I was in my writing group, and the prompt gave me the idea of “purple sherbet.” So after writing group, I went to the grocery store across the street to see if they had such a thing as purple sherbet. I don’t think such a thing exists.
But what I found was a limited-edition “pumpkin ice-cream” container for the fall season, for three dollars and fifty cents. I saw this as a sign as it was my fate to get the last container of this limited edition, autumn pumpkin ice cream, so I bought it.
When I got to the cash register, the cashier introduced one of the workers as “Woodstock” from the Peanuts cartoons. I just now realized why, I think it was because he was wearing a yellow raincoat.
But when he said “Woodstock,” I said “Oh, you mean Jimi Hendrix?” And it dawned on me, what is Halloween without Hendrix? And then I thought about “Purple Haze” and how I’d gone into the grocery store looking for purple sherbet, and suddenly the universe had meaning again.
(Writings started in the prompt group I facilitate begun on 9/28/2016, on a cold, rainy, windy autumn evening)
It’s been about two years since my mother passed away. One funny story she always told me from her high school years in the fifties when she was a teenager was about going over to an Italian girlfriend’s family’s house and eating pasta.
The Italian mother was laboring over the stove, cooking tons of pasta. As the father began to eat his mountainous plate of spaghetti, twirling the pasta into his mouth via fork and knife, my naïve teenage mother said, “Gee Mr. So and So, you eat like a horse.”
Based on the look on the father’s face, she immediately felt embarrassed, like she said the wrong thing. It must’ve been embarrassing at the time, but I still think that is a funny story.
It is positive memories like that from the past that cheer me up when I’m depressed. Life is a mixture of good and bad, all rolled up like pasta.
At the family reunion I attended recently, I saw a film the family has containing footage that goes all the way back to the fifties. Some of it is shot on a farm, with a primitive super 8 movie camera. It goes on for hours and hours, and even contains the marriages of my mother and grandmother.
The film looks primitive, like grainy black and white photos from the past. I wish photography dated back to the days B.C, because I love old photographs. Of course then art wouldn’t be as important, and in this modern day and age, art is obsolete.
You can always drown your sorrows in pasta, though. Or I bet purple sherbet would cheer anybody up. I wonder if purple sherbet even exists. I probably won’t be able to go to sleep now till I’ve had some purple sherbet.
When I wake up every night, I realize I’m in a great dream world every night. I’m usually on vacation, taking photographs of animals that don’t exist in real life. Maybe that is where the ancient Greeks came up with their mythology. Or maybe, like Mary Shelly, they ate too much pasta before bedtime, and had a nightmare which evolved into the often duplicated but never outdone, successful masterpiece, Frankenstein.
Mary Shelly was ripped off a million times with her creation of Frankenstein. The last one I heard of a couple years back was the most prolific author in Brazil did his version of Frankenstein!
I guess every author rips off someone. I read somewhere that while Shakespeare was alive people were trying to compete with him, imitate him, try to write plays like him, but obviously, he was the bard of all bards. It’s not like he is the only good playwright that ever existed, but no writer with any sense of humility and honesty will think he will outdo the likes of Shelly or Shakespeare.
Of course, there is a difference between paying homage to an author you like, or just blatant plagiarism. I suppose if a writer was not too egotistical, they would expect people to be inspired by their works to write, nay, that would be the desired result.
Therefore, it is no coincidence that when “Frankenstein” popped into my writings last night at my writing group, even though it wasn’t a word suggested by the prompts, that the one other writer at the writers group had simultaneously thought of Frankenstein!
(Of course, Halloween is just around the corner. So it’s not that much of a coincidence.)
So to end this prose piece, I will conclude with a poem that was inspired at the writing prompt group last night. We would use six words out of our brains as prompts, I would choose three words, and the woman there would choose three. So I reissued “Frankenstein” as a word, and she used “peony” as a word.
Thus, in the catacombs of my brain, I remembered this scene from the book Frankenstein, which I must’ve not visited since childhood. It surely helped that the only woman who showed up at the writing group I facilitate happened to be a former librarian! But without further ado, I bring you my poem.
Frankenstein grabbed the peony from the garden,
escaping from his creator, sought by the warden.
He walked up to a little girl by the ravine;
and offered the flowers to her, face so serene
The girl took the flower, and walked away,
and townspeople carried torches to make Frankie pay.
The girl kept the peonies attached to her fingers like glue,
and as Frankie walked off, she shouted, “I love you.”
The townspeople cornered Frankenstein, who they hated,
to kill this monstrosity would give them strength unabated.
Frankenstein cowered in the corner in a fetal position,
Halloween was coming, it was Frankenstein’s inquisition.
The little girl came and shouted at the top of her lungs,
“Don’t kill Frankenstein! Don’t let him be hung!
He gave me a flower! Can’t you see that he is gentle?
If you kill Frankenstein, it will be accidental!”
The townspeople wept at the foolishness they exhibited,
so Frankenstein’s murder itself was prohibited.
The moral of the story, is if there would be another,
is you should never ever judge a book by its cover.
So on that note, Happy Halloween, folks! It’s hard to get excited about Halloween when so many true scary, sad things are happening in the news on a daily basis. I guess the key is to know the difference between fantasy and reality. Frankenstein is not real, Harry Potter is not real, vampires are not real, werewolves are not real, but there are people in the world who do evil things on a daily basis. I do not honor any of them. But in me there is a big kid going out trick or treating in the rain, getting soaked in my costume, and acting goofy to get candy. Halloween is a holiday for kids.
We may be living through the book of Revelation. But there is nothing new under the sun. I just have to be as good as I can be, so I can go to heaven, and my mom can cook me a spaghetti dinner in heaven, and I can eat purple sherbet in heaven with Jimi Hendrix! Set your sights on the promised land. Because I have a feeling that down here on earth, things are about to get a bit ugly….
By Mark Hudson