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Halloween Haunts 2013: Autumn People by Loren Rhoads

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My October birthday is kind of a holy day for me. I try to take it off, spend it in a graveyard if at all possible. I’ve celebrated my birthday in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris (http://cemeterytravel.com/2011/04/06/cemetery-of-the-week-10-la-cimetiere-du-pere-lachaise/), in the Bone Chapel of Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic (http://cemeterytravel.com/2011/10/26/cemetery-of-the-week-38-the-bone-chapel-of-kutna-hora/), and in Colma, California’s Cypress Lawn (http://cemeterytravel.com/2012/04/11/cemetery-of-the-week-55-cypress-lawn-memorial-park/). Like the poet said, “Any day above ground is a good one.” If there’s sunshine and green grass, birdsong and statuary, or trees and flowers and poetry involved, so much the better.

Rhoads_BradburyLast year, I spent the morning of my birthday poking around Westwood Village Memorial Park near UCLA. (http://cemeterytravel.com/2012/10/31/cemetery-of-the-week-82-pierce-brothers-westwood-village-memorial-park/) I’d been to the cemetery once before, in the winter as night was falling, when it grew too dark to photograph anything, let alone find anyone other than Marilyn Monroe. I still had a wonderful time, sitting on a bench under a huge, spreading tree, listening to the night settle down in the big city.

I wanted to visit Westwood in the daytime, to see if I could find that same sense of peace. Better than that, I found the grave of Ray Bradbury.

Ray Bradbury is my literary hero. I’ve read his books to pieces. I’ve underlined and analyzed and memorized his writing. I had the opportunity to meet him only once. I was so tongue-tied I could barely tell him how much his work meant to me. Luckily, I think I was more eloquent as I stood over his grave, despite the tears in my eyes.

“For these beings, fall is ever the normal season,” he wrote in Something Wicked This Way Comes, the first of his books I read. “Where do they come from?” he asked. “The dust. Where do they go? The grave.”

It’s like he knew me. In the book, the autumn people are the bad guys, but I am an autumn person. I am headed to the grave, spiraling closer one year at a time, but every day in the open air is a blessing and a gift. It’s been a joy to have Ray Bradbury’s stories as company along the way.

I’m glad I finally got to tell him that.

Rhoads_bioRhoads_cover_WishYouWereHereTODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Loren is offering one digital copy of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel.

Giveaway Rules: Enter for the prize by posting in the comments section. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail. You may enter once for each giveaway, and all entrants may be considered for other giveaways if they don’t win on the day they post. If you would like to comment without being entered for the giveaway, include “Not a Giveaway Entry” at the end of your post. You may also enter by e-mailing memoutreach@horror.org and putting HH CONTEST ENTRY in the header.

LOREN RHOADS is the author of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. Both books are available from Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Loren-Rhoads/e/B002P905PE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1378785502&sr=8-1)

 

9 comments on “Halloween Haunts 2013: Autumn People by Loren Rhoads

  1. Pingback: Halloween Haunts 2013: Autumn People by Loren Rhoads+++++ Edgy, engaging, informative +++++ | +++++ Edgy, engaging, informative +++++

  2. I’ve always loved the title, THE AUTUMN PEOPLE. Your article made me realize that’s probably why I use “the shadow people” and “the water people” in a couple of my short stories.
    I know you enjoy touring cemeteries, but thank you for sharing this personal account.

  3. Pingback: Blogging Around | Morbid is as Morbid does

  4. I have always been a fan of Ray Bradbury’s “Something wicked this way comes” as well as the term “autumn people”. LoL…I wanted to be one of the ‘autumn people’ when I was growing up.

  5. Pingback: Halloween Haunts from the Horror Writers Association

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