Friday, October 30, 2020

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

This is a strange year for trick or treats or any kind of celebrations, but still, you can always dress up in a fun costume and embrace your alter-ego.

I do believe that artists are very good at this, because we've had a lot of practice.  In a way, all art is a form of playing pretend.

Just consider Cindy Sherman who completely transforms herself to become a character that she can then morph into and compose a photographic tableau in a completely self-constructed environment.

Musicians wear costumes all the time--even the grunge artists of the early 90's created an identifiable style that became a part of the music and the legend.  Think about Kurt Cobaine's mohair cardigan and his Breton sweater.  Oh, and then there's the wacky sunglasses.

And of course, Courtney Love is the queen of the tiara wearing dishabille look.

What you might not realize is that writers wear costumes.  I adore how Jenna Blum, the author of Those Who Save Us, The Stormchasers and The Lost Family will get into character for her book events.  In fact, she'll wear an outfit that reflects the subject matter of her book.  Here's a picture from Jenna from her author tour for The Stormchasers.  You can see, she completely gets into character!


The truth is, I've been writing in character from the very beginning.  Here's a photo of me from 1977 with my friend and artist Marjorie Van Halteren.  This was taken in New York City when we performed in our original show "Poetry in Motion."  We were already trying out the French thing.  And, forty-plus years later, Margie is a sound artist, produces shows from her home in France.  And I am still dressing up like an American version of a Parisian by way of 1950's Beatnik style.  (Oh, and that cigarette I'm holding is not REAL!)


And you know what, I do believe that this artistic approach to costume wearing runs in my family.  I took this photo of my daughter in 1995 when she was eleven. She was a fairy for Halloween that year, but she wore her fairy wings all year long—for years—even into her years at Educational Center for the Arts--an amazing art high school in New Haven, Connecticut.  The artistic community embraced her quirky style, and loved her fairy wings!

My daughter taught me so much about style and the art of costume.


And this brings me to your creative prompt.  Find yourself a great costume, a disguise, a super power.  If you're working on one particular story or painting or project, why not fully embody it by wearing a costume?  Or, if that's too much, how about an interesting prop?  How about a pair of wings?  Or a striped Breton top?  A hat?  A tiara?

And here's a sentence to get you started:

"She knew the truth.  She could fly."

Have fun,


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