When I first came to live in the desert, I couldn't find
the seasons. I grew deeply depressed. As any human being, I needed the changes, the sense of reset and renewal. The changes were there, but I had to let go of my expectations and see them as they are. Seasons are very different in the desert. Not so much the fall of amber and russet leaves. It's more subtle, visually, so I didn't see the change.
I do now. It's in the air, and the birds. It's in the habits of the animals.
What affects me most powerfully is a change in the light. As an artist, light is something I'm very conscious of. Light determines the color of an object, how close or distant it seems. It can make something beautiful look frightening, or vice versa.
One rarely thinks of the desert as being a good setting for Halloween stories. We tend to want the images we've grown familiar with thanks to traditional stories and mostly, movies and television.
But Halloween stories can happen anywhere.
Let me tell you, the desert can be a very spooky place, especially when October arrives and the light changes.
So I challenge you. Let go of the Elm Streets with deep front porches and leaf strewn sidewalks. Think of a Halloween story that starts somewhere else.
Like a busy street in the heart of a city or a quiet desert house nestled against the mountains.
Let it start with a subtle change in light, a mild uneasiness. Some of the best stories written are set in ordinary places, where ordinary people have to come to grips with finding that the beliefs they held true, aren't.
I'd like to hear what you think about unlikely settings for scary stories.