Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Rainy Days, October Dreams
I have had a surfeit of gray days. It’s been raining for nine days, and the forecast says we can expect it to continue for another five. We’ve moved from drought conditions to rainfall of historic proportions, bringing sinkholes in Interstate highways, washed out bridges, and school closings. I am casting a wistful eye toward October with its blue, blue skies. It’s strange that the autumnal season, that prelude to the shroud of winter, should fill me to the over brimming with life. Nothing seems impossible in October. No task seems undoable; no dream seems out of reach. I love a line from poet W. S. Merwin: “I have been younger in October / than in all the months of spring.”
So sitting inside on this surly September afternoon, I am dreaming of October and the joys it will bring. First, I have set another monthly goal of 30,000 words. If I did it in September with all these gray days, (only another 4054 to reach my ULYS goal), I should certainly be able to do it in glorious October. I want to start the month with a burst of words by writing 3000 on October 1. Then there’s Halloween at the end of the month. Halloween is well down on my list of favorite holidays, but it’s always fun to see the Grands in costume. Between the start of my personal writing marathon and the invasion of the trick-or-treaters, there are at least a dozen other things to celebrate.
October 1 is Homemade Cookie Day. Now that’s a holiday that demands participation. Thumbprints are a family favorite, and they look so pretty they make me feel far more accomplished a baker than I really am.
While I’m eating thumbprint cookies, I plan to read my first Christmas book of the year, the anthology The Heart of Christmas, which includes “This Wicked Gift,” a novella by the fabulous Courtney Milan. CM’s debut merits a major celebration.
October 6 marks the publication date of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847), a book that captivated me the summer I was ten and one that I have reread countless times since then. I have also read connected books like Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea and Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair, but I plan to pass on any contemporary redos in which Rochester is a vampire, a shape shifter, or a demon.
October 8 marks the date Lord Peter Wimsey married Harriet Vane in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Busman’s Honeymoon(1937). As a devoted fan of Sayers and her most famous characters, I definitely find this anniversary worthy of a toast or two.
October 13, 2008 saw Caitlin Elizabeth, Grand #7, enter the world, red-faced and screaming. A year later, she is bright and beautiful, no longer red-faced but still able to scream with the best. And she makes every day a joyous one.
October 17, the third Saturday in October, is Sweetest Day, a day to make someone happy, a day to appreciate family, friends, and anyone who makes our lives better. And the traditional gift? Chocolates. I plan to encourage everyone I know to celebrate Sweetness Day.
October 23 will find me in a movie theater watching Amelia, the story of pilot Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to attempt the daring nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. A movie about a real-life heroine played by Hilary Swank, an Academy-Award winning actress, surely deserves to be noted.
October 27 is another Super Tuesday in romance publishing. I’ll be on a book search to find Captive of Sin , Anna Campbell’s new tale of an H/H with secrets and sizzle; Tessa Dare’s A Lady of Persuasion, the third book in her first series and one that led Romantic Times to make it a Top Pick and to praise Dare’s “stellar storytelling"; Suzanne Enoch’s The Care and Taming of a Rogue, which introduces a new series; Lorraine Heath’s Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel, book 4 in her Scoundrels of St. James series; Susan Mallery’s Hot on Her Heels, the fourth book in her Lone Star Sisters series—Garth and Dana’s story; and Nora Roberts’s Bed of Roses, book 2 of her Wedding quartet. Eloisa James has already proclaimed it a great read. Any one of these books would be enough for me to take a reading holiday; together they make the last Tuesday in my favorite month a red-letter day. I’ll be looking for one more book that day: To Love a Wicked Lord by the late Edith Layton. It’s her last book, and I’ll buy it with regret that it is the last but with gratitude for the many, many years of books worth celebrating that Lady Layton gave me.
October 30 is another family birthday. Grand #3, Mitchell Thomas, our athlete, artist, animal lover, and story teller, turns eight. Just thinking about him makes me smile. You can bet I’ll be celebrating that he’s made 2920 days special.
October 31, 1795 was the birthday of John Keats. He’s a perfect poet for a romance reader/writer to celebrate on the last day of October—a romantic with a tragic love story who wrote some of the most sensuous lines in English poetry, among whose most famous poems is an ode “To Autumn” that begins: SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness, / Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.”
Ahh! October celebrations! Dreaming about them brightens today's sullen skies.
What’s your favorite month of the year? What will you celebrate in October?