Happy Holidays, Carrot Ranchers! Today is Nevada Day; it is Halloween to the rest of the US. Many have celebrated Diwali this past week, and others will honor the bones of ancestors, believing the veil that separates the living from the dead thins on the Día de los Muertos. Allhallowtide is a three-day observance of All Hollow’s Eve to All Hallow’s Day to All Soul’s Eve.
No matter what you do or don’t celebrate at this mid-equinox time, sweets will likely be involved. Do you have favorites?
As a young mom, I remember instructing my children to not eat any candy until I inspected their Halloween haul. Todd and I grew up in an era when disturbed people put razor blades and needles in apples, boxes of raisin, or candy bars. I grew up in the California mountains 100 miles south, and he grew up in Nevada 100 miles east of Nevada’s “Biggest Little City” where such things happened in the ’60s and ’70s.
The wheels in my mind spin, remembering the fear of tampered candy that has now become an urban myth. Weird, to remember newspaper headlines, police warnings on TV stations, and the rise of alternative parties in women’s magazines only to find the contemporary myth on Snopes and in the Urban Dictionary. The modern chroniclers do have one thing correct — no one ever died. But the fear was palpable and lingered into my children’s childhoods. Using my Newspapers account, I had to look up some of those old articles from the Nevada and California regions. No one needed to die for the rest of us to fear punctured lips and sliced gums. As parents, we acted accordingly.
What we celebrated, and what we feared leaves a lasting impression on who we become. Yet, we continue to evolve. We never stop becoming until our last breath. Yet, we tend to experience the cycle of years with their markers for seasons and holidays as unchangeable. I could easily believe that the Halloween of today is the same as the Halloween of yesterday. It takes a distance of years in decades to see the vast difference. It takes courage to examine the difference without trying to erase or make permanent earlier truths. Not everyone is willing to hop on the bus of becoming, though. Nostalgia has a deep pull on our heartstrings.
I grew up in a tiny town that celebrated Halloween like we were secret pagans. Oh, the glee of impending Halloween in its complete Celtic triad. I can still feel wiggles of anticipation; leftover whispers from childhood. I can slip easily into the skin of nostalgia. Waking up on the morning of our all-school Halloween party where the older grades created a haunted house for the younger ones. Our school closed on Nevada Day (October 31) because half our student population attended high school across the border. We partied on October 30 and 31. In town, the Forest Service held a party at their headquarters after all of us county kids paraded through town. I was known to bring a mule. November 1, the Day of the Dead, we recovered from our sugar highs.
Such nostalgia would lead me to believe that the trick-o-treaters at my door continue a tradition I knew and loved. Teaching young college students sets me straight. In their weekly reflections, they relate different experiences of Halloween. None mentioned fearing razor blades. Or stampeding a mule down Main Street because Pizanno didn’t want three witches on his back. Costumes have evolved. I love the simple ones as much as the clever creations. My kids still like to dress up and party with the real Wiccans. These days, I’m more interested in finding ancestral connections to tending stories, stones, and dreams as I become.
When I worked in marketing communication, I remember learning the adage, don’t reinvent the wheel. Original thought and creative content doesn’t mean you need a new conveyance. Apply that idea to storytelling. There are so few wheels to apply to story structure you can add them up with your fingers. According to Jungians, there are only seven different story plots in existence the world over. Academics and modern authors might deviate from that number (some say six, some claim 36) but all the stories we know have already been written.
Therefore, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, keep those wheels rolling in the stories will flow endlessly. That’s your thought to ponder, and your prompt to get you wheeling. Enjoy your holiday as the season shift and we continue to become.
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”~ Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
October 31, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about how the wheels keep turning. Are the wheels tangible or metaphorical? Go where the prompt leads!
- Submit by November 5, 2022. Please use the form if you want to be published in the weekly collection. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines. Stories must be 99-words.
- Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form below. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
- Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
- Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
- Please include the hashtag #99WordStories when sharing the Challenge or Collection posts on social media.
Submissions are now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.