I am not a big fan of Halloween, nor is my wife. Never have been. The masks we wear every day are troublesome enough for me. We do, however, love the Mexican dia de los muertos. The Day of the Dead appeals to me because it is an honouring of our dead, a conversation with our dead in a fun, not so scary way. It “…focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey…” It’s a time to honour our dead, to remember, to converse with, to pause in the midst of life…and think — Hey, I remember that guy…or, Yes, my mom liked to drink orange juice with vodka.
We make a small shrine in our house, with some small thing to help us remember our dead. I might have a vodka and orange juice for my mom. My dad’s Shrine fez is there. A picture of a cat, long dead. A book of poems about a friend’s mom. A tap shoe for a young dancer gone too suddenly, too shockingly. A waitress who was always kind. You get the picture. So, for the next few days, I may pause at times in a sort of reverie. I may be a bit down, or lost, or turned inward. dia de los muertos is why.
Traditionally: Nov. 1 is when you welcome the souls of children that have passed away, known as Día de los Inocentes (Day of the Innocents) or Día de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels). Nov. 2 is when the adult souls arrive.
“This is All a Lie” is in the world now, finding its way. It has been four weeks on the bestseller lists in Edmonton. I am hearing from people about it. And last week, there was an beautiful Edmonton launch at Audrey’s books on Jasper Avenue. Now I am in a lull and I am turned toward the elephant book. I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing — writing the next book.