So somehow it’s October.
You probably already knew, but just thought I’d say.
October. Totally here.
Leaves are caramelly yellow, fall to the ground like tree confetti; sunlight vanishes weirdly and disappointingly and offensively early; the air is really rather kinda chilly, surprisingly so; blackberry and apple crumble is back on the menu (pudding is a very very very important part of my life); and my scarves (again, very important) are officially out of hibernation.
And seeing as there’s a lot of Halloween stuff around already too, I figured I’d get into the spirit (no pun intended) of it and do a few posts on scary stories.
I only heard of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman last week – I read about it on the brilliant book blog The Orangutan Librarian – but there are some stories you know you have to read straight away, and this was one of them. It’s really short (#winning), really ahead of its 1892 time, and really really creepy.
Suffering from “nervous troubles”, the narrator moves into a colonial mansion with her husband and newborn son for the summer. The upstairs room where the narrator spends most of her time is covered in a horrible old wallpaper she is initially repulsed by.
‘The colour is repellant, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.’
As the long and empty days pass, she becomes more and more obsessed with the paper, convinced there is a woman – maybe even a whole group of women – trapped behind the pattern.
‘Nobody could get through that pattern – it strangles so.’
But, with a little bit of help, the woman does get out.
This is such a clever and compelling piece of writing that packs a lot of spooky punch into its 26 little pages.
And it’s the perfect remedy to the shock of realising it’s officially, definitely-can’t-deny-it, seriously and absolutely October.