With Halloween in the air, I got to thinking about how much influence holidays have on my writing. There is something in the air when a major holiday comes around. You know, like Christmas and Halloween. Hell, I’ve even been inspired to write by Easter and the Fourth of July. Weird, right?
Which isn’t to say that I can’t write a horror story anytime other than October. But during this month, with all the decorations popping up, seeing the skeletons and ghosts swaying in the tree branches, the glowing jack o’lanterns glowing eerily on the front porches, well, it stimulates my creativity. Sort of like a jolt of caffeine in my system.
I usually start reading something spooky (currently, Songs of a Dead Dreamer by Thomas Ligotti) and I catch up on some scary movies (example: Oats Studios Volume One, a collection of freaky short films by Neil Blomkamp). All this input gets my mind churning, the creative muscle flexing, and my dreams…well, my dreams are something else. Dark, disturbing, creepy. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve written three new short story drafts in the past two weeks.
It’s not just Halloween. I’ve written a draft inspired by the Day of the Dead. And yes, that’s something different than Halloween. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a Mexican holiday that honors the dead…friends and family that have died. It’s a colorful, upbeat holiday. And there’s mezcal.
A few years ago I was watching a Christmas special on TV (I’m not sure which one, there are far too many) and the portrayal of Santa Clause got me thinking. The character was supposed to be a typical Santa, but something about the actor portraying him was a little…off. Of course me, with my habit of going down dark corridors, started thinking that maybe Santa isn’t who we think he is. So I wrote a story.
I find it interesting that we can be inspired to write a story at any time of year. Doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, rainy or dry, sunny or cloudy. But at certain times of the year the influence is far greater. Sure, the decorations, programming, songs on the radio, it’s all around us and we can’t help but be influenced by it. For someone like me, who enjoys writing weird and dark fiction, October becomes this steroid-filled month of inspiration, influence, and motivation. I like it.
Do you feel like the holidays, or specific holidays, influence your writing?