I should have done sometime in the next few months. (Return to Cooter Crossing is also being worked on.) I think I’m going to wait and release them all at the same time. BWW and HMRW are directly related to each other so it that makes sense. RCC isn’t directly related but it has a number of the same characters so, you know, why not do all three at once?
Free Books Offer
I seem to be having trouble getting folks to sign up for my newsletter. I only put one out when I have a new book released in case you are worried about getting a bunch of junk in your mailbox. As an incentive, I’ll be offering a free ebook of any of my stories to you if you sign up for the newsletter or if you already have. Just shoot me an email with the same name/email you used to sign up and let me know what book you’d like.
Well that’s all for now. Happy Day of the Dead!