AW Blogroll: Memories of The Halloween Tree

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters
The Halloween Tree, Salem 2008. By Beth

The Halloween Tree, Salem 2008. By Beth

This month, the Absolute Write blog roll decided to follow the prompt of “anything related to autumn or Halloween.” I was preceded by Angyl78 and will be followed by Trulyana!

October. The one month of the year to inspire such varying images. The innocence of childhood and the deep dark of the world lock horns, struggling to gain importance. So, which is it? A holiday for the children or for the adults?

Growing up, I made a Halloween tradition for myself. I would read Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree every October. This story, about a group of friends who rescue their friend Pip, is more than just a book. It’s about realizing childhood must come to an end.

I haven’t read The Halloween Tree in some time, not since my freshman year of high school. As I look back, I’ve discovered just how much that book meant.

I first read it in early middle school (or perhaps the fifth grade) after viewing the movie version one fateful Saturday. I didn’t know who Bradbury was. The histories and traditions described in the book drew in the budding amateur mythologist. I enjoyed it, intrigued by the worlds explored. So it continued until high school, when I no longer took part in this ritual.

I wish to read it once again. To experience the story I knew then and the story of deep friendship, maturation, and sacrifice I recognize the book to truly contain. The friends mature, they band together, they lose their innocence, they discover their own mortality. To the characters and me, Halloween is now more than costumes and candy. It’s life, death, everything tied up in one night.


1. Lost Wanderer –
2. Claire Crossdale –
3. Angela 785 –
4. Ravencorinncarluk –
5. Angyl78 –
6. shethinkstoomuch –
7. trulyana –
8. Bsolah –
9. freshhell –
10. Ralph Pines –
11. aimeelaine –
12. HigherEdUnderground –
13. Cath –
14. DavidZahir –

Book recommendations, or, why I’m not terribly good at giving them to most girls

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters, What's On the Bookshelf?

If you hadn’t gathered by the name of the blog, my name, or the little cartoon, I’m a girl.

And I read constantly.

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions, “Gee, Beth, you like to read. What would you suggest that I/my daughter read?” by girls, usually a couple of years younger than I (or geared for girls younger than I).

“Well,” I ask, “what do[es] you/she like to read?”

Inevitably the answer is “Nothing” or “Twilight/Gossip Girl.”

“Urm,” says I, “I liked to read Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin Series when I was a freshman in high school. Y’know, Napoleonic war stuff.”

“What else did you like?” they ask, hoping for something that does not feature small print, and a ship of the line on the cover.

“Ray Bradbury. Um, historical mysteries. Not really much girly stuff. I did read Meg Cabot in middle school, though. Maybe that?”

Short stories, fairy tales and writer’s block

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

They’re slipping from my fingers. Plots, characters, dainty ideas and robust ones. Try as I may, I fear that I cannot hold onto them, or bend them to my will.

As The Continent is still in its planning phases, I decided to work on some short stories and maybe some flash fiction (stories under 1000 words). But as I put my pen to paper, I have nothing.

Could it be that I’m just out of practice? Despite writing daily for over a year (not to mention those years through high school and early college), I haven’t composed much in terms of completed stories, only the novel and three quarters of a rather blah fan fic. I need practice with pulling together a tight story. Why does my Muse abandon me like this?

On the plus side, I’ve decided to do “research”, otherwise known as reading a whole lot, and hoping that some good comes of it. There’s no one quite like Ray Bradbury when it comes to short stories.