Hey, everyone, remember me?! I’m still alive! Though I do have the worst flu in the history of mankind ever so it could go either way at this point. Ok, I’m sorry, that was massive exaggeration, I have a bit of a cold and I’m feeling very sorry for myself., I can’t see properly and my head feels like it’s full of cotton wool soaked in pain. However, what has cheered me up today is receiving this wonderful guest post from the lovely Anthony J. Rapino. Thanks to Mr. Rapino I am now considerably happier and totally in the mood for Halloween, if only he could cure my cold and persuade one of my cats to come and cuddle me then things would be perfect.
I do hope that you enjoy Anthony’s post as much as I did, I will leave you in his capable hands and I promise to be back soon, probably with something shark related (I’m so predictable).
I Love October
Anthony J. Rapino
October is here, and I am happy. When I tell people that I love October, autumn, and Halloween, they invariably say, “Well that makes sense. You are a horror writer.” The thing is they have it backwards. I don’t love this time of year because I’m a horror writer; I’m a horror writer because I love this time of year.
And that makes sense, doesn’t it? I want to feel--all year long--that lovely warm tingle that October brings. What better way to do that than attempt to recreate the imagery, scents, and atmosphere of autumn?
Some of my fondest childhood memories take place in October. I remember my elementary school used to (and maybe still does) bring a truckload of pumpkins to the cafeteria so the students could buy them on their way home from school. I used to live in Brooklyn, so this collection of gourds on cafeteria tables was the closest thing to a pumpkin patch I was likely to see. As memories often do, multiple years are all stuck together into one day of perusing pumpkins, choosing the biggest one I could carry, and heading home.
It’s not an exciting story. I wasn’t chased by bullies and forced to drop my pumpkin. I wasn’t abducted by a creepy interloper with a pocket full of candy corn. And yet this almost mundane memory has stayed with me all my life, because all it takes is a pumpkin and colored leaves for me to fall absolutely in love with life.
I have a 500 pound jack o’ lantern filled to the brim with these memories: the year my friends and I decided to have a horror movie marathon instead of going trick or treating (no easy decision as a kid), the year I nearly got creamed by a thrown egg, the year it rained and my mom held an umbrella over me so I could get to at least a few houses, the year I went to a party at the elementary school. These memories go on and on, forever coloring my adult Halloween experiences, because what I do year after year is try to recapture those same feelings I had when I was a kid.
When I ask a woman out to go pumpkin picking, or accompany me on a haunted hayride complete with hot apple cider, I’m hoping for a glimmer of those old feelings, and maybe a glint of the same in the woman’s eyes when she looks back at me. A moment of shared experience, a moment of understanding. Unfortunately, I’m more often met with a stare of incomprehension. A look that says, “Why not just go to the bar for a drink?”
I shrug these moments off because I know there are others like me out there. People who wake on October first with a burst of glee, and an ever growing pumpkin patch in their bodies, threatening to pull them apart with an uncontrollable love. People who have to eat pumpkin-flavored everything, and fill bowls with candy over a month in advance, and carve jack o’ lanterns, and watch horror movies, and simply soak it all in.
They do it for the same reason I do. And really, it’s no big secret.
They love October.
And I do too.
Anthony J. Rapino resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, somewhere between the concrete of the city and the trees of the forest. On occasion, you’ll find him moderating the feverish battles between the creatures of these two arenas. Whose side he’s on is anyone’s guess.
His newest fiction can be found in Black Ink Horror, On Spec, Arcane Anthology, Electric Spec, A cappella Zoo, Space Squid, TQR Stories, and carved inside a variety of autumn gourds. His short story collection, Welcome to Moon Hill, is currently available, as is his first novel Soundtrack to the End of the World. Proof of his psychosis can be found on his website: http://www.anthonyjrapino.com