I carved myself a Hallowe’en pumpkin on Wednesday. It’s been years since my hands laid a knife to squash (for purely celebratory reasons, that is) and you know, it felt good. I wasn’t planning on doing it. In fact I told a friend a few days ago that I had no plans for Hallowe’en whether that be decorations, trick-or-treaters or crazy faced pumpkins. I live in an apartment, I said, no children live here. Besides, I am on the upper floor, decorations in my window would mean nothing. Jack-o’-lanterns are for others to enjoy as they pass by one’s door, it would be for naught.
I didn’t think about what I had said until two days later, the eve of Hallowmas. I realized that by saying “it would be for naught,” I was indirectly stating that I was unimportant: that my gaze upon a thing of beauty … well, sort of beauty, meant nothing. It was a subtle sort of self negation. Can I not create just for myself? Am I not worth it? I reflected on this until I finally said enough; got up from my comfy chair and walked to the store.
Now five p.m. on Hallowe’en is not the time to start gathering pumpkins. But intrepid soul I be, I made my way to the local IGA. As I wandered over to the vegetable stand my creative juices started to flow. The idea of creating for myself felt like an infusion of magic. My soul yearned for expression and I called on Thalia, the muse of abundance and comedy, to aid my desire. With barely restrained excitement I queried the grocery clerk as to where his pumpkins were hidden.
We are all out, he said. What? I exclaimed. My eyes widened as Thalia perked up and ran herd over my now unrestrained senses: no glossy jacinthe fruits of the vine? No deeply painted nacarat or lurid shells to carve? The clerk started to back away. Oh come on, I said, what about saffron or even a faded ochre husk that cries out to be cut (yet ever so creatively) open? I leaned forward to stress my point but it was too late, the vegetable man had already inched his way back, lost forever behind boxes of Poptarts and Lucky Charms. I harrumphed, they just don’t make grocery clerks the way they used to.
Not willing to give up I steered myself towards the root vegetables. Perhaps, I thought, maybe, I prayed, there would be another form of marrow that will tickle my fancy. And, sure enough, there among the petit pan and carnival, the buttercup and golden acorn was my little wannabe Jack — a flavescent petit dumpling with splendid stripes of glaucus and a subtle croceate. I grabbed him by the nape of his stemmish neck, paid my $2 and ran home with visions of devilment dancing in my head.
It took less than five minutes to perform the lobotomy and, after a few moments of decisive pondering, I quickly slashed left, then right and scooped a bit here and a little bit there. An evil eye now watched me as I gave him a leer and pronounced him complete. With a strike of a match my homunculus was born: a beautiful creation for a person of beauty (that would be me) to perceive.
Happy Hallowmas to you all!