Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spider the Pumpkins

That's an actual item from my "to-do" list for today. I'm living the good life! Yes, it's the annual Halloween program time again, this year with a vaguely EC Comics kind of theme. I was scrutinizing my set-up, and decided I wanted to move the body bag back so it would be more visible ... but I figured I'd better wait until the political rally in the next room is over with. I'm sure the uniformed cop standing guard outside their door has already noticed that I'm strewing the room with pumpkins and skeletons, but still, why tempt fate?

When I'm setting up for the program, at some point every year, I think for a minute what it would be like if I had a better room than this big modern box of a meeting room. If I had a proper stage, real lighting equipment, or just something with a little more atmosphere to it. But on the other hand, there is something special about the no-frills space, and the fact that the program takes place somewhere that usually has such mundane functions. It's here in the library, where people go for all kinds of things, not in a theater or somewhere that's set apart. There's a more intimate quality to it, which I think helps connect the readers and the audience. And it keeps the focus more on the stories themselves, as stories. Right now, I have to keep things intimate and low-key, because there's only so much I can do to disguise the room. But more lighting and staging and effects might detract from what makes it so special.

I actually got interviewed in the local paper about the reading, which is not exactly in my comfort zone. I always sound a little like an old-school Val ("it's like, kind of, you know, sort of, and stuff"), but that's what happens in conversation! So I'm going to write up what I meant to say, in a slightly more articulate form.

Why I love Halloween: because there are things in the world that are frightening, or disturbing, or just plain strange and mysterious. Sooner or later, all of us will have to face loss and death. Halloween is a time when people, individually and communally, acknowledge this. It comes out in the open, and instead of becoming scared or depressed by it, people use their imagination and creativity to transform it into something meaningful. The incredible creativity people put into costumes and decorations and stories, all dealing with things they normally pretend don't exist, gives me hope for humanity ... which, I realize, is kind of funny when they're dressing up as zombies and slasher-movie characters.

So here's wishing you and yours a Happy Halloween!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Double Negative Jeopardy

From the newsletter of a local cathedral:

"All visitors who are not of the Roman Catholic faith are welcome to join us in prayer but not to refrain from receiving Holy Communion."

Well, I was going to refrain, because I thought I was supposed to, but then they said I was welcome not to!

I know, I haven't posted in like a million years, and this is what I come back with ... but I was thinking to myself, I need to post ths somewhere! And then I said, gee, if I only had a blog. :)

Not to pick on some poor proofreader over at the diocese. To put it perspective, here's something that was published in our local alternative newspaper yesterday, from whom I could reasonably expect better. It's about a guy who sells and repairs old clocks: "He has such a genuine authority over these clocks that it literally creates an invisible blockade around your psyche that forces us to believe he's been truly perfecting this trade since his days of yore. Then perhaps we'd be as surprised as I was to learn that he's only been doing this for six years."

Where to begin? With how we'd be as surprised as I was? Isn't I part of the we? What does a literal invisible blockade look like? What does it even mean to have a blockade around your psyche? And how would it force anyone to believe anything?

So many questions!