First and foremost, let's take a moment to wish my main man Oscar Wilde a happy 158th birthday. From the time I read an illustrated edition of "The Happy Prince and Other Tales" as a wee child, to my miserable high school days spent with a fairly massive edition of your collected works, I have always loved you. I still admire The Picture of Dorian Gray as a deliciously melodramatic horror story, and you remain the patron saint of adorably pretentious people everywhere. We salute you. For those interested in boring things like fact, the Richard Ellmann biography remains the pre-eminent and definitive text. I think.
Birthday shout outs are also due to Angela Lansbury, who was amazing in the 1945 film version of Dorian Gray -- if you only know her as J.B. Fletcher, you should see her when she's young and doe-eyed; she has a great if small role in Gaslight, too, in which she is delightfully conniving. How awesome is it that she shares a birthday with Wilde?
Next we move on to an embarrassment of public domain riches, as people the world over mine Poe for Halloween content, and we all benefit. We've got a thrilling collection of old radio shows adapting Poe, and a number of Poe e-books, all also free. Fans of James Ensor's twisted little drawings will appreciate this article on the Getty's recent acquisition of Poe-inspired Ensor prints. The two aesthetics are a strangely perfect fit.
More skeletal art abounds over at the Art of Dying Exhibit at the Loreto in Prague. It seems worth heading over, should you find yourself there (and if not, who doesn't want a good excuse to travel?). A gloriously ghastly collection of "Baroque mural paintings depicting motifs of Death and Resurrection – allegories of Time, symbols of fragility and transience of human existence," these 1664 frescoes demonstrate the "inner grasp of the end of human existence as a gate to eternal life."
Finally, speaking of life lessons, here are some tips and takeaways on five scary novels and what they can teach you about writing, from James Duncan over at Writer's Digest. Every horror writer should check this out -- there's actually a bullet-pointed list with concrete advice like "Pace yourself and mete out the horror in small yet increasing doses." The advice reminds me a bit of what M.R. James said about how to write ghost stories, which I've discussed here before.
Oh, and this has nothing to do with Halloween or anything but I just found out it's Ada Lovelace Day, and I'm kind of obsessed with her, so here's to all the women science writers, programmers, nerds, sci-fi fans and writers, and other mavens of STEM. The real Ada Lovelace was a brilliant proto-programmer who is said to have written the world's first recognized algorithm. She was also Lord Byron's daughter. The do say code is poetry...