“A glimpse into the world proves that horror is nothing other than reality.” — Alfred Hitchcock
What is it in us that relishes a good scare? Based upon observed reading and watching tastes, a lot of folks out there actively seek that adrenaline jolt that floods a person after a shock of pure fear.
And congratulations, terror fans, you have fed an entire industry. Otherwise, Stephen King might be penning gentle weekly columns about lawn maintenance and Maine’s tourism industry, and we Americans wouldn’t spend $9 billion on stuff like POTUS costumes, vampire teeth, fake blood and other elaborately macabre props.
This time of year, as night lengthens and the breaths of fog clinging to hillsides in the gloaming drift like lost souls, it’s easy to let one’s mind wander into the realm of the paranormal. Shadows flicker along darkened streets; the creak of floorboards in old houses sounds like some nameless thing summoned from the depths, calling to whatever instinct in us that makes the hair rise on the backs of our necks.
But why do we seek things to scare us beyond those real threats that occur in everyday life? Perhaps the answer is in the question. If we conjure up extreme situations of worst-possible case scenarios, all else seems manageable by comparison; our fear of what really awaits us is somewhat lessened by stories of vengeful spirits, possessed toys and ramshackle real estate to which the young and witless are invariably drawn.
Then, there is the reverse. The great Alfred Hitchcock proclaimed that he was “scared easily” by mundane things, including eggs, by the way; he pronounced egg yolks “revolting,” was bothered by the mere sight of the “white round thing without any holes,” and would never eat one.
Anyone who has seen his work still gets a bit nervous when a flock of seagulls eyes us with more than casual interest, and the Bates Motel would never get a great rating on TripAdvisor, but it’s nice to know that the Master of Suspense had his own quirks, and a strange list of things that gave him the creeps.
On a far more pleasant note, we once again have local gardeners to thank for sharing their bounty of beauty with us at the library. The Crosses have continued to gift us with exquisite vases full of late blooms; they, along with the gentleman who brought in, among other floral marvels, that enormous dinner-plate dahlia, have joined our staff plant guru Linda Hartin in delighting library-goers with a continual pageant of botanical wonders throughout the growing season. Thank you, all.
Youth Services will be a howling, happening place in October. The recent Teen Anime and Manga Club featured Bento Boxes. Thank you, participants, for proving that rice can indeed be dyed violent colors, morphed into animal shapes and then eaten, self-preservation instincts notwithstanding. The next meeting will take place Wednesday, Nov. 6, 3 p.m.. The next Teen Advisory Board meeting will also happen in November; please ask Rachel for details.
Oscar Wilde was an October baby, and the teens are celebrating his birthday on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 3 p.m., with refreshments, trivia and more.
On Oct. 30, anime/manga costume enthusiasts ages 12-18 are invited to a Cosplay Contest at 3 p.m.. Dress up as your favorite character and get ready to compete for prizes!
For younger kids, please join us for some fall-themed frolics at Preschool Story Time every Tuesday morning at 10:30. Remaining themes for October are Pizza (it’s National Pizza Month!), Pumpkins, and a Halloween Party—wear your costume! Baby and Toddler Story Time will meet again on Oct. 31, 10:30 a.m., for books, songs, rhymes, puppets, bounces and more.
Students ages 8-11: You are the first ever to be offered this exciting opportunity, thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Morristown Centennial Library: Rachel will be offering free ukulele lessons to six children on Tuesdays, Oct. 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 5 and 12 from 3:15 to 4:15. Then, students will perform in a special Ukulele Concert at the library on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. The library provides the instruments and other materials; you provide the good care, commitment to practice and attendance at each lesson and the recital. Interested students and parents, library cardholders in good standing, please ask Rachel for an application at the Youth Services circulation desk.
Coming up for thrill-seekers, library trustee and young adult author Ann Davila Cardinal will read from her recently published book “Five Midnights” on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided.
Kevin Clarkson, aka The Snake Guy from 802 Reptiles, will bring his posse of pythons to delight herpetophiles (snake lovers) young and old at 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1 (early dismissal for school) — ssssooo, get ready to behold some behemoth beasties, right here at your library.
Thank you to all who attended the Friends of Morristown Centennial Library-sponsored music event with Rick Norcross, and to WLVB for advertising it.
BYO Books, in which anyone who wants to talk about what you’re reading and share snacks and fun, get together next on Monday, Oct. 21, 6 p.m. The Friends of MCL will convene next on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, Nov. 10, at 2:00 p.m., Morristown Centennial Library will host a viewing of the Emilio Estevez film that examines the plight of those experiencing homelessness as centered around Cincinnati’s public library, followed by a discussion with Jacquie Mauer and representatives from the Lamoille Community House. All interested adults are invited to attend.
Finally, circling back to the theme of horror, turning a milestone age seems to be among people’s deep, dark fears, as if tagging that next decade marker means the end of something, instead of the beginning of whatever’s next on the horizon, which might be one’s best years yet. There is always something new to learn; something to hope and strive for. My younger brother Seth was born on Halloween 40 years ago. Happy Birthday, dude, all blessings to you, and I am still older than you. To all other October birthday folks, Many Happy Returns.
Gizelle Guyette is director of Morristown Centennial Library.