Have a Blessed Samhain (Happy Halloween)

The modern Halloween we are all familiar with is a combination of celebrations for the Gaelic Festival Samhain and the Catholic celebrations of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. Samhain marked the end of the harvest and end of Summer and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year. It was believed that the boundaries between this world and the Otherworld were more easily crossed on this day. This meant the spirits or faeries could travel to our world. It was also believed that spirits of lost relatives would visit, and feasts were had in their remembrance.

Part of the festival involved people going door to door in costumes or disguises reciting versus in exchange for food. The disguises were intended to either appear as spirits or hide from spirits who crossed over to this world. Bonfires, rituals, and games were a big part of the festival as well. Neopagans and Wiccans now celebrate Samhain as a religious holiday. Samhain is part of the annual cycle of seasonal festivals called The Wheel of the Year. It is seen as a festival of darkness which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the festival of Beltane, which is celebrated as a festival of light and fertility on May 1.

Here in Tucson, AZ we have the annual All Soul’s Procession celebrating the family members people have lost. However you celebrate; whether it’s remembering you lost family members, posing as a spirit and collecting offering from others, or enjoying a bonfire with friends, stay safe and have a blessed Samhain.

Wacky Wednesday: May 13

This is a new thing I’m trying. I haven’t fleshed out an exact concept for these kinds of posts. They may include some wacky stories. Things that sound absurd but are real. For now, I’ll share some wacky words. You can find these words in dictionaries. They have real meanings and some even have etymology for how they came to be. Some I had never heard of while others I use often in my everyday speech. There are several but today I’m only sharing a couple. Have you heard of these before? Tell me in the comments.

Lollapalooza: I’m certain most people are familiar with this word. It’s the name of an annual four-day music festival in Chicago, IL. The festival has been going on since 1991. Before 1991, the word already had meaning. It’s a noun meaning a person or thing that is particularly impressive or attractive. Another version of the definition says an extraordinary thing, person, or event. Do you know any people, books, events, movies, or songs you would call a lollapalooza? Try using it in a sentence next time you’re chatting with friends.

Sockdolager: This is a noun but is more slang and informal. It holds two meanings. It’s either a forceful blow or an exceptional person or thing. Its origin is said to be from the mid 19th century and may have evolved from the term sock. Anyone remember watching Laugh-In where they said, “Sock it to me!” as one of their many catchphrases? This phrase doesn’t roll of the tongue as well as lollapalooza but it’s still fun to say.

Do you know any other fun, wacky words? Leave them in the comments. I’ll try to have one or two new words each week.

The Pulitzer, Publishing, Contests, and Beta Readers


I mentioned a few posts ago that I had a short story accepted for publication on Jitter Press. I have recently had another story accepted for publication for another online magazine, Uncaged Book Reviews. As the title suggests, they write and publish book reviews. For their October issue, they were seeking a few short horror stories to include for this Halloween edition. I sent in a story and they’ve agreed to include it in the publication. There is no payment, but it’s great exposure and I’m looking forward to seeing my stories published in different places.

With the publication of my recent work of poetry, “Men Are Garbage,” I felt it had the right social commentary to be considered for The Pulitzer Prize in a collection of Verse. I paid the $75 entry fee and sent four paperback copies of the book to the people who judge works for the Pulitzer. I feel this is a gutsy move and I’m not confident that I have the skill to win. I submitted anyway just to say I did. I won’t know anything one way or the other until next Spring. I am happy to forget about it until then.

I plan to submit some work to a couple writing contests. One of them has not responded to my email with questions about guidelines and things and their deadline is quickly approaching. I may wait on that contest until next year and focus instead on the one for the Tucson Festival of Books happening in March 2019. Their contest submission deadline is the end of October giving me plenty of time. Their contest rules are also straight forward and don’t require me to email them questions. I can just submit once I have the money for the submission fees.

Speaking of saving up for submission fees, I’m working three jobs (sort of) not including anything I do for writing. I am a partner with Starbucks, a stagehand for Centennial Hall (the home of Broadway in Tucson), and I work with local nonprofits and artists with publicity and marketing. I have a full plate and still find time to do some writing. Some of my third job work in pro-bono too meaning I don’t get paid for all those things I do. However, staying busy keeps me from going insane or falling into the darkness.

I’ve also sent my novella to my small group of beta readers. I’ve gotten a little feedback which pointed out I still have many typographical errors to fix. This is why we have beta readers. Imagine if I had self-published this work anyway. I am grateful to the readers I currently have but I am always looking for more. You can find that information on my Beta Readers Page and also search for it on Facebook. Those are the current crazy updates and I’ll have many more. I’m still trying to figure out how to get some VaudVil shows going again. The future looks bright, busy, and exhausting.