Fall officially arrived on the Autumn Equinox, September 23rd, but here in my little corner of the world, it feels like it's finally settling in and getting comfortable with being here. I crunched through and kicked up my first puddle of leaves on Sunday, as I was coming up from the laundry room. There was a blue sky overhead, and the air had that crisp, clear smell. I think fall may be the only time that we enjoy the smell of something decaying... which is telling.
The Autumn Equinox is also known as Mabon to witches and druids, and it signals a preparation for the end of the year. It is a time for letting go of the things that weigh us down, and squaring up with our past. There are echoes of this theme in Yom Kippur, as well ... and they take place within days of each other. The Pagan year traditionally ends on Halloween, or Samhain, and begins on All Saints'/Souls' Day. The world has given its bounties up to us, and we celebrate with our ancestors before settling in with that bounty for the long winter.
At this point, you're likely wondering what all of this has to do with writing... especially those of you who may already be reading From the Desk of Buster Heywood and know that it starts in January, during a dreary, gray Connecticut winter. The answer is that time itself, and the season, are vital characters in a story just as much as a setting can be. Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables is a character, as is the titular town of Richard Russo's Empire Falls... and who would dare to not call Firefly's Serenity or Star Trek's Enterprise a character? They shape the story just as much as the people who live in them... and the seasons shape them.
Fall has always been my favorite season, because it has always felt like a magical time: nature shows off her colors to full extent here in New Hampshire, and the beginning of the school year was a time when everything started over again and anything - yes, anything! - could happen. Every new day brimmed with possibilities to learn, to grow, and to explore, and the air got comfortable and cozy. Long before Pumpkin Spice was Queen of All, there was apple cider, and the first smells of woodstove smoke, and costume-hunting. In October, you could be whoever you wanted, do whatever you wanted, and neighborhoods came aglow with flickering Jack-O-Lanterns and creepy-crawly things that bumped and swooshed and booed.
If October is magic, then what more perfect time to choose as the setting of the second novel, In The Cards? It is the beginning of magic's involvement in the world of Aviario, and it does not start out slow and small. There are mysteries to chase and unravel, threads which knit together to form a plot that you can wrap yourself up in like that favorite fall scarf. The town changes along with its leaves, and along with the reader's perception of it . As for Buster and his winter, I wouldn't dare spoil the reasoning behind that here ... you'll have to give the book a read and guess at that one yourselves.
What magic does fall hold for you? Or, if it's not your favorite season, what stirs the magic in your heart? Please feel free to drop me a comment and share.
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