Monthly Archives: October 2021

Mysteries Abound

Hallowe’en approaches and the Days of the Dead that follow: All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Dia de Los Muertos, I Morti. These have always been some of my favorite days of the year, ever since I was a kid. My excitement is all too apparent this year in all the events––virtual and otherwise––I’ve got in the works this week and next. Here’s my official invitation to you to be part of as many as you wish. Here they are:

The Convivio Dispatch for Hallowe’en
Writing an annual story for All Hallow’s Eve has become a long standing tradition of mine. If you are subscribed to my other writing project, the Convivio Dispatch from Lake Worth, then you’ll be receiving it as a gift via email in the next few days––perhaps Thursday, in the very witching time of night, or Friday, or even Saturday. It all depends when on when I think it’s done. And it’s almost there. This year’s Convivio Dispatch for Hallowe’en is a gently ghostly story… and certainly more mysterious than spectral. It’s about my favorite local celebrity, who lived and died here in Lake Worth many decades ago. To receive the story in your inbox, click here to subscribe to the Convivio Dispatch (you’ll also get to read a sample from a few Hallowe’ens ago). You can always unsubscribe your story arrives (though it would surely break my heart).

Book Arts 101: Autumn Spell
I filmed a 45 minute video earlier this week: me in a casual ramble, featuring some of the spookier and more mysterious items at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, where I work. It’s a fun visit, filled with fascinating artists’ books and paper engineering and a bit of poetry, too, and some books that you may not think of at all as books. Fascinating, eye opening… and more than a little mysterious. Click here to watch.

Stay Awake: Bedtime Stories for Kids & Sleepy Adults
My newest project for the Jaffe Center for Book Arts is a online bedtime stories project, and it launches today! Our first story is performed by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk, who brings us his abridged version of Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Jonathan’s version is called The Misadventures of Ichabod Crane, and it was filmed at Sleepy Hollow’s Historic Old Dutch Church. I really think you’ll love it; it’s really well done! And if this series interest you, I’d love to hear from you. We’re looking for sponsors for future Stay Awake stories, as well as readers and writers and storytellers. I’m so excited about this, and this first episode is just excellent. Click here to watch.

Real Mail Fridays Halloween Social
Also as part of my work at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, I host a weekly virtual letter writing social every Friday from 2 to 5 PM Eastern. This week’s social just happens to have a Hallowe’en theme with a soundtrack that is all autumnal and a bit mysterious, too. We have a small but loyal group each Friday of folks from the US and Canada, and though it’s billed as a letter writing social, the people who show up do all kinds of things. Friday you might be carving jack o’ lanterns or making candied apples or haunting a house. What you do doesn’t matter to us as much as your company. We give you time to work on your projects, accompanied by a distinctive soundtrack, and once or twice an hour we break for a little chat. It’s amazingly heartwarming, and you can come and go as you please. Click here to join in. The Zoom link you’ll find there is the same each and every Friday.

Dia de Los Muertos Lake Worth Beach
It’s our first public appearance in a year and a half: we’ll have a booth, like we always do, at Lake Worth’s annual Dia de Los Muertos celebration on Saturday, October 30 from 3 to 9 PM outdoors at Hatch 1121, the art center between Lake Avenue and Lucerne Avenue just west of City Hall and the railroad tracks. Click here for more details. We’ll be in the Hatch courtyard with a booth filled with our traditional artesanías mexicanas!

Florida Day of the Dead
A few nights later, on All Souls Night (November 2), we’ll be at the Day of the Dead celebration in Fort Lauderdale. We’re not sure yet if our tent filled with artesanías mexicanas will be at the start of the event at Huizenga Park, or if we’ll be at the Craft Crypt at the end of the procession… but we’ll be there somewhere, and we won’t be hard to spot! Click here for more details.

I think that just about does it. If you’re local, gosh it would be nice to see you. We’ll still be masked and cautious at these two local events but for sure smiling widely underneath our masks. And whether you’re local or in some distant land, connecting with you via the Convivio Dispatch for Hallowe’en is one of my greatest pleasures. Especially if it helps you, too, tune into the mysteries of this time of year as the nights deepen and as the things of this earth focus their attention on gathering in. If you don’t hear from me here again until after All Hallow’s Eve… then to you and yours, I wish you a very happy Hallowe’en.



Carmel Valley Pumpkins, or Your October Book of Days

Six days into the month, and here is your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for October. I’d apologize for my belatedness, but you’re probably tired of my apologies. Rather, just enjoy the calendar. Cover star this month: a 1907 oil painting by Evelyn McCormick called Carmel Valley Pumpkins.

And just like that here in Lake Worth, where last week summer was still in charge, now the shadows are lengthening and the days feel lighter, breezier. The air may not be crisp, but it is drier, and that counts for something.

So it’s official: We’ll be making our first public market appearance this month since February, 2020. Find us on Saturday October 30 at Dia de Los Muertos Lake Worth Beach, our town’s annual celebration for Day of the Dead. Same place as usual: Hatch 1121 just west of the railroad tracks between Lake Avenue and Lucerne Avenue. Masks are required (and I don’t think they’re talking about calavera masks in this case). This joyous celebration runs from 3 to 9 PM, and although this year it’s being held the day before Hallowe’en, keep in mind this is not exactly a Hallowe’en thing. None of the silly trappings that have befallen our contemporary Hallowe’en: no blood, no gore, no sexy nurses, no horror movies. Dia de Los Muertos, rather, is a celebration honoring those who have come and gone before us and a joyful acceptance of what lies ahead for us all. It is the time each year when I am most proud to be part of this Lake Worth community. Click here for full details. There will be ofrendas, music and dance, and we’ll be there with plenty of our authentic Artesanías Mexicanas!

We’re also teaching our Calavera Prints! workshop this Saturday from 2 to 5 PM at Hatch 1121 as part of the celebration. You’ll learn a simple process to make José Posada inspired linoleum cut prints… a process you can continue at home without a press. We will, nonetheless, have our Nolan Tabletop Press at Hatch this Saturday, along with some historic wood type, to give you an authentic letterpress experience. You don’t need to be “artsy” to do this, and you don’t even need to know how to draw. I’ve got some great tricks up my sleeve, trust me. The workshop cost is $65 and you do have to register ahead of time: click here for full details and to register. The class is limited to 8 properly masked participants.

One last thing for today: at our online Convivio Book of Days Catalog, take your choice this week of two sales we are running. First up: Mom is now 95 years old. Her birthday was on Sunday, and to celebrate, we’re having a sale on her Millie’s Tea Towels line of hand embroidered flour sack tea towels. Save $9.50 when you buy any four of Millie’s Tea Towels (or one 7-day set), and get free domestic shipping, too, when you use the discount code HAPPYBIRTHDAY at checkout. Find Millie’s Tea Towels at the new Linens & Textiles link on our catalog page. Shop here!

And if you need to stock up on any of the other wonderful things we sell, you’ll save $10 on your purchase of $75 on everything in the shop with discount code STREETFAIR, plus get free domestic shipping. Everything means everything! Artesanías Mexicanas for Dia de Los Muertos, sparkly new Advent calendars from Germany, German and Swedish woodcrafts for Christmas, and lots more. Shop here!

Image: “Carmel Valley Pumpkins” by Evelyn McCormick. Oil on canvas, 1907 [Creative Commons, via Wikimedia Commons].