Happy Halloween! Oh Lord, that means NaBloPoMo starts tomorrow.

I admit I’m attracted to the fuss and buzz of NaNoWrMo, but I realized long ago that attempting to write a novel in 30 days would kill me. I’m sure I could type 50,000 words in a month, but they would be gibberish. I’ve been told the first draft of any work should be written hot and fast – in order to capture the passion of the story. Balderdash. (At least for me.) I’m an agonizer who rewrites every sentence several times before moving to the next – even though I know I may cut it in the end. I’m masochistic that way.

Not wanting to be completely left out of November’s writerly excitement, however, I have decided to accept the less commonly known challenge of NaBloPoMo – posting something to my blog every day, for 30 days … starting tomorrow.

I do not promise to make long posts. I will count photographs with short captions. And – the muse be willing – some of my posts will be simple announcements that more chapters of my work-in-progress have been revised and sent along to my first-readers.

Here are some other topics you can expect to see:

  1. the Ghosts of Anoka tour, which my fledgling paranormal study group took a few weeks back
  2. the post-tour meeting, in which generational and philosophical differences freaked us right the hell out
  3. my 13 Creepiest Movies of All Time list
  4. the possibly paranormal experiences I’ve had in my life thus far, including: Grandma Teacup,
  5. the house on Ferry Street,
  6. the blue lady,
  7. the poltergeist,
  8. the fey archway,
  9. the three haunted stairways
  10. and mothman above the pond
  11. my approach to being a paranormalist, and how I’m not like the ones you’ve seen on TV
  12. musings on the practical obstacles to investigating, and how I plan to get around them
  13. preliminary work on potential investigation sites
  14. the development of a paranormal investigation “template”
  15. equipment experimentation, exploration & explanation
That’s half a month’s worth of subjects – all related to the paranormal. Is that as it should be? After all, I’m not opposed to writing about bipolarity, horror, or chickens. Any requests or questions?

An expedition to a future haven which might, incidentally, be haunted.

I drove to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory yesterday – a place I love, but which has most definitely not been within the confines of my driving territory until now. (Yes I have a driving phobia. In fact, this little excursion is the first item I can scratch off my 101 challenges in 1001 days list.)

To be honest, I aim to use the conservatory to help manage my mood disorder. When winter closes in, and the cold sinks into my bones so deeply that even a scalding bath can’t warm me, I will make pilgrimages to the conservatory where I will bask in the sultry, loam-scented heat that can keep even orchid and papaya plants alive through vicious Minnesota winters.

My biolar II condition is dramatically affected by the seasons. I tend toward hypomania in the summer, and toward depression in the winter. October – like May – wreaks havoc on my equilibrium. The unpredictability of my moods at such transitional times is difficult for my family and friends, but I find the fluctuations exhilarating. I’ve noticed the winds are particularly fitful in these most seasonally iconic months. It amuses me to imagine I’m just dangling and spinning in each gust.

October, though, is harder for me than May. Even as I revel in the season of harvest and Halloween, I am alert to winter’s approach. Today was sunny and warm, but when I crossed into a patch of thin shade, the breeze turned chill enough to bite at my cheeks and fingers. I hurried into the sunlight and was gratified that I blazed the trail to my intended sanctuary yesterday.

On a related, creepier note, I did a bit of research when I returned from Como Park. It seems the land – which was purchased by the city of St. Paul in 1873 – has some interesting stories attached to it. I didn’t know it at the time, but my dog and I practiced tight heeling next to a lake in which a box containing an outlaw’s body was sunk, so that the flesh could rot away from the bones before the skeleton was given to an anatomist. I may have inadvertently stumbled onto a good site for a paranormal investigation. More on that in future posts. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of  The Dog, gazing at the conservatory.


Incubating my suddenly inevitable list of favorite horror films.

What is the most haunting film you have seen? Not the goriest, or most shocking, but the most compelling and eerie?

One of the best treats of October is the plethora of horror movies available to fans – at least to those with satellite TV and insomnia.

I finished viewing The Innocents (1961) this afternoon – because it unnerved me too much when I tried to watch it last night … and the night before. In it, a luminous Deborah Kerr plays a governess charged with caring for two … precocious children. It wasn’t perfect. (The acting too often slipped into a staginess that isn’t to my taste.) But, its weirdly sensual tone surprised and unsettled me.

It got me to thinking about the other great, creepy films I’ve seen – films which linger in my dreams and my fiction. I can feel a top ten (or thirteen) list bubbling in my brain. Help me remember the best of the best.