Some Halloween fun over at the website of 'The Penny Dreadful', that literary magazine of repute, who have announced the winners of their competition to tweet a seasonal horror story. You can read the top ten here (including one from yours truly) and many congratulations to the worthy winner, Laura Jane Cassidy.
I was travelling back from a trip to England today, so I'm not joining the fun at tonight's North West Words event in Letterkenny. Instead, I indulge a Halloween habit and re-read the prologue of John Burnside's stunning memoir, 'A Lie About My Father'.
Burnside is a staggeringly gifted writer of poetry, short stories and novels. His first volume of memoir opens with a haunting reflection on Halloween:
'I was brought up, not necessarily to believe, but to allow for the possibility that the dead come back at Halloween; or rather, not the dead, but their souls: whether as individual wisps of fading consciousness or some single aggregated mass, it didn't matter. All I knew was that soul was there, in one of its many guises: ghost or revenant, breath of wind, figment of light or fire, or just some inexplicable memory, some snapshot filed away at the back of my mind, a picture I didn't even know I possessed until that moment.'
This is perfect prose for the season, and I never tire of reading Burnside, and then reading again more slowly and with appropriate attention. It is always a rewarding experience. If you would like to know more, the Scottish Poetry Society have some background and poetry on their website.