It’s probably safe to assume that Walmarts across America are selling boatloads of pumpkins as Halloween approaches…but here in Keene, it’s an even safer bet to conclude that even the mangiest of these pumpkins will find not only a home but a lot of friends at next month’s Pumpkin Festival. If I were a Walmart pumpkin, I’d certainly want to be shipped to the store where I might help break a World Record. If you’re doomed to be carved and gutted anyway, why not be carved and gutted for a reason? Instead of seeing these ‘kins as being lined up for the slaughter, isn’t it more fun to think of them as being gathered for a big party?

These days I’m still buried in work: I’m feeling much like a pumpkin at the bottom of the pile. Although I always eventually find my internal compass, the first stage toward this is usually undifferentiated dread, an inarticulate feeling that things are somehow going to go bad, quickly. I can’t accurately describe this feeling other than to say it’s the emotional equivalent of the tired, drained feeling you get before getting sick: although it’s too early to tell if you’re coming down with a cold, flu, or something worse, you have an indefinite achiness that signals something is not right with you physically. Right now I’m feeling like I’m on the emotional edge of something: it might be a bad case of the mopes, it might be a massive crying jag, or it might be an outright and entire nervous breakdown. Whatever “it” is, I feel it lurking in the shadows…or maybe I’m just being paranoid. It’s entirely possible that full-blown psychotic delusion is in the cards: I hear that’s going around these days.

I’ve already mentioned that the weeks heading up toward November 2nd, the day that would have been Chris and my 13th wedding anniversary, will be emotionally challenging. Whereas Chris has always dealt with emotional turmoil by burying himself in work, I’ve always responded to psychological static by becoming less focused. I always believed that my “stuckness” with the dissertation was largely emotional: because there was “other stuff” brewing with the marriage, I found it difficult to keep directed on a writing task that demands a huge amount of focus and determination. These days, Chris has a big upcoming recital to keep him distracted from details of the “D” (one of these days, I’ll bring myself to write the word, something Chris has already done for me). As strange as it may sound, I sometimes wish I were the workaholic type who finds solace in a full plate…instead, these days I just feel full.

Maybe being carved and gutted is exactly what I need?