Art & Halloween: Pumpkins & Parades

Halloween is not a holiday I care to celebrate. It’s dark. It’s gory. It’s based on rituals and beliefs that certainly aren’t mine. However, I couldn’t help but take notice of these fun Halloween-related and art-related posts in recent days. Not dark. Not gory. Just more great ways to get creative!

Masterpiece costume parade – Wow, oh wow! This video blew my mind the first time I saw it. There’s something very surreal about seeing something that’s generally still and flat become a moving, part-of-your-own-world form. How fun would it have been to develop and don these costumes?!?

Mandala pumpkins – Watch out craft stores, when fake pumpkins go on clearance this week, I’m making a run on them! I haven’t drawn mandalas, but thanks to the influence of artist Lisa Congdon and the inspiration of Marshallese weaving, I’ve tried my hand at similar designs. Now to apply that practice to a 3D object, such as a pumpkin!

Toilet paper pumpkins – I remember my mom making something similar with her homemakers group some years ago: pumpkins made out of toilet paper rolls. I thought it was super silly at the time… now I want in! Next step? To collect some funky fabrics, as well as some sticks from my yard (and to watch for some super sales on the ol’ two-ply!).

Gratitude pumpkins – There are the big pumpkins we choose to carve, then there are the ones that are just cute or cool also taking up festive residence on our front porch. This year, rather than watching them rot with the rest, I’m going to start a new tradition: making gratitude pumpkins for the much more important holiday of Thanksgiving. I have the perfect little white one on which to jot down the people and things and experiences for which we are grateful. Maybe I’ll even use some unique hand lettering on it to help exercise my art muscle!



By Sofa or by Sea

I knew by the title it was the right magazine, but I had to take a moment to study the cover photo. A fishing boat. Four attractive and physically fit people. And one of those metallic, pointy-nosed fishes hanging between them.

In the end, the photo selection made perfect sense, despite its being on the front of a popular literary mag. The individuals flanking the 130-pound marlin were none other than Ernest Hemingway and his pals, all enjoying an adventure together off Key West.

Writers’ adventures. They’re the focus of the latest Poets & Writers magazine. The March/April issue spells out how we can take our writing interests to a whole new place–the literal kind of place, that is. From writing residencies to intimate retreats to faraway festivals, the magazine’s contributors tout the top travel opportunities for writers.

Talk about opportunities–my husband and I are in the thick of adopting a baby from the Marshall Islands, a collection of twenty-nine serpent-shaped “atolls” located in the South Pacific. We’ll be there for six or so weeks getting to know our child and his/her birthfamily, and I’m certain the trip will offer much food for thought and fuel for writing. It will be one heck of an “adventure”… but that’s not to say just sitting on the other side of the sofa tonight couldn’t inspire some fresh perspective.

So what makes an adventure, an adventure? I believe that the experience of travel can help beef up our lists of story ideas. But, in the end, it’s an adventurous spirit that sustains a good writer.

WRITING PROMPT 1: Begin a story or poem with “I took a trip to…”

WRITING PROMPT 2: Write about one of your favorite adventures.