Sunday, November 1, 2020

Writers’ Pantry #44: Of Death and Ghosts in Books

Sunday greetings, my dear poets and storytellers. I hope you and yours are doing well. I hope October wasn’t too insane for you. And I hope November brings better things to us all (in the case of the USA, I really hope that it brings a new President who isn’t despicable).

Speaking of despicable, I just finished rereading Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost and Other Stories. If you’ve read the title story, you might be thinking that I’m talking about the ghost when I use the word despicable. But no. I’m referring to the terrible kids who enjoy tormenting the ghost. The following quote tells us just how ready the ghost was to find some real rest, some peace:

“Yes, death. Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.”

While on the subject of ghosts, one of the poetry podcasts I listen to shared “Haunted Houses”, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The following stanza—the strong imagery, the word usage—stayed with me, so I thought I should share it with you:

There are more guests at table than the hosts
invited; the illuminated hall
is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
as silent as the pictures on the wall
.”

And I could never write about ghosts in books without mentioning at least one ghost in one of my favorite books. The book in question—One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez—is actually full of ghost, but I shall only quote a short passage (Mostly, because the words are such a wonderful example of my favorite author’s magical realism, that not sharing it might be a crime in some nations. Really):

“It was as if God had decided to put to the test every capacity for surprise and was keeping the inhabitants of Macondo in a permanent alternation between excitement and disappointment, doubt and revelation, to such an extreme that no one knew for certain where the limits of reality lay. It was an intricate stew of truths and mirages that convulsed the ghost of José Arcadio Buendía with impatience and made him wander all through the house even in broad daylight.”


I should probably stop boring you to tears with ghosts, and bring on the Pantry (I blame it on the lingering energies of the just gone Halloween and in the upcoming Dia de Muertos, which I plan to celebrate by stuffing my face with leftover pumpkin chili and a huge slice of skull cake). So, the Writers’ Pantry #44 is open. Let’s link poetry or prose. Let our contributions be old or new. One link per participant, please. And if you are going for prose, it should be 369 words or fewer.


- for the next Weekly Scribblings
, our Rommy would like us to craft our words around the phrase: “eye of the hurricane”. We can choose to do this literally or figuratively.   


photo by Toa Heftiba, on Unsplash

20 comments:

  1. I love Oscar Wilde's stories, and that's one I didn't even know about! Thank you, Magaly; I'll be hunting it up.

    Meanwhile, we should be thinking about renewal of life in this part of the world where I am, and not ghosts – but I did let a bit of, um, nostalgia creep into my poem.

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    1. PS One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of my favourite books too. And I think it's actually a great work of literature.

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    2. We shall keep the balance across the miles. Isn't it nice that the circle of life has different souls observing the different seasons at the same time? Balance is a good thing.

      And I agree, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a great work of literature. When I first read it, I had no idea that the author had received the Nobel Prize because of it. But when I was old enough to understand what the Nobel Prize was, I totally saw why the book deserved the recognition.

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  2. I love the Ghost of Canterville. But wait, I don't think I have ever read it.... I must be talking of the film then as I am actually stuck in The Picture of Dorian Gray. So many gems in there too. Thanks for mentioning One Hundred Years of Solitude. Sounds like a spooky read. It will be up in my TBR.

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    1. I have never seen the film! I shall keep an eye out for it. I bet it's wonderful. I hope you tell us your thoughts on One Hundred Years of Solitude after you read it.

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  3. Morning & Happy November, fellow storytellers! Hope you're all doing well. I'll be reading you soon.

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  4. Great choice of ghost stories, Magaly. I've been dipping into The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories and rediscovered one of my old favourites, 'The Kit-bag' by Algernon Blackwood. The one that scared the pants off me was 'Whistle and I'll Come to You' by M.R. James, which our history teacher read to us at school one Halloween. I nearly wet myself! I love writing them, too.

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    1. The M.R. James story sounds terrifying just from the title. There is something so ominous in the tone. Now I must find it! Like you, I love reading them and writing them.

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    2. I just checked Audible and discovered that many of M.R. James's stories, including "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come, My Lad" are free for members. I can't wait to get the pants scared off me! 😁

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    3. Oh, that's good news Magaly; thanks!

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  5. Happy Sunday, Everone


    Much💙love

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  6. Good day, everyone!
    i was watching 'The Haunting' on Netflix and Magaly had to remind me of this.

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    1. You know, I've read the Shirley Jackson novel that inspired the movie, but I've yet to watch the latter. Now, I might have to. I would hate for you to get spooked all by yourself. 😁

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  7. I loved your ghostly rambling, Magaly. It was a strange Halloween here in our over-55 community. There were no little goblins out and about and it was very quiet. It left me nostalgic for the excitement on our little street when my children were small. They were such happy times. Thanks for your ghostly diversion!

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    1. I am so glad, Bev. Things were quiet around here, too. Earlier during the day, we drove around to enjoy a glimpse of the decoration around the neighborhood. That was fun... and illuminating, too, since so many of the skeletons and pumpkin people we saw were wearing masks. At home, we made pumpkin chili and cornbread and told funny stories about our dead. It was quite and different, but it was nice that we could do it together.

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    2. I think fond reminiscences of one's personal dead the best part of Samhain/Halloween.

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  8. I for one am never bored by ghost talk. We had a chill Halloween around here. And I had the time to enjoy my observance of the day right before bed.

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    1. Of course you aren't bored by ghost talk. You are very cool. Cool people are never bored by cool talk--I have proof.

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