Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Unfolding with Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree"

by Mario Zeleny
“Anyone could see the wind was special this night, and darkness took on special feel because it was all Hallow’s eve.  Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades.  From kitchen windows drifted pumpkin smells; gourds being cut, pies being baked.

The cries behind the locked house doors grew more exasperated as the shadows of boys flew by the windows.  Half-dressed boys, greasepaint on their cheeks; here a hunchback, there a medium sized giant.  Attics were still being rummaged, old locks broken, old steamer chests disemboweled for costumes.”  by Ray Bradbury  from “The Halloween Tree” 

What is Unfolding?
It is a spiritual exercise designed to produce art and personal transformation from the hidden mysteries in your soul. 

Interested in learning how?
Please join us at our other site, Sancti Spiritus for the complete article on the Dark Art of Unfolding: How to Rock Your Art and Your Audience.

My Meditation
This is a free flowing paragraph of associated, fragmented thoughts and memories.

 The passage is from the perspective of an observer; someone already on the street.   “Old steamer chest disemboweled”—I am personally connected to this as we had a very old and large steamer.  We did disembowel it looking for costumes.  I can almost smell the singed pumpkin on our porch and smell the fireplaces so common that time of year, in my neck of the woods.  Funny... the huge steamer grew smaller as I grew older. 

This passage is one minute captured from every October 31st as a child.  Jesus/Death, Mary/Bride of Frankenstein, Dove/Raven- Holy and Hallowed.  One day a year we choose to seek out fear. The one day out of the year we want to fear.  It makes it totally different when it is our choice' the losses in the coming new year are not our choice.  Are we practicing… getting used to fear, making it our friend? 

The trick is we are really celebrating beginnings, not endings… gain, not loss.  One day a year we get to choose who we shall be.  Most of us choose carefully…we dig up some passion, some sensual attraction,  some secret and then we excuse it all because it is only pretend.  For some this one day a year, is as real as it gets for them… a great comfort in being who you really are or some aspect of it.  The rest of the year they bury their soul in a grave with someone else’s name… it is the rest of the year they pretend… what a long, long "night" of pretending. Perhaps Halloween is one day where we actually get close to being who we really are.  A night full of infinite possibilities… no wonder it is so horrible to have your parents tell you your costume must come off… 

You can’t wear that… You cannot walk down the street that way…  What shame… this one day a year and we are shamed.  Why don’t they just say, “We don’t like you”.  I was 10 and I wanted to be Gerald Ford- a goofy leader, like Chevy Chase and my dad had just the suit for it.  Fighting… Fighting…  Not approved… but I fought and I fought… to be who I was this very night and they grew tired and gave in. 

When I asked how I looked, “They said fine…” and that was my first Halloween trick… first lie that buried itself like some great old toad waiting for the rain of all Hallow’s Eve to summon up pure and unabated celebration of who I was, who I am and who I am becoming... to wear the suit until it hurts.


I remember long long exhaustive argument with my parents; the majority with my mother.  I remember she had a tongue whose words cut me to shreds.  Through pain my mother taught me the power of being a parent and just how much pain and devastation can be inflicted from someone who thinks they are doing the “right” thing.  

Silence was the only thing that helped, but I was even tortured for that. You cannot have an argument with someone who will not engage with you… so true. So then the yelling and the tirads turn into a torture chamber.  The kitchen used to be that room.  

If I responded, even with a look it gave birth to more terrible infants that she thrust out of her mouth.  Her words were Hell babies on bloody cords ready to snap at me like  Paranas.  I got eaten alive but never died.

This woman contrasted with who my mother eventually grew into being.  There were parts of my mother’s life that were very difficult for her.  She led a very active and yet sheltered life…there were realities that roared from a distance that they were coming for her and she met them head one.  She grew in love and in acceptance… she went from damnation to compassion and true love.

Yet,  those times in the kitchen are wounds I wear proudly.  They remind me of my own limitations and great power as a parent and though I get angry and I may not agree,  I make every attempt to never try to consume my children with living, terrible words.

My wound is open. See now one of my Halloweens!
click to enlarge- by Mario Zeleny

I don't feel I am finished but I am finished for now.  I would actually like to see this sculpted.


1. A Blog Post: The Dark Art of Unfolding: Rock Your Art and Your Audience

2. Another Halloween Gift Basket ($425 value).

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1 comment :

Magaly Guerrero said...

I want to close my eyes and see the "free flowing paragraph" become a story--you know how I think in stories ;-)

My writing is my therapy. And I see how Unfolding can be soothing and nourishing to the soul...