How Halloween Came To Be

Demon Sunset

All Hallow's Eve is the day before All Hallow's or All Saints' Day, which is a Christian holiday (holy day) honoring all of the saints–in particular, those who do not have a specific feast day of their own on the Christian calendar.

Because cultures around the world seem to recognize at least one day of the year when demons and the like run amok on earth, it's not surprising that Christians should also have such a designated day.

The specific date on the Christian calendar is probably related to a religious celebration–likely with the same theme–conducted by one or more of the indigenous pagan religions in Europe prior to the advent of Christianity.

Because demons, devils and other wicked things come to earth on this night, it is up to you to ward them off with bonfires and by other means, lest they do evil to you. In the middle ages, Hallowe'en was serious business; people actually worried about their safety.

Over time, some people eventually began dressing up as demons (dressing up for various holidays was actually quite common in the middle ages) and other people ritualistically bought them off with food offerings.

Of course, over time, we have become divorced from the religious practice and Halloween is now viewed as a secular holiday (although the term "secular holy day" is an obvious oxymoron).

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My Dating Deal Breakers

Doesn’t pay for the first date.
Sorry, but the man pays for the first date (if we get to two dates, I offer to treat the next time, so it equals out).

Lesson for men: if the woman offers to pay her share, say, “No, no, I’ve got it.” I offer to pay my share–because I think it’s rude to assume that the man’s going to pick it up–but he better NOT take me up on the offer. It’s a test, men; politely decline the offer.

And all you feminists who get angry when the man wants to pay, shut the hell up and learn how to be gracious and grateful when someone gives you a gift; you’re ruining things for the rest of us.

Holds open doors.
If a man can’t be courteous, and act like he’s paying attention to me, then I’m not interested.

Again, women, be courteous and allow men to do this (I hold open doors for elderly people and people who are struggling with full hands; it’s politeness to offer and to accept; it has nothing to do with helplessness or subservience).

Wants sex.
Sorry, this isn’t something I do on first dates (or for subsequent ones either; I want a relationship first). And if I say no, I don’t want it, don’t beg or otherwise try to press; let it drop, or I’m going to think you’re not in control of yourself or able to think of anything else.

Is rude or impatient with anyone.
Everyone–male or female–can be judged by how they treat their inferiors. If anyone is rude to the waitstaff, taxi driver, doorman–whoever–that’s not a person I want to be with, because I’m likely to be the recipient of that same treatment in the future. Even if service is piss-poor, it’s up to the man to show patience. Laugh it off or grumble about it a little bit good-naturedly, then let it go.

Is unclean.
Men do not have to (and should not) bathe in cologne (when in doubt, wear none at all), but they should be freshly bathed (including washed hair) and have on adequate amounts of deodorant. Women don’t necessarily expect men to smell good, but they do insist they don’t smell bad.

Also, table manners. Use your napkin frequently and eat politely (eat as if your mother or grandmother was with you). There’s nothing more unattractive than someone that eats like he’s at a pig’s trough or has food on his face that he never wipes off.

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Writing Theme

Okay, you know how they say a picture is worth 1,000 words?  Well, here’s your chance, in 1,000 words or more (that’s about 2 pages) to explain this picture.  Write a story using it as a base.  It could be in the voice of the other shoppers, it could be from the POV of the packages of meat, it could even be about this woman (please don’t make her pants talk, because no one wants to hear that story).  Is she crazy, or did she just forget to do the wash and lay out something to thaw for supper?  Does she fall under the “no shirt, no service policy?”

October 22, 2010 – A Question of Faith

So yesterday I started downloading what turns out to be a semester’s worth of lectures on Jewish history.  Obviously a good thing for me to be studying, given that Joshua lives through the past 1,960 some-odd years of Jewish history. 

So I listened to it in the car this morning (I listened to too much French yesterday; I was speaking random French words in my sleep), and I had some interesting thoughts.  My first being, “This is a college professor’s lecture….  People paid money to get this education and went to school and everything, and I’m listening to it for free in my car.  Mwahahaha!” 

My second thought was more directly related to the lecture.  Rabbi Spiro makes some interesting statements about the Garden of Eden not really being an actual physical place (like a vacation at a Caribbean nudist colony), but rather it was existing in perfect harmony with God.  And since Adam and Eve got kicked out (because they didn’t uphold their end of the bargain–they turned their attention away from God and engaged in earthly cares), humanity has struggled to try and return to that state.  Because perfect union with God (what Buddhists term “Nirvana”) is what humans want above all else; that is what will make us completely and totally happy.

I guess you can’t expect Jewish history not to contain religious insights, but it was a  surprising tidbit nonetheless–not the least of which is because I have never looked at the Fall from Grace in that light before.  There’s a reason why I have Jewish characters in my books–I find Judaism fascinating.  I love the way Jews look at the Bible; it’s very different than the way I was raised (Baptist), which is never to question anything, because lack of faith = highway to hell.  I subscribe to the Jewish idea that questioning actually makes faith stronger, because when you come up with answers, your faith is more solid than blind faith, which has no logical foundations.  

If you haven’t noticed–by the fact that my vampires have “Scriptures”–there is actually an element of religion in my books.  My vampires quote the Bible, pray, observe the Sabbath, etc.  It seems to me today that a lot of authors sort of skirt around religiousness in their books (unless it’s meant to be Christian-audience book, or similar).  One of the things I found disappointing about Twilight was that it came right up to religion, then danced around it.  Carlise was “spiritual,” but he appeared to exercise no religion in particular.  And Edward–who would have been brought up to be religious–had no real religious beliefs, other than he thought that he was probably damned for being a vampire.  No one made a good philosophical argument for their positions, no one quoted any religious scripture….  Mayer came right up to the big “G” word, but then chickened out and went spiritually apathetic–her characters believe in God, but don’t do anything about it.

I work with the assumption that vampires are the same people they were when they were human.  They do not suddenly become damned, depraved, morally-bankrupt beings overnight.  So people like Joshua–who was raised to be very religious–hold onto that religiousness.  While Micah and Anselm have drifted away from organized religion to some degree (Anselm, though, begins going to church with Kalyn in the second book), they still have a strong faith, and they’re not afraid to admit it.  I feel that’s more accurate to real life than most literary characters seem to be today.

Optimist or Pessimist?

n-scale cable stay bridge, 4 lanes

I am very definitely an optimist.  I always believe that everything will work out for the best eventually.

When my husband had to quit his job because it was making him physically ill, I had been unemployed almost two years and my unemployment checks were about to run out. He was worried, but I told him we’d make it work somehow. A month later I got a job and I make just enough to support us (and he is getting close to going into business for himself).

My husband used to make fun of me because he said I build scale-model bridges of scale-model bridges. But I think that is what contributes to my optimism: I feel like I always have a backup/escape plan. So even if things crap out, I know I can handle it because I already have a second (or third or fourth) plan in place.

I don’t really believe that any one thing will work out, but rather I believe that I will survive. I am a person who survives.

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