Oh how I love Halloween. Only on October 31st can you see a vampire changing Snow White's tire on the way to work and random co-workers showing off their inner whatever.
This morning before I came to the office, I went to an early morning yoga class. My instructor Daveed said he always thought that people choose to dress up as something that's hidden inside them--or something they wish was hidden inside them. Witches want to be magical, pirates want to be adventurous. Today I'm walking around as gothy suburban teen: I'm dark and no one understands me. My clothing is black, my boots are clunky, my eyeliner is smudge-y. I'm well aware that the angsty teenager inside me is not too far from the surface.
NPR played a story this morning interviewing Linda Davis, the biographer Charles Addams, creator of the Addams family. Davis said Addams was a man with many fears which came out in the cartoons he drew. By letting his fears out in his work, he was able to make light of them and overcome them.
I can't help thinking that Daveed's theory and Addams' practice apply to writers, too. We write about what scares us and what's buried inside us. And many times our characters are us (or those we know) lurking inside of the costumes we've created for them--and full of wonderful tricks and treats.