Happy Friday The 13th
Happy Friday The 13th
Inspired By The Bancroft Prompt: Fantasy Destinations :
If I could choose a painting to spend one day, one hour, or even a very long night inside of, I would choose a painting by Franz Von Stuck.
Because they are full of monsters and unhinged desire-in his works passion, fear and beauty are mashed up and then it all goes right off the rails.
If I had the chance to know what’s it’s like to be let off of my chain and run.
It’s a dream of mine to have the nerve to do that.
In planning my Von Stuck inspired Destination Trip even a trip to Hell is not out of the question.
I am captivated by the story the ” Inferno” tells because in this painting there are faces and bodies occupying ever square inch- even the flames seems to reflect the images of the damned.
Still, each figure is alone in it’s own way and oblivious to what is around them.
At least that I what I think and I am curious enough to ask them if that’s the case.
But that is Hell isn’t it? Feeling alone in an ocean of souls.
The worlds that Von Stuck created in his portraits have a sense of danger, adventure and humor- there is a lot of smiling going on in his works.
They’re wolfish smiles.
But does that matter?
Not to me, not if I’m planning my Fantasy Destination.
In fact, I would prefer to meet a wolf or two along the way.
Info On Paintings:
From The Red Death Project– meet one of Prospero’s Guests.
She’s getting into the Halloween Spirit of things.
If you knock on my door on Halloween
I promise not try to act scary.
Not that I can do that anyway because I wear glasses and I like to wear sweatshirts with dogs on them. Who would I be fooling? Not you, that’s for certain.
If you knock on my door on Halloween
I promise to only hand out the tastiest chocolates shaped like severed heads and bloody fingers and eyeballs with a sweet mushie surprise inside and the crunchiest Candied Sugar Bones you have ever popped into your mouth and ground between your teeth.
My candies wrapped in orange and black tinfoil and I make them myself.
I’m a very skilled candy maker.
If you knock on my door on Halloween
I promise I will answer the door the minute you knock
I’ll let you take as much candy as you want
and after you’re done and walking away
I promise that when I let my monsters chase you down the walkway- my werewolf, I call him Darwin, will probably get to you first-
cross my heart and hope to die- well- not me obviously-but I digress
I promise to not eat your share of candy, except for maybe the Crunchy Sugar Bones.
Those are my favorites.
If you knock on my door on Halloween
I can promise you this-all kidding aside, your Halloween Night will never end.
” Miss Venka! “
The stangers, a middle aged couple were as pale and watery as the sunlight that was filtering through my somewhat clean windows and into my small cool sparsely furnished sitting room.
I didn’t use it often because I don’t do much entertaining.
He rose from the settee and put his slice of cake- I noted with dismay- on the end table to his left.
She stood and set to her slice of cake next to his.
The portrait that hung behind them looked down in disapproval.
Then the tall thin watery couple both reached out to me with their pale bony hands and smiled, ” It’s so good to meet you at last Miss Venka ” they both said together.
” I see you enjoyed the cake- ” I waited for them to introduce themselves.
” Oh. Pardon us. Britta.” The woman said with tears lighting up her eyes ” Britta and Rasmus Rundstrom.”
” We hope you don’t mind . The man who answered the door invited us in. He told us to make ourselves at home. And then he left. Just like that. Well, we saw that delicious cake and the plates and forks.” Rasmus began the thought and then Britta finished it:
” We honestly couldn’t help ourselves.”
I sighed and shrugged. ” It’s fine really” I said not meaning it.
Our compliments to the baker Miss Venka.” Rasmus said ignoring the ice in my voice.” It was quite delicious.”
I ignored his compliment.
“That was my Father at the door. That Devil. He should have offered you some tea and almond cookies instead of leaving you with just that cake. It’s terribly sweet. The cookies would have been better.”
They didn’t say a word. They stood there expectantly.
” They’re imported.” I added. ” They’re quite good.”
I walked over to the sideboard where my now butchered cake was sitting.
I took up the cake knife and wiped it clean on a napkin.
” So what do I owe the pleasure of this nice…” I looked down at my cut up cake and sighed. ” Visit.”
” We’ve heard that you are a wonderful baker Miss Venka. Your sweets and pastries and cakes are famous.
I was confused. ” Famous for what?”
” From what we’ve tasted, it’s true.” Rasmus went back to the table and picked up his slice of cake.
He plunged his fork into this partially eaten slice and took another bite.
” It so sweet it touches your soul. It overwhelms your senses…” he sang out.
I stopped him before he went over the edge and lost his sanity.
” Thank you. I took the plate from him and sat it down on the little table. ” But I don’t cater events. I don’t bake for other people.”
” We can’t persuade you?” Britta asked. ” Are you sure? Money is no object and we are having a very important party. Your cake would be the highlight of the evening.”
” Very sure. I’m sorry. But my answer is no.” I said.
” I’ve never tasted anything so fine. It touched my soul Miss Venka. Truly. It’s the finest cake I have ever tasted.”
I thanked my guests and saw them out.
Then I went to the kitchen, which is light green and empty all but for a set of knives hanging from the wall and a single chair in the middle of the room.
I walked to the back of the kitchen and opened the door that led down into the basement.
” That was my favorite cake!” I yelled down into the darkness.
The door pulled itself out of my hand and slammed shut with a bang.
I walked back into my sitting room, which was dark now and a little chilly.
There were two new soulfully delicious cakes sitting next to my beautiful cake which fully restored to its uncut state.
I sighed and rubbed my eyes in relief.
I did not wonder if Mr and Mrs Rundstrom would be back, begging for more cake.
I did not wonder if they would ever question why they offered to give up their souls to the Devil himself for another bite.
I did not wonder if my Father who lives in my basement would take them up on that deal.
He collects souls the way other people collect stamps.
Of course. I don’t collect souls for the Hell of it, like my Father who is trapped in his old ways does.
I dabbed a little frosting from one of the new cakes on the tip of my finger and touched it to my tongue.
I closed my eyes and swooned a little.
I put them to better use than that.
There are times when I really enjoy being the Big Sister in my family.
The ‘being responsible’ thing really does blow, but do you know what the upside is?
You get to get away with a lot because as the oldest you get to blindside your inexperienced parents. Seriously, they have no idea about what is normal and what is not when it comes to kids.
Especially if your firstborn is a creative thinker.
Like, I have been exploring my family tree and I’ve come across a few interesting things- like one of my relatives was a solider in the American Revolution- something I don’t particularly crow about because the other half of my family were British and Canadian and why cause a bunch of my dearly departed to spin in their graves?
Anyway-meet Isaac Ross:
But a recent find tickled my Big Sister funny bone.
This is a distant cousin of mine named Bertram Douglas Godfrey- he was a Reverend.
Yeah. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that. The thing is, the Godfreys have been naming their sons Bertram since the 16oo’s- so finding another Bertram Godfrey wasn’t exactly a huge find- what I thought was great was that my Dad’s name is Bertram Godfrey and my little brother’s name is Douglas Godfrey.
So when I found a grave with both their names mashed onto the headstone I had a big laugh and great idea little brother’s birthday card or better yet a Christmas card because I am THAT kind of Big Sister and I can get away with things like that.
If you would like, in the photos below, you can meet Bertram Douglas Godfrey in his final resting place.
He lived and died in England, he and his wife and children lived in Australia for about three years and he served in the military for the British ( ahem ) in WW1
and he made me glad I am the kind of Big Sister who shall always do and revel in being and doing the kind of silly stunts that Big Sisters do:
Anita Marie Moscoso
Anita Marie Godfrey
You can find the Devil
you know where to look:
( Click the smaller picture to read an article about how to see
the devil in the woman’s shawl )
Interesting fact- the artist said there is no Devil in the shawl- but he did paint the ghostly, if not devilish face looking in through the window over the woman’s shoulder.
By design or not, I think this is a great example about how stories and art
take on a life of their own.
Of course if that life is odd and macabre and a little wicked- well, it does not get much better then that, does it?
So when people ask me if I got inspiration for my tales of the macabre from
working in a funeral home- the answer is no.
Do I get inspiration from those roads I used to ride my motorcycle down- the ones that you could say are in ‘ghost towns’ did I find it in the abandoned houses the ruined cemeteries the dark corners of churches and morgues.
Not so much.
I find that my strangest ideas come from
I haven’t always wanted to be a writer- I have always wanted to be a storyteller.
There’s a thin line that separates the two things and if you fall on one side or the other I don’t think it matters. But for me the difference is a big one and this is the reason I chose to become a storyteller.
My family comes from the side of the world- not only from where we live now but from the places we came from too ( The Philippines and England/Scotland ) but they have one thing in common.
They love to hear stories and if you’re lucky you are one of the people who can tell a story that everyone will listen to.
To me that was a coveted spot in our family hierarchy. You get lots of attention and a certain amount of notoriety because to this day I can tell you who the good story tellers in my family were.
They were colorful, they were always a little odd and when they died everyone was convinced they came back as ghosts and haunted the houses they lived in. They entertained us in life and death.
To set the stage, this is how the storytelling came together ( which was the same for both sides of my family ):
The lead up to the stories was the same- after dinner or after wr finished dessert, someone would close the curtains or light the fire ( during the winter ) or turn on a fan ( if it was summer ) and then one person would say ( for example ) ” You know that house where Mother’s friend died a few years back? Well, I was walking my dog past there and something really weird happened…”
My entire family loved those ghost stories, they liked funny ones too.
Like when my Great Aunt was a teenager someone thought it would be a great idea to send her Community Choir Group ( which consisted of young ladies ) into a men’s prison to perform music.
My Great Aunt also played the banjo and apparently she was a big hit at “The Pen”
I remember after she told us about that performance we all waited for a punch line or something. I mean. I was about 6 when I heard that story and even then I knew Men’s Prisons were, well, nasty places.
So I said, ” Did they like your Banjo? ”
For some reason everyone started laughing- but believe it or not from that event on when I told stories about my dog or my adventures with my best friends Bonnie and Linda ( we got into trouble once for digging up our Mother’s gardens because we were looking for Vampires ) every single adult in the room would let me spin my tale.
My Grandpa used to say I was a natural storyteller and that he loved the way I put words together- he said I made them fit even if I had to pound them into place like the way you do when you force puzzle pieces together.
He also said that after I got done telling one of my stories, pretty much everyone was ready for a drink and that they figured one day I’d be a lawyer, a writer or my picture would be hanging up in Post Offices and at the FBI where they put up pictures of the ” Most Wanted.”
After I learned to read and write I did got to town with the storytelling. I wrote all of the time and then after I got married I stopped writing. I’m not sure why but I guess I didn’t see myself as a storyteller anymore.
I saw myself as a Ringmaster in a circus where the performers where three sons, a husband and a cat named Wolfgang who fought dogs and won-
I had three pet rats too.
What I didn’t have was that little voice that would whisper in my ear, ” Hey, did you tell them about that weird thing we saw yesterday?”
That voice was gone.
And then like magic- I went on line to look up a place for lunch and I didn’t get the name of the spot right but I did come close- what I found was a website called ” The Soul Food Café “.
I was intrigued the minute I got on the site.
Instead of an address and menu and dining hours for your standard restaurant fare I found writing prompts and ideas for creating poems and challenges tied to advent calendars which contained even more ideas for stories or crafts and even recipes for pastries.
Without a doubt what I found at the Soul Food Café was food for the storyteller in me and in that moment as I clicked on page after page I found out how hungry I had really been and that I had been starving for years.
The ‘doors’ of the Café shut for awhile, and like the ghosts of my story telling family members I guess I haunted it from my blogs until Bancroft showed up and like any restless spirit with time on their hands I happily moved in an found a new place to haunt.
What’s changed for me over the years as I have begun to haunt Bancroft is this, I am older ( of course because I came to the Café over ten years ago ) I feel like a writer AND a storyteller and now instead of wearing labels that were slapped on my back as I raced through life I’ve kept one because I am fond of it:
it’s one that my Grandpa Bert gave to me all those years ago- the one that said I was a natural storyteller and I knew how to make those words fit together, even if I had to pound them into place.